|Criminal Justice Courses
Note: The letter Q in the course number designates writing-intensive courses.
This course introduces an examination of the field of criminology. Major topics include definitions of and the basic assumptions that are used to formulate criminological theories. Causes of crime and crime rates, United States and international comparisons, and a review of the current direction of research within the study of crime are also discussed.
Introduction to Criminal Justice (3)
This course introduces the study of societal responses to crime as well as an explanation of why criminal justice should be thought of as a system. Specific topics include the study of the people and organizations that make up the criminal justice system including actors such as the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and corrections officials. Major branches and functions of the criminal justice system including law enforcement and order maintenance, courts and sentencing, and corrections and reentry are covered.
Cutting Edge of Criminology (3)
This course features the research of faculty members and other researchers and policy makers involved in local, national, and international criminal justice. It offers an opportunity to interact with criminal justice stakeholders and gain knowledge about cutting-edge research within the fields of criminology and criminal justice.
Police and Society (3)
The course examines the function of police in contemporary society; the problems arising between citizens and police from the enforcement and nonenforcement of laws are covered in this course. The mechanisms by which social changes impact the law enforcement and order maintenance functions of the police, interactions between the public and the police, and how these interactions impact police legitimacy are major topics that will be discussed.
This course provides a general overview of the theory and practice of legal punishment in the United States. It documents the evolution of correctional institutions and correctional systems, including interactions between corrections and other components of state/federal criminal justice systems (i.e., courts, police, state legislatures). This course also explores theories on the various uses and functions of punishment, as well as approaches to prisoner management within and beyond prison walls (i.e., jails, parole, community corrections) with an emphasis on social, political, and economic dilemmas associated with mass incarceration and prisoner reentry.
Reducing Local Crime (3)
This course relates urban design and management to crime and crime prevention. The course is presented through the critical lens of problem-oriented policing and situational crime prevention to reduce local crime. It emphasizes data-informed decision-making, community engagement, efficient utilization of resources, transparency, and sustainability. This course provides a practical study of policies and programs that demonstrates how police and other organizations can address crime vulnerabilities and exposures in the communities they serve through strategies that go beyond specific deterrence of offending.
Case Processing: The Law and the Courts (3)
This course explores criminal laws and judicial opinions that influence the policies, procedures, personnel, and clients of the criminal justice system in the United States. Specific topics include, but are not limited to, the origin, development, and continuing changes in criminal law, administration of criminal justice, and the criminal courts.
Constitutional Issues in Criminal Justice (3)
This course explores the U.S. Constitution and how it regulates the criminal justice system processes. The course will provide a historical overview of the Constitution, the formation of the legal system, and the evolution of the Constitution through its Amendments.
Delinquency and Juvenile Justice (3)
This course explores the causes and rates of delinquent behavior. Investigates the nature and operation of the juvenile justice system, and provides comparisons between the purpose and functioning of the juvenile justice system in comparison to the adult criminal justice system. Issues of juvenile waiver to adult courts, important due process safeguards afforded to juveniles, and international comparisons are discussed.
Community Corrections (3)
This course examines the theory and practice of major community-based correctional responses (such as probation, parole, and diversion programs) to people convicted of criminal offenses. Discussions centering on why community corrections is an important social movement, and the countermovement to abolish the discretionary parole release function, are offered in this course.
Criminal Justice: Ethical and Philosophical Foundations (3)
This course explores ethical and philosophical issues and moral dilemmas within the field of criminal justice, including principles of justice, deontology and utilitarianism, philosophical issues in sentencing, police and ethics, ethics and research, and the scope of state control are discussed in this course.
Criminal Justice Research Methods (4)
This course develops the tools needed for conducting research and writing reports and scholarly papers in criminal justice. This course provides the tools to be an informed consumer of criminological research and to conduct basic research projects. Specific topics include the primacy of design, principles of reliability and validity, sampling theory, survey preparation, experiments and quasi-experiments, and qualitative designs (intensive interviews, content analysis, and ethnography).
Data Analysis in Criminal Justice (4)
This course examines the various types of data used within criminal justice and the fundamentals of statistics and analysis. It also provides an analysis of the appropriate use of data, the limits of various methods, how data are collected, and how to interpret findings. Policy implications of data will also be discussed.
