Overview of Criminology Program

What will a major in criminology prepare you to do? The liberal arts flavor of our criminology program will prepare you to write and communicate well, develop analytical and problem-solving skills, and other abilities which graduate schools and employers value.

You could build a career as a juvenile court caseworker or probation officer, or working with kids at risk. Crime prevention agencies attempt to develop and implement programs for families, schools and communities designed to reduce crime, and your skills would be a valuable asset in these efforts. If you feel strongly about making a difference, then hands-on work in a teen runaway shelter or domestic violence shelter may be appealing to you.

The Department encourages students to participate in the internship program through which students earn credit while working at community agencies (e.g. People’s Emergency Center, Catholic Social Services), criminal justice agencies (e.g. Philadelphia DA’s Office, Del. Co. Probation Dept.), or other agencies specific to their interests.

Students majoring in Criminology should study and demonstrate understanding of the following:

Students should be able to:
a. explain the socio-political nature of defining certain acts as criminal.
b. gain knowledge of current trends in criminal activity.
c. critically evaluate the various methodologies used to measure crime.
d. display clear knowledge of the harm caused by white collar crime. 
e. understand that the criminal justice system is not the only institution that functions to prevent and respond to crime.

Students should be able to:
a. describe the role of theory in building criminological knowledge.
b. compare and contrast the different theoretical perspectives.
c. apply these theories to criminal activity and crime control efforts.

Students should be able to:
a. identify the basic methodological approaches in gaining criminological knowledge.
b.  compare and contrast various research methodologies.
c. design and complete a written research project.
d. critically assess published research.

Students should be able to:
a. describe the role of data analysis in testing criminological theories and assessing crime reduction efforts.
b.  use computer software for statistical analyses.
c. assess appropriate statistical techniques.
d. draw valid conclusions from the data analysis.

Students should be able to:
a. describe the functions of police, courts and corrections.
b. clearly elaborate instances where, when, and how the process works efficiently.
c. discuss instances where the system does not work effectively.
d. explain the influence of extra-legal factors on the operation of the system.
e. differentiate between “getting tough on crime” and “getting smart on crime.”

Students should be able to:
a. produce well written papers that clearly express knowledge of crime problems and operations of the criminal justice system.
b. clearly express the above knowledge in verbal presentations.
c. demonstrate critical thinking.