Wittenberg’s sociology program guides students to develop a comprehensive awareness of human society and culture while preparing them to lead lives of responsible civic engagement. With opportunities for research and hands-on experience, students who pursue the criminology concentration graduate with a strong understanding of crime and justice issues.
As one of the most dynamic areas of social science study, criminology promises interesting coursework and great opportunities for career preparation. Wittenberg offers a concentration in criminology within the sociology major. In this concentration, students explore the theories of criminology (mostly based in the sociological tradition) and the research that attempts to test those theories. By focusing on the context of large groups (societies) and their organization, students will gain a better understanding of how social forces external to individuals influence observed behavior.
Criminology studies crime and justice issues in order to promote understanding of criminal justice practices that will reduce the negative consequences of crime and deviance in society. This field naturally leads to careers in police and security, the courts, social and legal service agencies, and various private enterprise and government agencies working in the area of social problems.
Wittenberg’s criminology concentration within the sociology major provides the special insights of the social scientific approach and the background knowledge of general social processes as they apply to the more practical and applied criminal justice themes. In joining a broader sociological background with criminological studies, this concentration will provide a more in-depth and flexible acquaintance with the problems of crime and their interrelationship with other social problems like poverty and inequality, racism, sexism and the stereotyping that is encountered by various non-normative individuals and groups in society.
A hallmark of Wittenberg’s sociology program is the individualized senior thesis project. Students work intensively with a faculty member to complete an in-depth sociological study and engage in research either by analyzing survey data or collecting their own data. For sociology majors pursuing a concentration in criminology, the thesis topic will be in the subject area of criminology and criminal justice. With approval from the sociology department, advanced students may pursue a senior honors thesis.
All students present their research papers at a departmental symposium, which gives them an opportunity to hone public speaking skills. The department’s senior thesis program has been so successful that many of our students have been accepted to present their work at the National Undergraduate Research Conference and the North Central Sociological Association annual meeting.
As a small city of 60,000 residents, Springfield offers an urban environment with a variety of experiential learning opportunities for students to explore a particular career interest. Students interested in criminology have participated in guided internships within the criminal justice system at the City Prosecutor’s Office, Springfield Police Division, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Springfield Crime Lab, the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center, and the Adult Probation Office, as well as in victim services such as Project Woman, Reentry Coalition and Victim Witness.
For sociology students, spending time in another country can offer new cultural perspectives and a better understanding of the human condition. Our students have studied in the Czech Republic, Mexico, France, Japan, Sweden and Italy. Within the United States, students have attended the Appalachian Studies Program and the Washington Semester.
Every year the sociology department offers lectures and discussions on a variety of topics to enhance the curriculum. Presenters often are nationally and internationally known experts, as well as Wittenberg faculty who present their research in their field of expertise.
Employment opportunities for students who study criminology can be found in a variety of areas, including law and the justice system, the security field, crime scene investigation and forensics, and government agencies such as the CIA and Secret Service.
Some students pursue graduate programs in criminology, criminal justice, law or another related field.
Alpha Kappa Delta: Wittenberg’s chapter of the International Sociology Honor Society.
Sociology Club: Members provide advice on internships, classes and local jobs, as well as plan colloquia and work on social justice and peace issues.
Sociology students also are active in campus organizations concerned with social issues, such as American International Association, Concerned Black Students and Habitat for Humanity.
B.A.: Sociology with Criminology Concentration
To complete a concentration in criminology within the sociology major, students must complete the Sociology Core (101, 307, 360 and 498); 370; two designated criminology electives; and two additional courses (8 credit hours) as electives in the sociology department, for a total of 20 credit hours beyond the Sociology Core. With the approval of the department chairperson, students may receive credit (no more than 4 hours) for an independent study (SOCI 490) or internship (SOCI 491) related to criminology or criminal justice.
The Sociology Core
The following courses are required for all sociology majors:
101: Introduction to Sociology
307: Research Methods
360: Sociological Theory
498: Senior Thesis
Criminology students choose at least two courses from the following:
212: Topics: Criminology and Criminal Justice*
214: Penology and Social Control
250: Sociology of Deviance
312: Special Topics: Criminology and Criminal Justice+
314: Women and Crime
370: Criminology and Criminological Theory^
376: Law and Society
380: Identity, Self and Society
*Topics courses vary in content. Recent offerings include Crime in the Media; American Criminal Jurisprudence; and War, Identity and Justice.
+ Special Topics courses provide a more advanced approach to questions in criminology and criminal justice questions. Recent offerings include Geographic Information Systems for Criminology; and Juvenile Delinquency.
^This course is a mandatory requirement for students completing the criminology concentration.
Students choose two courses (8 credit hours) from among the designated criminology courses or courses in other areas of sociology such as Cultural Anthropology; Sociology of Minority Groups; Sociology of Family; Wealth, Poverty and Power; Race and Ethnicity; or other courses in the department.