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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Criminal Justice (CRIMJ)

CRIMJ 012 (GS) (CRIM 012, SOC 012) Criminology (3) Explanations and measurement of crime; criminal law; characteristics of criminals and victims; violent, property, white-collar, organized, and sexual crimes.

CRIMJ (CRIM /SOC) 012 Criminology (3)
(GS)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Criminology is the study of the causes of criminal behavior. As such this course is an introduction to the topic with special focus on the major theories explaining criminal behavior including differential association, anomie, control theory and labeling theory. A key focus of the class is examining the most recent scientific research testing the basic theories. The students learn the various research techniques that have been used to study criminal behavior including crime statistics such as the Uniform Crime Report that serves as a monitor on crime trends. Several important areas of study that link understanding criminal behavior and its distribution across the social system are investigated including age, gender, race and ethnicity. One goal of the course is to promote a more complete understanding of crime and how it is enmeshed in human social life. The course concludes by using the knowledge base generated in the course to study the link of our understanding of criminal behavior and the emerging crime control policies of the past few decades. Finally, the course reviews the impact and effectiveness of some of these policies.

Throughout the course, the lectures as well as the readings emphasize the complexity of explaining human behavior and criminal behavior in particular. One aspect of the course is the use of a term paper on the objective and subjective availability of crime to the student. This paper emphasizes the complexity of the student's social life and the role that these factors may have on whether they have engaged in criminal behavior and their analysis of the causes of their criminal behavior. This project personalizes the various theories and helps the student understand the importance of their social environment in whether they have or will engage in crime.

Discussion and questions are encouraged in all sections. Sections of this course may include group research projects, debates, and library or internet-based research. Along with personal contact, students have the opportunity to communicate with teaching assistants and faculty members via e-mail. Writing assignments, along with in-class examinations, are required in all sections.

This course meets a General Education requirement in the Social and Behavioral Sciences for non majors, is required for the CLJBA and CLJBS majors, and may be used in the SOC majors and minors.

The Sociology Department at University Park offers one or two large-enrollment versions of this course (up to 350 students) every semester. Other campuses offer smaller sections (Abington--40, Fayette--50, and Berks and Wilkes Barre--25) each semester.


General Education: GS
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2008

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.