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Criminal Justice Studies

Course Descriptions

Criminal Justice Studies Courses:

CJS 102 Deviance (4 SH). An exploration of norm-breaking behavior and its consequences. Traditional and contemporary theories of deviance will be examined, as will particular areas of deviant behavior. The change in definitions of what is regarded as deviant will be dealt with at length.

CJS 200 Studies in Criminology and Criminal Justice (4 SH). This course will deal with specific aspects of criminology and the criminal justice system not included in the regular curriculum. Topics will be announced prior to registration.

CJS 201 Juvenile Delinquency and Justice (4 SH). An exploration of juvenile misconduct and its legal consequences. Theories explaining juvenile delinquency from a variety of perspectives will be examined. The emergence and present state of the juvenile justice system will be covered as well. Offered Spring Semester.

CJS 202 Criminology (4 SH). This course covers the workings of the criminal justice system. Students will explore how we define and respond to crime, how the institutions of the criminal justice system (police forces, criminal courts and prisons) have developed and functioned, and the reasons criminal justice policies are adopted and the effects those policies have. Offered Fall Semester.

CJS 203 Victimology (2 SH). This course provides an introduction to the study of criminal victimization. We will investigate patterns of criminal victimization using empirical data, apply theoretical concepts to empirical patterns, analyze specific forms of victimization (e.g. intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, property victimization), consider the impact of crime on victims and society (e.g. fear of crime), the role of victims within the criminal justice system, specific remedies, and victim rights and services.

CJS 204 Police (2 SH). This course explores the history, development, current practices and future of the police at the local, state, federal and, at times, global level. Students will receive a basic introduction to the role of the police in a diverse and democratic society, with a focus on police discretion, types of policing and use of force. K. Robison.

CJS 205 Criminal Courts (2 SH). This course focuses on Americaís criminal courts. We will discuss the major players in the criminal justice systemódefense attorneys, prosecutors, and judgesóand the ways in which their behavior is influenced by their roles, their experiences on the job and the small group environment. We will also discuss controversial policies in the criminal justice field, paying particular attention to the motivation behind the adoption of such policies and the degree to which the effects of such policies have fulfilled or conflicted with those motivations.

CJS 206 Corrections (2 SH). This course explores the history, development, current practices and future of correctional systems at the local, state, federal and, at times, global level. This course takes a multi-disciplinary view of selected areas and issues relevant to correctional goals (general/specific deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, restitution, retribution and restorative justice) for offenders in secure confinement (jails and prisons) and community-based alternatives to jails and prisons (probation, parole, restitution, community service, intensive probation/parole, electronic monitoring, boot camps and community-corrections programs).

CJS 302 The Sociology of Law and Legal Systems (formerly listed as SOC 203) (4 SH). This course takes a broad perspective on such questions as the origins of law and the development of systems of dispute settlement. Special emphasis is placed on the relationship between law and social change, and law and social control in the areas of criminal and civil law. Prerequisite: SOC 101 or CJS 102. Offered Spring Semester.

CJS 405 Critical Issues in Policing (4 SH). This course offers an in-depth investigation of the evolution of law enforcement in the United States, leading into inquiry of a number of current, critical issues shaping policing locally, nationally and internationally. Critical issues examined include: the militarization of U.S. police forces, policing post-conflict cities, technological advances in policing, policing the drug trade in rural and urban America as well as abroad and the increased role of police forces in homeland security.

CJS 590-594 Field Experience/Internship (1-4 SH).

CJS 620-624 Independent Study (1-4 SH).

Supporting Courses:

SSC 251 Research Methods for Social Science (4 SH). An introduction to the nature and processes of social science inquiry. Particular attention is given to designing social science research projects, and to techniques for gathering, analyzing, and communicating data from both primary and secondary sources. The course is intended to increase the student’s ability to understand published studies and to enhance student research skills. Prerequisite: Two sociology criminal justice studies and/or political science courses.

SSC 252 Data Analysis for Social Science (4 SH). An introduction to methods of tabulating, analyzing, and interpreting empirical social science data; and to the use of computers in social science research. Emphasis is placed on assessing strengths, weaknesses, requirements, and applicability of the various statistical methods. Prerequisite: SSC 251 or some exposure to research methods and instructor permission.

SOC 101 Principles of Sociology (4 SH). In taking this course, students will become more aware of the effects of social forces on the individual. The course provides an introduction to the concepts and methods used in the systematic study of society. Topics include: social norms, social groups, social conflict, social inequality, social institutions, social change, and the sociological perspective.

SOC 204 Introduction to Social Work (4 SH). An exploration of the knowledge base, theories, and methods that social workers use. Several of the major fields of practice are examined including family and child welfare, health care, mental health, criminal justice, and gerontology.

SOC 209 Minority-Majority Relations (4 SH). This course will trace the history of race as a concept, examine how racial and ethnic relations changed over time in the U.S., analyze the causes and consequences of prejudice and discrimination, and consider how majority-minority relations shape life chances for various groups in the U.S. and throughout the world. Some of the topics we cover include: ethnic identity, popular culture, segregation, immigration, racial profiling, and interracial relationships.

SOC 214 Social Class in America (4 SH). An examination of the various forms and systems of social inequality in human societies, with attention to the mechanisms that perpetuate inequalities, ideologies that legitimate them, and possibilities for social mobility. Particular focus is on social class inequality in the contemporary United States and the social problems of poverty and homelessness.

SOC 241 Sociology of Violence and Nonviolence (4 SH). Violence, from a sociological perspective, is considered a social phenomenon that evolves in a socio-historical-political moment. This course will evaluate theory and research on violence and nonviolence from both a macro and micro sociological lens. Topics investigated will be interpersonal violence, violence against animals, hate crimes, school violence, bullying, terrorism, structural violence, and social movements that involve both violence and nonviolence. We will also investigate how race, social class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ability shapes who is more likely to be a victim or perpetrator of violence.

SOC 306 Sociology of Family (4 SH). This course examines the function, structure, and variety of families. Topics include: the historical origins of contemporary American family life; patterns in family formation and dissolution, including dating, cohabitation, marriage, and divorce; sexuality and families; work-family (im)balance; and social problems, such as poverty and intimate violence. We will discuss and debate the implications of changing family life in the United States and abroad. Prerequisite: One lower-level sociology or criminal justice studies course or permission of instructor.

SOC 350 Social Theory (4 SH). A survey of dominant traditions in classical and contemporary social theory, as derived from their social context. This course is a preparation for more specialized study in sociology. Prerequisite: SOC 101 and one additional sociology or criminal justice studies course. Offered Fall Semester.

SOC 601 Sociology Capstone I (4 SH). The student will relate a substantive topic to the major theoretical and methodological schools in sociology. To be taken in spring of the junior year. Prerequisites: SOC 250 and SSC 251.

SOC 602 Sociology Capstone II (4 SH). The student will conduct a significant research project in the fall of the senior year. Prerequisites: SSC 252 and SOC 601.


What can you do with a Criminal Justice Studies degree?

Imagine yourself an investigator, detective, police officer, paralegal, counselor, or probation officer.