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Criminal Justice Concentration

The Criminal Justice concentration provides students with a broad understanding of human behavior as it relates to issues of crime, deviance, and social control.  It helps students build the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level careers in law enforcement, criminal investigation, and public policy, as well as for graduate training in criminal justice and law.  By combining core sociology classes with more specialized criminal justice courses, the concentration allows students to understand the connections between social environments and crime and the techniques that societies use to control deviant behavior.

All sociology majors with a concentration in Criminal Justice take JUST 2880, The Criminal Justice System, as well as JUST 2890, Criminology.  Students also select from nine additional hours of coursework from the following list:

  • ANTH 3530 Forensic Anthropology
  • JUST 3980 Computer Crime
  • JUST 4680 Criminal Evidence
  • JUST 4910 Policing
  • JUST 4930 Corrections
  • JUST 4940 Organized Crime
  • SOC 3910 Deviance
  • SOC 3920 Juvenile Delinquency
  • SOC 3970 Substance Abuse
  • SOC 4860 Creative Inquiry

Courses in the Criminal Justice concentration are taught by our core sociology faculty, as well as three specialists in criminal justice who have a variety of practical experiences working within law enforcement and the legal system.  Professional development is strongly emphasized in the Criminal Justice concentration, with opportunities for students to ride along with patrol officers and to participate in internships with law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.  An annual student-organized career fair draws recruiters from dozens of criminal justice agencies and law schools across the nation, and selected students take an annual trip to New York City to visit federal law enforcement agencies and sites of historically significant crimes.  Guest speakers and career workshops also give students an opportunity to make professional connections and learn about job opportunities.    

Our Criminal Justice alumni are employed in federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and the NYPD.  These graduates hold a number of titles, including special agent, investigator, and public information officer.   Other alumni work in educational settings, such as in university police departments or as intervention specialists in local high schools.  Some fill human services roles, such as counselor in the prison system or victims’ advocate.  Public policy is another potential avenue for students in our Criminal Justice concentration, with one recent graduate working as a congressional press secretary, for instance.  Further, a number of our alumni have gone on to careers in law, gaining entry-level positions as program assistants in law firms or going on to earn JD degrees from institutions such as the University of Georgia and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

If you are interested in gaining a socially aware understanding of issues of crime and punishment, the Criminal Justice concentration may be for you.  For further information, please contact undergraduate coordinator Jennifer Holland or professor of criminal justice Marjie Britz.

Read more about our criminal justice degree.