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Go beyond the legal definitions of criminality. Criminology seeks to understand the nature and causes of criminality, as well as the successes and limitations of criminal justice approaches and processes.


What is Criminology at WVU like?


Criminology focuses on the social roots and implications of criminal behavior and the operation of the criminal justice system. You will 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:

  • 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
  • punishment and social control

Its 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 you to pursue a broad range of careers or graduate study/professional training.

Criminology program highlights:

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At a Glance

Next Steps

Interested in this major? Here are some suggested next steps:

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Fast Facts

What makes Criminology at WVU unique?

Early College Program

Get a head start (and save money) in our High School ACCESS program for high school students. Choose from online, on-campus or dual credit courses that fulfill requirements for general education or Criminology. Online courses to consider for this major include:

  • SOCA 101: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOCA 105: Introduction to Anthropology
  • SOCA 232: Criminology
  • SOCA 234: The Criminal Justice System

Living-Learning Communities (LLCs)

Live, study and pursue outside-the-classroom learning in a residence hall community that shares your interests:

Student Organizations

Connect with other students who share your academic interests as a member of:

View all of the student organizations you can join.

Professional Organizations

Network with professionals in your field as a student member of:


How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Possible Careers

Wondering what you can do with a degree from WVU's Criminology major? Check out these ideas from WVU Career Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is the midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.


Graduates from this major have gone to work at:


What are the courses like in Criminology at WVU?

Major Map

Check out the course requirements and suggested plan of study for WVU's Criminology major.

View the Major Map

For a program overview, learning goals and course descriptions, visit the course catalog.

Popular Courses

SOCA 232:

Exploration of various theories of criminal behavior; emphasis on a critical study of the criminal justice system and efforts to reform the penal system.

SOCA 302:
Deviant Behavior

Examination of the processes by which deviance is defined in society, and the methods of social control attempted. Provides a critical understanding of society from the perspective of those defined as outsiders-criminals, addicts, etc.

SOCA 303:
Juvenile Delinquency

Nature, extent, and causal explanation of forms of juvenile delinquency. The nature of juvenile courts, the correctional systems, and prevention programs. Emphasizes current issues.

SOCA 318:
Hate Crime

Builds on basic knowledge in sociology to provide a detailed example of an emerging social problem, i.e., hate crime. Explores the ways social phenomena become social problems. Examines the causes and consequences of hate crime.

SOCA 319:
Police Culture and Socialization

Examines the institution of policing in the United States. Builds on basic sociological concepts to provide a sociological and historical perspective on the formal and informal structures and processes in the American system of policing.

SOCA 324:
Gender and Crime

Builds on basic sociological principles and concepts, and focuses on issues of social structure and process that are at the intersection of gender crime, and crime control.

SOCA 334:
Corporate and White Collar Crime

Examines law-breaking by respectable organizations and individuals engaged in professional economic activity. Studies sociocultural sources of such crime, consequences for victims, and public policy responses. Includes recent criminal cases, legal changes, and enforcement trends.

SOCA 346:

Introduction to the sociological study of victimization, which includes an examination of risks and frequencies, perceptions and fears, and the social and psychological impact of crime, accident and illness on individuals and their societies.

SOCA 433:
Inside Out Prison Exchange

Experiential program which brings together students and incarcerated men or women inside prison to exchange ideas about criminal justice processes, analyze a designated concern, and produce recommendations for improvement.

Cost and Aid

How much does Criminology at WVU cost? And how can you save?

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates for the 2019-20 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current West Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

West Virginia Resident
Per Credit $409
Per Semester $4,908
Fall and Spring Semesters $9,816
Per Credit $1,111
Per Semester $13,332
Fall and Spring Semesters $26,664
Per Credit $1,111
Per Semester $13,632
Fall and Spring Semesters $27,264
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Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending WVU in addition to university scholarships.

Early College Program

Get a head start (and save money) in our High School ACCESS program for high school students. Choose from online, on-campus or dual credit courses that fulfill requirements for general education or Criminology. Online courses to consider for this major include:

  • SOCA 101: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOCA 105: Introduction to Anthropology
  • SOCA 232: Criminology
  • SOCA 234: The Criminal Justice System

Learn About Our HS ACCESS Early College Program

Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, we have formal agreements with certain institutions. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to WVU. In addition to guaranteed admission agreements Criminology has transfer articulation agreements with:

Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

Learn How to Transfer Course Credits


What are the requirements to apply for Criminology at WVU?

To be admitted to WVU's Criminology major, you must meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2020-21 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Next Steps

I like this major. What are the next steps?

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Your first step to becoming a Mountaineer is applying for admission. Our online application makes the process as convenient as possible.

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Request Information

Want to know more about Criminology at WVU? Fill out the Request Information form to receive more information about the program and life at WVU.

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