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Criminology examines various aspects of crime and criminal justice, including the criminalization of behaviors, law breaking, and societal reactions to crime. We address these questions:

  • How is crime socially defined?
  • What social forces influence how we think about crime?
  • What is the relationship between social processes and the making of criminal law?
  • What social factors influence criminal behavior?
  • How are different groups affected by crime and crime control?
  • What roles does punishment play in society?
  • What can social institutions do to reduce human conflict and injustice?

Undergraduate Study

The concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice is available at the undergraduate level. This curriculum is grounded in a liberal arts approach to and critical perspective on crime and criminal justice. Our principal objective is to provide students with the analytic tools for understanding both the variable sources and dynamics of crime and crime control. We hope thereby to promote both humane understanding of criminological issues and democratization of the crime-control apparatus. The undergraduate criminology curriculum also provides the substantive background and analytical skills essential for students who subsequently pursue graduate studies in sociology or criminal justice.

Graduate Study

The specialty in Criminology is available at the Masters and Doctoral levels. Our objectives are:

  • to promote critical understandings of the relationship between social forces and crime definition, criminal behavior, and the institutions and dynamics of social control;
  • to apply sociological theories to research on crime and criminal justice;
  • to provide tools for the analysis of fundamental crime and criminal justice issues, including the preservation of peace and the safeguarding of due process and civil rights in a democratic society.

The Sociology Faculty in Criminology

  • Michelle Brown, Associate Professor
    Carceral Studies; Feminist Perspectives; Law & Society; Theory; Culture & Media; Transformative Justice
  • Robert J. Durán, Assistant Professor
    Urban Ethnography, Racial and Ethnic Inequality, Social Control, Gangs, Officer-Involved Shootings, Public Health
  • Lois Presser, Professor
    Criminological Theory, Restorative/Community Justice, Narratives of Violent Offenders and Victims of Violence.

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