Prerequisites: 47:202:301 and the basic undergraduate math requirement.
Comparative Criminal Justice Systems (3)
This course reviews theories and methods for comparative research, describes limits and advantages of comparative data, and discusses how comparative research can inform criminal justice policies. Specific topics include the role of history and politics in shaping approaches to law enforcement and punishment, the contribution of police and prisons to racial inequality, and the global diffusion of criminal justice ideas, laws, and practices.
Gender, Crime, and Justice (3)
This course provides an in-depth survey of changing social values about gender, changing criminal codes about sex crimes, changing law enforcement policies and procedures in prosecuting sex crimes, and emerging legal doctrines about privacy and sexual rights. Gender differences in crime commission and the types of crimes committed, as well as issues centering on criminal justice processing are explored.
Business and Crime (3)
This course examines the many roles that business takes in crime, and the methods by which businesses can prevent crimes from occurring. Topics include how business plays a central role in modern society, and how this role can create criminal opportunities. How businesses engage in criminal activities, and how and why crimes are committed against business are discussed in this course.
This course examines cybercrime, its prevention, and its significance for law enforcement. These types of crimes include illicit attacks on personal computers, on computer systems, on people via computers, and more. They include theft of information via computers, spreading of harmful code, and stealing credit and other information. Particular discussions about the level of technical proficiency in cybercrime is covered in this course.
Violent Crime (3)
This course provides an in-depth analysis of the relationship between violence and criminal behavior. It assesses the theoretical basis of violence by investigating its anthropological, biological, and sociological explanations and roots. It includes in-depth investigations of how and why violence occurs within the contexts of individuals, groups, and societies.
Race and Crime (3)
course examines how race is related to crime, victimization,
punishment, and interactions with the criminal justice system. The
course considers how race is defined at societal-, cultural-, and
individual-levels, how these definitions are malleable, and how this
impacts criminal justice policy.
Contemporary Policing (3)
This course covers various topics that are considered to be critical law enforcement problems. Specific areas of inquiry include how to police organized crime, alcohol and drugs, the policing of civil and natural disturbances, and the diffusion and multiplicity of police agencies. Discussion of issues within crime reporting by the police, assessment difficulties, and public reactions to law enforcement and order maintenance strategies used by the police are covered in this course. Administrative problems of staffing, supervision, employee morale and militancy, and public charges are also critically discussed.
White-Collar Crime (3)
This course focuses on crimes organized by persons whose economic, political, and/or privileged positions facilitate the commission of illegal activities. The course will include critical assessments of how white-collar crime is defined and understood, and the similarities and differences between white-collar crimes and other criminal activities. The costs, investigative procedures, challenges with measuring, and long-term potential consequences of white-collar crimes are discussed.
Prerequisites: 47:202:102 and 47:202:103.
Crime in Different Cultures (3)
This course explores crime through the critical lens of anthropology by situating criminal acts as consequences of the complexity and nuances of human interactivity and cultural heterogeneity. Crime and punishment in other societies, especially non-Western societies that lack institutional systems of criminal justice, and the social evolution of crime and crime-related institutions throughout the United States of America's history are particular topics that are discussed in this course.
Prerequisites: 47:202:102 and 47:202:103.
Contemporary Problems in Corrections (3)
This course explores the impact of alternatives to incarceration, the growing prisoner rights movement, strikes by correctional employees, and public resentment toward persistently high rates of recidivism. In addition, the class provides an in-depth study of issues concerning correctional education, job training, work release, and post-incarceration employment.
Environmental Criminology (3)
Environmental criminology is the study of crime, criminality, and victimization as they relate to interactions of people at particular places. This course considers how the environment and features of a landscape provide opportunities for illegal behavior and crime, as well as obstacles for carrying it out. The course covers important research, theories, and strategies for reducing crime by modifying or planning the built environment. Discussions include how environmental design and intervention programming can be data-informed to produce places that are less vulnerable to crime.
Juvenile Gangs and Co-Offending (3)
This course explores juvenile street gangs, when they exist, when they are illusory, and public reactions to them. It also considers co-offending by juveniles who are not necessarily gang members. The course considers what gang membership means, and when gangs are cohesive or not. It examines variations among juvenile street gangs, and contrasts these with other groups of youth that are sometimes called "gangs."
