About the Criminology Concentration
Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior. A sociologist is a person who sees the general in the particular and the strange in the familiar. Thus, sociologists see general social patterns in the behavior of individuals and they use the sociological perspective to gain insights into behavior and events which may seem strange. The scope of sociology ranges from micro-level studies of dyads and small groups to macro-level studies in organizations, communities, and social institutions, such as the family and school. The methods sociologists use to observe, describe, explain and predict human social behavior range from the highly quantitative to highly qualitative and include surveys, interviews, experiments, secondary data analysis, and various forms of field observation.
This concentration focuses on the causes of crime and society's responses to criminal behavior. To be more specific, it studies the biological, psychological, and societal influences on people which may lead them into criminal behavior. This concentration also looks at the criminal justice system (police, courts and corrections) as the legally appointed agencies to deal with crime and the criminal. In addition, it explores what causes behavior to be defined as criminal, the various types of criminal behavior (adult/juvenile, white collar/blue collar, personal/property, and victimless).
A Sociology graduate must, in addition to possessing a good foundation of general knowledge and oral/written communication skills, be interested in people. Most careers in this area involve a substantial amount of face-to-face contact which makes oral communication, listening and situation evaluation important. At the same time, careers in this area often involve writing reports and keeping case notes. Therefore, written communication, accuracy and conciseness are important. Students in this concentration should have strong people skills and a clear set of ethics since they are often making life altering decisions.
These skills include the ability to write and speak well, the ability to analyze a situation and to come up with various options, the ability to interview people effectively, and the ability to use computers and to work as a group.
Students who complete this concentration will have skills necessary to pursue entry-level career opportunities in a wide variety of social science, human service and criminal justice related programs. Specifically, this would include adult/juvenile probation and parole, public/private detention or confinement facilities, and community based programs such as community service. In addition, this degree is good for students wanting to go into the field of law or law enforcement, as well as for students going on for a graduate degree.
Students in this concentration are also well-prepared to pursue graduate education in programs directly related to crime and social control as well as others. The broad liberal arts foundation of the Sociology major, combined with the specific focus of the Criminology and Social Control concentration provides a strong base of knowledge with which to commence graduate studies in a variety of fields.