Sociologists and criminologists believe that people’s actions are strongly influenced by the conditions and situations in which they live, work, and play. Everybody makes decisions, but we recognize and study how social structures and institutions affect and constrain those decisions. Our goal as researchers is to expose and analyze the impacts of those circumstances on human decisions, societies, and opportunities. Methodologically, we incorporate multiple perspectives and analytical approaches to help create a more holistic understanding of our society. Our mission is to empower students to think critically about individuals and societies.
One of our primary responsibilities to Villanova is to be excellent teachers and mentors to our students. We are proud that our faculty includes two winners of teaching award at Villanova, including 2012’s winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Our courses focus on critical thinking, analysis, and writing skills. The best source for information about our teaching comes from our current and former students. Click here to view a selection of testimonials about our courses and programs.
A second priority, and one that supports and enhances our teaching, is active engagement in scholarship. Our faculty members routinely publish on a range of topics, including racial inequality, student discipline, mental health outcomes, social networks and capital, and poverty. Faculty have published in such prestigious journals as Sociology of Education, Crime and Delinquency, Criminology, Social Problems, Social Forces, Social Science Research, and the Journal of Religion and Society, and written books published by presses such as NYU Press, Vanderbilt Press, and Paradigm Publishers (for a more comprehensive list of publications, click here). Faculty research has been funded by sources such as the Fulbright Program, the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and the Rockefeller Foundation. We proudly include amongst our faculty multiple winners of the University Outstanding Research Award.
Graduates of the department have gone on to jobs as lawyers, judges, and legislative aides, as well as research analysts for the Urban Institute, University of Pennsylvania, and Janney Capital Markets. Graduates have also assumed leadership roles as administrators and directors at schools, corporations, banks, and universities such as American University, Harvard University, and Duke University. Other former undergraduates now work as psychologists, social workers, and program managers at local, state, and federal government agencies, social service and nonprofit organizations, and hospitals. Another route often chosen by graduates is law enforcement, including roles such as probation officer, police lieutenant, and special agent for the F.B.I., the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Finally, other alumni have entered graduate programs in sociology or criminology at top graduate programs such as Stanford, University of Texas-Austin, and the University of Pennsylvania, and have received prestigious postgraduate awards including a 2013 Fulbright. Please visit the Resources & Opportunities section of our website to explore the ways in which our department assists students with the process of exploring careers, acquiring hands-on experience through internships, service learning, and research projects, and preparing successful application materials for employment and graduate school.