Organized Crime (3)
This course provides a historical and theoretical overview of organized crime, as well as a specific understanding of its variety. It examines the structures of organized crime and the varieties of businesses associated with traditional and nontraditional organized crime groups.
Crime Mapping (3)
This course provides a practical introduction to analyzing and mapping crime and other public safety data using open-sourced and web-based applications, as well as ArcGIS geographic information system (GIS) software. It provides opportunities to make and analyze maps and to develop a solid base upon which to build further expertise in crime mapping and GIS.
Youth Violence (3)
This course focuses on the assessment, development, prevention, and treatment of youth violence among children and adolescents. Understanding and preventing youth violence is a major focus of the nation's policy agenda and involves research and practice in the mental health, public health, psychiatry, and criminal justice communities. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the course reviews the biological, social, and psychological underpinnings of youth violence, and discuss how policy makers and practitioners at all levels deal with this problem.
Crime over the Life Span (3)
This course examines the development of anti-social and criminal of behavior from childhood through old age, including patterns of onset, persistence, intermittence, and desistance. What is known about why and how people start and stop committing crime at various ages, and the different types of crimes that are typically committed by people at different ages are specific topics covered in this course.
Mass Incarceration and Collateral Consequences (3)
This course examines trends in mass incarceration, their sources, and their direct and indirect effects on society. Since 1970, incarceration rates in the United States have quintupled and are now higher than those in any other country in the world. These huge increases in mass incarceration over a short period of time have persisted through periods when crime was rising, and even in the more recent time periods when crime has been falling. Apart from the dubious effects of mass incarceration on public safety suggested by these divergent trends, mass incarceration also has substantial collateral consequences across society, affecting families, communities, the labor market, the military, political processes, and the use of taxpayer dollars.
Miscarriages of Justice (3)
This course provides a critical and interdisciplinary examination of the current functioning of the American criminal justice system, focusing specifically on the procedures used by various criminal justice actors that can lead to errors in case processing and unjust outcomes. This course examines policies and practices of the United States' criminal justice system (e.g., police procedure, prosecution, jury selection, scientific evidence, appellate court procedures, etc.) that unintentionally contribute to the wrongful apprehension, prosecution, conviction, incarceration, and even execution of the innocent. The course explores the collateral consequences of punishing "false positives," including implications for undermining the legitimacy of the criminal justice system and allowing impunity for culpable offenders who remain at-large.
Topics in Criminal Justice (3)
Vary per semester.
The Pursuit of Justice (3)
This course surveys philosophies and strategies regarding structures of justice. The class begins with a review of the differences between retributive and distributive justice and how they are related. This analysis leads to a broader discussion of "what justice means," both historically and in contemporary thinking. The course will explore an array of ideas about justice in social relations and in response to the law.
Required course for bachelor of arts.
American society tends to hold itself up as an arbiter of justice and equality, domestically and globally. Upon scrutiny, however, the topic of inequality reveals itself to be an epistemological aporia in which starkly oppositional ideas and frameworks are all held up as social goods, whether within American social practice, theoretical debate, academic discourse, or lived experience. This course addresses one, central question: How is it that institutions and nations with expressed intentions of achieving freedom, justice, fairness, and democratic thriving often end up both exacerbating injustice and deepening inequality?
Required course for bachelor of arts.
Topics in Justice Studies (3)
Vary per semester.
Senior Thesis I (3)
course is a research-based seminar designed for students demonstrating
the academic maturity and preparation to pursue a thesis project
independently. Students will draw on their knowledge of theory, methods,
and policy learned in core and elective courses to analyze and propose a
research plan on an important topic in criminal justice.
Required course for bachelor of arts. Prerequisites: 47:202:301 and 47:202:302.
Senior Thesis II (3)
senior thesis must be a substantive piece of scholarship involving
primary or secondary research, which serves to synthesize knowledge
acquired in the justice studies major over the course of the student's
undergraduate career. A senior thesis project should be an original work
that ideally makes a contribution to the discipline of justice studies.
Required course for bachelor of arts. Prerequisite: 47:204:481Q.