Criminology majors focus on the social roots and implications of criminal behavior and the operation of the criminal justice system. Students learn to apply the theoretical and methodological tools of sociology to make sense of crime and social control in modern society while selecting from a variety of substantive course topics. These include but are not limited to: juvenile delinquency, street crime and gangs, corporate and white collar crime, hate crime, terrorism, drug use and abuse, media and crime, the culture of police work and punishment and social control.
The sociological approach to crime distinguishes criminology from the related field of criminal justice, which emphasizes the procedural activities of criminal justice agencies.
Criminology treats crime as the product of complex social forces, seeking to understand why laws are made in the first place, how and why these laws are violated, and how society responds when laws are broken. This holistic societal perspective prepares graduates to pursue a broad range of careers such as policing, security, corrections, law, social services and business.