The criminology major focuses 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 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 or graduate study/professional training.
To complete the B.A. in criminology, students must earn 120 credit hours and are encouraged to use their general electives to complete an academic minor and pursue professional field experiences. For a complete description of requirements and list of courses, see the Criminology section of the course catalog.
The criminology major prepares graduates to pursue a range of careers such as policing, security, corrections, human services and business. The major also prepares students for graduate studies in the social sciences in pursuit of academic or applied research careers or for professional training in law, public administration, social work and related fields.
Sample Course Schedules
Wondering what your typical day might be like? We used students’ real course schedules to create these examples.
Freshman YearWVUE 191 First Year Seminar SPAN 101 Elementary Spanish 1 MATH 126 College Algebra SOCA 101 Introduction to Sociology SOCA 199 Orientation to Soc & Anthro
Senior YearSOCA 415 Mass Media, Crime and Deviance SOCA 301 Sociological Theory SOCA 320 Social Psychology SOCA 444 Neighborhoods and Crime SOCA 311 Social Research Methods
English Proficiency Requirements
All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.
WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.