About the Department

Students in front of state police academyCriminology is the multi-disciplinary study of crime, criminal behavior, and the criminal justice system. Through the criminology and criminal justice major, our students learn about the distribution, nature and causes of crime, the purposes, activities and motivations of the criminal justice system, and the impact of crime on victims and society.

Our overall goal is to provide students with a strong liberal arts education that focuses on developing intellectual and problem-solving skills allowing flexibility for students who may want careers within or outside of the criminal justice system.


Introductory & Core Coursework

Our curriculum reflects the multidisciplinary character of the field, drawing on a variety of liberal arts and professional areas of expertise. Our majors take a core curriculum that familiarizes them with a range of perspectives, methods, and content areas of the criminal justice field. This includes both the in-depth study of theories of crime, deviance, and social control and learning about research methodology and design. Our core coursework includes:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Critical Thinking in Criminal Justice
  • Statistics for Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Criminological Theory
  • Senior Seminar

Elective Coursework

We offer a wide array of electives representing the expertise of our faculty and some of the latest research in our field. Our program’s flexible structure allows students to pursue individual interests and to develop specializations, or to pursue formal minors in other programs. Some of our most popular electives cover the following topics:

  • Gangs, Crime & Justice
  • Communities, Fear and Crime Control
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Deviant Behavior
  • Crime, Myths and Moral Panic
  • Women and Criminal Justice
  • Policing in America
  • International Criminal Justice Systems
  • Criminology of Sport
  • Terrorism
  • Serial Murder
  • Race, Class and Social Justice

Experiential Opportunities

All of our majors participate in an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) through Internships and Prior Learning (IPL). Many of our students take advantage of this opportunity and work with state agencies and training centers as well as local criminal justice and social service agencies. Recent placements include:

  • Illinois State Police
  • Logan Correctional Center
  • U.S. Marshall’s Office
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police
  • Sojourn Shelter and Services for Battered Women
  • Sangamon County Adult Probation