There are three principal programs within the Department of Justice, Law and Society: justice studies, anthropology and sociology. Each of these programs has specialized concentrations, which are described below.
The justice studies major consists of a core requirement of 11 courses that are designed to provide a broad and coherent approach to the six content areas identified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Students then have five concentrations available to them: general justice studies, criminology, law and justice, homeland and international security, and forensic science. The forensic science concentration has two core courses and students can elect to take one or more tracks to include: crime scene investigation, behavioral crime, forensic accounting, computer forensics, forensic anthropology and general forensic science.
Transfer students may transfer up to 24 credit-hours of criminal justice courses toward the justice studies degree requirements. Credit for life experiences and military or professional training may be available, but such credit cannot be counted toward the 48 justice studies required courses. Such credit, if awarded, will typically apply to the additional electives category or General Education requirements, if applicable.
The anthropology major consists of a core requirement of six courses that are designed to provide a broad and coherent approach to the two concentrations. The first is a forensic anthropology concentration consisting of six required courses. The second is an archaeology concentration also consisting of six required courses. In addition to these, a series of low-and mid-range courses can be taken as general electives or as electives for the General Education requirements. In addition to the B.A. in Anthropology, students can also complete a minor in anthropology.
Sociology is the systematic study of all features of group life beginning with family and extending to global arrangements. The primary purpose of the sociology program is to prepare students for graduate work in sociology or a related social science advanced degree. The sociology program is also a strong liberal arts major that provides its graduates with the necessary skills for entry-level positions requiring knowledge of human behavior. Our graduates hold positions in community agencies at the local, national and international levels; nonprofit organizations; trade associations; labor unions; foundations; and small and large corporations.
In addition to the B.A. in Sociology and a minor in sociology, the department, in conjunction with the College of Education and Human Services, provides a teacher certification program for those interested in teaching the social sciences in secondary schools. The department also works with the women’s studies program and offers a selection of courses on gender issues in social institutions and social movements.
The applied concentration within the sociology major is oriented toward preparing students for research positions in applied settings. Students are trained to:
- Use sociological concepts, theories, skills and research methods to understand social and organizational problems;
- Apply these tools to concrete, real-world, practical problems faced by organizations and communities at all levels; and
- Provide organization leaders with practical solutions to these problems.
Students are required to take 12 credits in social research methods, plus statistics, and a 3-credit internship in the second semester of their senior year. Graduates may work in diverse applied settings such as industry, government, higher education and voluntary associations and as solo practitioners/consultants. Examples of applied sociological work in these settings include:
- Evaluating the effectiveness of various educational policies/programs;
- Investigating the social norms promoting or inhibiting the spread of AIDS;
- Evaluating and assessing the effectiveness of various criminal justice programs;
- Analyzing employment records for evidence of discrimination; and
- Planning medical services and facilities for a target population.