CJS4500EN - Criminology

Course description

This course examines the field and practice of criminology, i.e. the study of crime. Criminological problems, their origins, and possible solutions are studied in a clear, practical, straightforward fashion. Students examine the major aspects of the study of crime, the definitions of criminal behavior, and the measurement of crime. Students develop an understanding of today’s issues in criminology and are prepared to address and resolve the issues of tomorrow including white-collar crime and corporate crime.  

How this course benefits students

While crime remains one of America’s most important social problems, it may also be one of the least understood. Sociological criminology helps people to understand this problem. Sociological criminology is not only structural criminology; it should also debunk incorrect perceptions about the nature of crime, false claims about the effectiveness of various crime-control strategies, and expose possible injustices in the application of the criminal label.

Why this course is important

A designed learning experience that includes understanding and explaining how criminal and deviant behaviors are complex and intersectional; the historical evolution of criminal theories/explanations (biological to psychological to sociological); Identifying ways for measuring crime in the United States, and explaining patterns of crime distribution.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Criminal Justice
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The biblical perspective will be emphasized throughout this course due to the symbiotic relationship between sin, crime, and differences in response found in scripture. Biblical perspectives of sin and criminality will be required and incorporated throughout the entirety of this course.

Missionally driven

Our missional tasks are to restore a sense of civility and responsibility to everyday life and promote crime prevention and genuine rehabilitation. The common good is undermined by criminal behavior that threatens the lives and dignity of others and by policies that seem to give up on those who have broken the law (offering too little treatment and too few alternatives to either years in prison or the execution of those who have been convicted of terrible crimes). This course asks the student to use critical thinking and assessment to present issues within the criminal justice system, define the issues, present solutions, and recommend change within the current policies and practices.

Contextually informed

Understand and explain the complexities of the U.S. criminal justice system and how to properly assess and improve them.

Interculturally focused

Society and criminality are complex and diverse. Therefore, not one single explanation of crime can be provided. Individuals commit crimes for various and combined reasons. This course provides a solid foundation and further expansion of knowledge of theory to enable proper formal social control response.

Practically minded

While it is an extremely important topic of study, it is often misunderstood and confused, in part, by false depictions in social and public media. Accordingly, the course examines crime sociologically—that is, not just from individual perspectives/explanations. By including structural explanations/perspectives we can better see the “whole picture” when it comes to better understanding and explaining crime(s).  The course provides foundational instruction on addressing racial and cultural disparity in our criminal justice system, providing resources and training tools for those in the judicial, prosecutorial, and defense agencies, as well as other members of the legal professional community.

Experientially transformed

Sociology and criminology are mutually relevant. Crime, victimization, and criminal justice cannot be fully understood without appreciating their structural context. There is a structural basis for criminality and some of the most significant advances in sociology have come from theory and research in criminology. The practical aspect of this course helps students to engage in the works of mission in the criminal justice system by joining where God is at work in redemption, reconciliation, restoration, and renewal.