Introducing the Criminology Major

We have a new major! Beginning in the fall of 2016, the Sociology Department will provide students the opportunity to major in Criminology, Law, and Justice with a Bachelors of Arts or Bachelors of Science degree. The criminology major will be offered in addition to our sociology major (BA or BS) and its associated track offerings.  As our track in criminology has been growing at an astounding rate, we realized an increasing need to provide a complete major in this area. Importantly, careers in the criminal justice and legal area have been increasing and are projected to continue to do so in the next decade, while also becoming more competitive. More and more, having a BA or BS in this area will be essential for employment in the criminal justice and law enforcement sector. We are proud that we will now be able to provide our students the opportunity to graduate with a major in this exciting area! 

The Criminology, Law, and Justice major will include a diverse array of courses focused on the causes of criminal behavior and the criminal justice system.  The foundation of the major includes courses on sociological explanations of crime and violence, problems facing the criminal justice system both nationally and internationally, and how the major institutions in society --  such as the economy, politics, education and the family --  shape both crime and justice.  The major includes advanced courses on such a wide variety of topics as juvenile delinquency, interpersonal violence, white collar crime, and global criminology.  Further, related to the law, we offer courses on the sociology of law, the criminal legal system, juvenile justice system, criminal punishment, and comparative legal systems.  All of these courses blend seamlessly with the Department’s courses on social inequality, especially those related to race and ethnicity, gender, and social stratification. Being able to understand how these various aspects of our social world are related to the criminal justice system is critical for people working in this area, and being able to offer such a wide variety of course offerings on all these topics is a key strength of the Sociology Department’s Criminology, Law, and Justice major.

After graduation, this major will prepare students for careers in police organizations (local, state, and federal), public and private investigative work, private security work, corrections and community corrections, private treatment facilities for adults and juveniles, crime and justice research, as well as in other types of human services, public relations, applied social research, community organization, and teaching social science in secondary schools. Notably, for those interested in law enforcement, earning this major will ‘fast-track’ police officer applicants towards certification.  

If students wish to pursue advanced study in this area, the major will provide a fabulous foundation for training in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, psychology, law, social work, urban planning, education, social policy, and similar areas. For our undergraduates, the major will also pair well with majors in other disciplines, such as psychology and social work, and will give students a competitive edge when applying to graduate school in forensic psychology or social work with an emphasis on corrections.

It is our hope that with the new Criminology, Law, and Justice major, we will be better able to meet the needs of our students, our community, and Iowa more broadly. Welcome new majors!!     

Other articles in this Newsletter

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  • Seashore Hall

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  • Iowa Sociological Association

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  • This past October, the Public Policy Center, College of Education, and UI Sociology Department co-sponsored a research symposium attended by 75 graduate students and faculty from the University of Iowa and several other Midwest universities.

  • TILE Classroom

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  • Sociology Club

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  • Power of Film

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  • Natalie Veldhouse

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  • Graduate Student Presentation

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