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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Undergraduate Specialization in Criminology

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The Department of Sociology offers a specialization in criminology designed to prepare students for careers in the criminal justice system (including law enforcement, correctional institutions, and court services) as well as advanced study in law or graduate work in sociology, criminology, or criminal justice. Our students are exposed to a broad array of issues, theories, concepts, and practices by dedicated and enthusiastic faculty. This specialization therefore offers students interested in learning about crime and justice issues the intellectual tools required to make real and substantive differences in the course of their careers.

Students seeking a criminology specialization will be required to take a combination of sociology and criminology courses.

Graduates of the program are currently working in law enforcement agencies, juvenile and adult correctional facilities, adult and juvenile courts, probation and parole services, investigative services, and a variety of community corrections programs. Graduates often continue their education in graduate programs and advance in various careers including those in teaching and research institutions. 

Program Requirements

GPA and Outside Course Requirements

Students interested in a criminology specialization within the Sociology major required to earn a 2.5 grade point average in courses taken within the major. In addition, students are required to take STAT 325 - Introduction to Statistics (3 credit hours) outside of the credit hour requirements for the major. At the advisors recommendation, students may be required to take 3 credit hours of CIS 101-104 to gain necessary computing skills.

Core Courses (16 Credit Hours)

The following courses are required of all sociology majors specializing in criminology:

  • SOCIO 211 - Introduction to Sociology

    Credits: 3

    Development, structure, and functioning of human groups; social and cultural patterns; and the principal social processes.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring, Summer

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 361 - Criminal Justice Systems

    Credits: 3

    An examination of the major components in the American criminal justice system and how these reflect and are affected by norms and changes in our society. Special emphasis is placed on issues of gender, race/ethnicity, and class within criminal justice.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.

  • SOCIO 423 - Methods of Social Research I

    Credits: 4

    Treatment of the logic and procedures involved in the formulation of a research problem and the difficulties encountered in conducting research. Examines problems of explanation and prediction, the process of inquiry, elements of the scientific method, the design of research, and analysis in the social sciences.

    Note
    To include 1 credit hour of lab and field research experience.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211, STAT 325.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Empirical and Quantitative Reasoning
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 431 - Comparative Social Theories
    Credits: 3

    A systematic survey of major theoretical approaches in sociology. The works of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and other classical theorists are examined, along with selections from major contemporary perspectives such as functionalism, symbolic interactionism, structuralism, critical theory, and feminist theory. Current debates over structure versus agency, postmodernism, and other controversies are considered.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Global Issues and Perspectives
    Social Sciences

     

  • SOCIO 561 - Criminology

    Credits: 3

    Addresses basic concepts, theories, and research methods used in the study of crime, with an emphasis on critical perspectives on crime as a social phenomenon. The course provides an overview of the nature and extent of major categories of crime as well as the integration of current issues dealing with crime.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 361 or SOCIO 431.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Empirical and Quantitative Reasoning
    Human Diversity within the U.S.

Electives (18 Credit Hours)

Students specializing in criminology are also required to take eighteen hours of elective credits. These electives are divided into two categories (A and B). Students must take at least two courses from each category.

A. Criminology Electives
  • SOCIO 362 - Police and Society
    Credits: 3

    Examines in detail the policing function in society and the role police play in the criminal justice process.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Ethical Reasoning and Responsibility
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
  • SOCIO 463 - Gangs in American Society

    Credits: 3

    Covers the historical development and current status of gangs in America. Focus on gang types/forms, criminal activities and sociological impact on communities. Also examines gang control mechanisms as well as classic and modern research conducted about gangs.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 361.

    Typically Offered
    Fall

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 460 - Youth and Crime

    Credits: 3

    Nature, extent, and causes of delinquency; characteristics of delinquents; means of prevention and treatment.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 470 - The Criminal Justice System and Family Violence

    Credits: 3

    This course critically examines the incidence and prevalence of family violence in society, emphasizing how the criminal justice system responds to this social problem.

    Typically Offered
    Spring

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 480 - Prisons and Punishment

    Credits: 3

    The historical development and current status of the correctional system. Major institutional components include jails, prisons, probation, parolee, and other forms of community corrections. Modern issues such as offender and victim rights and electronic monitoring are also covered.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 550 - Technocrime, Security, and Society

    Credits: 3

    Critically examines the social and cultural issues surrounding technology, crime, deviance, and crime control, including hackers, digital activists, online fraudsters, techno security agents, and other actors and subcultures from sociological and criminological perspectives.

    Requisites
    Required prerequisite: SOCIO 211.
    Recommended prerequisite: SOCIO 361.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Ethical Reasoning and Responsibility
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 562 - Study of Serial Murder

    Credits: 3

    The course critically examines the social construction of serial murder as a phenomenon that has long existed but only recently has been polarized as a concern of the criminal justice system and the public in general. The objective of the course is to synthesize historical and social scientific analysis of serial murder, assess public and media debates centered on both offenders and victims, and evaluate the portrayal of serial murder in contemporary literature and film.

    Typically Offered
    Spring

    K-State 8
    Empirical and Quantitative Reasoning
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 572 - Sociology of the Death Penalty

    Credits: 3

    Studies data, public opinion, execution patterns and methods, and debates regarding capital punishment as public policy in the U.S. from early history to 21st century.  Examines selected cases and issues such as general deterrence, methods of execution, and constitutional challenges.

