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Students who choose the criminal justice track within the sociology major will study the American legal system, policing, and restorative justice.

Why should I study criminal justice?

Students who study criminal justice become socially conscious, empathetic Christians who live and work in cross-cultural and urban settings all over the world. You'll learn about a wide range of systems and social phenomena and develop useful skills for community settings, government agencies, nonprofits, and legal firms. If you are fascinated by the justice system and how it relates to issues of race, gender, and class, the criminal justice emphasis could be a good fit for you.

What can I do with this degree?

The versatility of the sociology major allows students to pursue a variety of vocations. Our graduates have worked with refugees in Kenya, acted as anthropological consultants with missions agencies in Southeast Asia, mentored at-risk children in Minneapolis, and worked as human resources specialists in American corporations. Some of the most common career paths include:

  • Education, including teaching, educational research, and administration
  • Human services, including social work, counseling, recreation, community work, public administration, and environmental planning
  • Criminal justice, including police service, juvenile and adult corrections, and service to the courts
  • Communication, including journalism, information management, library work, and public relations
  • Research and data management, including public and private research positions, programming, and systems analyses

Besides employment, the sociology major also prepares student well for further studies. Examples are graduate work in sociology or anthropology, professional degrees in social work, urban planning, or health administration, or fields such as law, epidemiology, or film studies. The research skills, exposure to social theory, and international experience have made graduates very attractive to both potential employers and graduate schools.

What skills will I develop?

Sociology students learn to understand and make sense of social relationships. They begin to understand how organizations and power structures work, and learn to create, interpret, and manipulate data sets that describe various social processes. They also learn to live and work effectively in highly diverse settings. You’ll develop competencies in:

  • Research methods
  • Interviewing skills
  • Data management and analysis
  • Program evaluation
  • Social survey techniques
  • Report writing

You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the R.E.A.L. Experience—a program specifically designed to help you gain the relevant, hands-on experience employers desire—so that when you graduate, you’ll be as impressive in practice as you are on paper.

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Students have the opportunity to pursue an emphasis in criminal justice or urban studies. No matter which emphasis you choose, you'll learn through hands-on experience in the culturally diverse communities and neighborhoods in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. You'll also have the opportunity to:

  • Study abroad
  • Present papers at professional conferences under the supervision of a faculty member
  • Complete an internship
  • Participate in social activities with professors to get to know them personally outside the classroom
  • Join student clubs on campus, especially those that focus on diversity issues

Academic Plans and Course Catalog

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full time and adjunct professors


of our majors study abroad

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