    Typically Offered
    Summer, Intersessions

    K-State 8
    Ethical Reasoning and Responsibility
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 582 - The Construction of the Criminal Mind

    Credits: 3

    Examines interaction between social forces and physical experiences, such as cognitive impairment and/or abuse.  Critically reviews history of criminology and biological theories of crime; explores how remnants of these feature in current explanations of crime.

    Typically Offered
    S, Intersessions

    K-State 8
    Ethical Reasoning and Responsibility
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 592 - Anatomy of Mass Murder
    Credits: 3

    Examines a specific kind of murder, killing of four or more people in a single incident. Examines the killers’ pathways, the weapons, and especially the social context of mass murder.

    Requisites
    Recommended prerequisite: Any social science course.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences
  • SOCIO 635 - Sociology of Human Trafficking

    Credits: 3

    The course explores a range of topics related to human trafficking, anti-trafficking institutions, and legislation in the context of globalization. Analysis of contemporary forms of slavery-like practices (forced labor, child trafficking, domestic servitude, and others), with primary focus on sex trafficking of women.

    Typically Offered
    Summer

    K-State 8
    None

  • SOCIO 665 - Women and Crime

    Nature and extent of criminal offending among women and women offenders’ interactions with legal and criminal justice systems; women’s victimization, including rape and intimate violence; women workers in the criminal justice system, specifically in law, policing, and prison work.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 561 or SOCIO 545 or other gender, women, and sexuality studies course at the 500-level or above.

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • ANTH 680 - Forensic Anthropology
    Credits: 4

    Anthropological survey of the predominantly biological areas of forensic science, their methods and techniques, as they pertain to the application of that science to the purpose of the law. Particular emphasis will be given to perspectives about the science itself, its application to anthropology, and the unique ways in which that science may be used by law.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: A life science with laboratory requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences or the consent of the instructor.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, even years

    K-State 8
    Empirical and Quantitative Reasoning
    Natural and Physical Sciences

     

B. Supporting Electives
  • SOCIO 440 - Social Organization

    Credits: 3

    Principles and processes of the organization and structure of human societies. Examines how people create social institutions and how these organizations and structures shape human relations and experience. Analysis of capitalism and other forms of social organization.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Spring

    K-State 8
    None

  • SOCIO 450 - Introduction to Social Interaction

    Credits: 3

    A survey of theories of social interaction and social psychology with special attention to research on principles of interpersonal relations in social situations, group formation, maintenance, and change.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Fall

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 531 - Urban Sociology
    Credits: 3

    Growth, development, and structure of the city as determined by geographical, ecological, and social factors; relation of rural and urban communities; problems of the city and various approaches to their solution.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Spring

    K-State 8
    Historical Perspectives
    Social Sciences

     

  • SOCIO 532 - Our Communities, Our Futures
    Credits: 3

    Combines real-world experience and sociological knowledge about community organization. Explores organizational ties, social interaction, social capital, and leadership in communities.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

     

  • SOCIO 533 - Society, Food, and Agriculture

    Credits: 3

    Examines the relationships between agriculture, food, and society. Topics to be examined include the changing structure of agriculture, food system resilience, the globalization of food and agriculture, issues of distribution, access, and food security, and related social movements.  Examines implications for both rural and urban societies in the US and around the world.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211 or consent of instructor.

    Typically Offered
    Fall

    K-State 8
    Ethical Reasoning and Responsibility
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 541 - Wealth, Power, and Privilege

    Credits: 3

    Analysis of social inequality, particularly within the contemporary United States. Competing explanations for unequal wealth, status, power, etc. Emphasis on explanations related to class, occupational structure, gender, and ethnicity.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Spring

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 545 - The Sociology of Women

    Credits: 3

    Examines patterns of gender in contemporary society and corresponding experiences of women. The course emphasizes both interactional and structural approaches and provides an overview of theoretical work in the field. Particular attention is paid to how gender interacts with ethnicity, class, and sexuality.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

  • SOCIO 570 - Race and Ethnic Relations in the USA

    Credits: 3

    This survey of racial and ethnic relations focuses on discrimination and conflict now as well as on background factors of the past to enlarge understanding of dominant and minority groups.

    Requisites
    Prerequisite: SOCIO 211.

    Typically Offered
    Fall, Spring

    K-State 8
    Human Diversity within the U.S.
    Social Sciences

Internships

During their senior year, qualified students in the sociology program may participate in a professionally supervised internship. The aim of the supervised internship is to prepare beginning professionals for careers in a variety of settings related to their major. In special instances a junior in good academic standing may apply. Internships require that a student have a minimum 2.5 GPA and a letter of recommendation from a sociology faculty member.

Credit hours ranging from 7 to 13 hours may be earned through the field experience option. Field experience hours may not substitute for core or elective requirements for the major.

For more information about internships, check out our internship page.

Undergraduate Thesis 

During their senior year, student in the sociology and criminology program may conduct supervised research with faulty assistance. This is ideal for students interested in graduate school, for more information contact Dr. Lisa Melander at lmeland@ksu.edu.

Senior Thesis

Criminology Club

Students in the criminology specialization also have the opportunity to participate in the K-State Criminology Club. Contact Dr. Steinmetz if interested.

Hear more from K-State Criminology Alumni!

Samuel Shubert - Detective, Riley County Police Department

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Erin Friedline - Captain, Riley County Police Department, Investigations Division

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Kristen Czugala - Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department Victims Services

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Kristina Smith - Savio House and Correctional Psychology Associates, Denver, Colorado

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Brie Madden Rodman - Attorney at Law

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Steven Waters - Special Agent, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives

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