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Criminology and Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sociology

Why Choose Criminology and Criminal Justice?

One of the greatest social needs today is public safety and security. The increased complexity and diversity of contemporary society, its technological development and legal evolution, and its interdependence with other societies necessitate that those we entrust with our public safety be well-educated.

In today's world, criminologists working in criminal justice must have excellent communication skills; critical thinking and problem-solving abilities; sensitivity to those of different racial, cultural, socioeconomic, and gender groups; the ability to speak a foreign language; and computer literacy.

It is also important for those working in the criminal justice fields to have a good understanding of the operation of various components of the criminal justice system, the social causes and consequences of crime and victimization, and the role of social policy in shaping our society's response to and control of criminal behavior.

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Admission to the Program

All students who wish to graduate with this degree must:
  1. Acquire "waiting for" status
  2. Meet criteria for application
  3. Apply and gain acceptance into the major
  4. Fulfill all of the major's requirements

Interested students in any major who currently register through University College (UC) but have not completed at least 30 total credit hours should go to the UC Sociology Advisor(s) and declare "waiting for" status for Criminology and Criminal Justice. Upon completion of 30 credit hours, students should go to the UC Sociology Advisor(s), the Assistant Dean in Arts & Sciences, or their faculty advisor in Sociology to transfer to Arts & Sciences as a B.S. Sociology major waiting for Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Admission to the B.S. Program in Criminology and Criminal Justice is selective. Applications for admission are reviewed twice a year, once per semester. Students must apply by submitting their names to the Chairperson of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology or to Leo Carroll, B.S. Program Director.

To be considered for admission to the Criminology and Criminal Justice B.S. Program, students must have earned a minimum of 30 total college credit hours, including SOC 100, 230, and 274 by the application deadline. Additionally, students must have earned an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Applications should include a recent copy of the student's transcript, a brief letter of intent that includes the student's current contact information and the name of one faculty member to contact for recommendation who has knowledge of the student's academic ability and performance. All applications will be considered together and evaluated by committee according to the same criteria: the availability of instructional resources, grade point averages, and faculty recommendation.

Students will be notified of their acceptance. Those who fail to gain admission may reapply during subsequent application periods. Once students are accepted into the major, they will be registered in Arts & Sciences as Bachelor of Science Sociology majors in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

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Major Requirements

A total of 120 credits overall is required for graduation. Students in the B.S. Criminology and Criminal Justice curriculum are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits in Sociology. These credits include several required courses:
  • Sociology 100 General Sociology: This is the first course in the discipline and is designed to provide students with an introduction to sociological analysis and discourse
  • Sociology 230 Crime and Delinquency: Coursework will introduce students to the distribution, trends, and costs of crime and delinquency in the U.S. with an emphasis on policy implications
  • Sociology 274 The Criminal Justice System: This course provides an overview to the American system of criminal justice, including consideration of theories of criminal law
  • Sociology 301 Sociological Research Methods: This course is a sustained examination of sociological research techniques with an emphasis on critical reasoning and the evaluation of sociological research
  • Sociology 370 Theories of Crime and Delinquency: Sociological and psychological theories of crime are the focal points of this course. Students will also have the opportunity to evaluate competing explanations of criminal behavior
  • Sociology 476 Policy Issues in Criminal Justice: As a capstone course, this seminar focuses on policy issues in the area of criminal justice, including capital punishment, gun control, legalization of drugs, mandatory sentencing, and restorative justice

In addition to these required courses, students are required to select at least two courses that focus on issues of inequality. These courses include:

  • Sociology 240 Race and Ethnic Relations
  • Sociology 242 Sex and Gender
  • Sociology 336 Social Inequality
  • Sociology 413 Gender Inequality
  • Sociology 428 Institutional Racism
  • Sociology 452 Class and Power

Students in the B.S. Criminology and Criminal Justice curriculum must also complete two courses from the following list:

  • Sociology 330 Police in Democratic Societies
  • Sociology 331 Punishment and Corrections
  • Sociology 420 Family Violence
  • Sociology 300 Topics in Sociology (related to Criminology and Criminal Justice)
  • Sociology 497 Field Experience in Sociology
  • Sociology 498/499 Independent Study

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News & Announcements


Donna Hughes, Carlson Professor of Gender and Women's Studies has accepted a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology. Professor Hughes is a leading international researcher on human trafficking. She has completed research on the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Korea and also does research and writing on women's rights.


Dr. Pravin Patkar, a Fulbright Scholar from India will be in residence in Sociology and Anthropology during the 2015-16 academic year. The founder of Prerana, a center for women and children in Kamathipura - the largest red-light district in the world -- he written extensively on the topic of human trafficking. He has worked with victims of bonded labor (modern-day slavery) and prostitution and sex trafficking, and is an advocate for laws and policy that protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. Dr. Patkar will be doing research and co-teaching courses with Professor Donna Hughes.


Julie Keller Julie C. Keller has joined the department as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to URI, Professor Keller was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Oberlin College.


Rosaria Pisa has been appointed director of the Gender and Women's Studies program. Professor Pisa has conducted in-depth fieldwork in rural and urban Mexico since 1993. Her research has evolved from studying the impact of the privatization of communal land on community life to her current focus on the gender dynamics of local and organic farming.


URI Anthropology & History student, Morgan Breene, earns prestigious international award to continue her studies of underwater archaeological sites. For full article click here



For the second year in a row, an anthropologist has been awarded the University’s Early Career Research Award.

Associate Professor Holly Dunsworth received the 2014 award for her research comparing energy use in apes and other mammals with particular reference to how the energetics and metabolic parameters of pregnancy, fetal growth, infant growth, and lactation and how those determine the timing of birth in humans and other mammals. Kudos to Holly!!!

Department contacts

Department Chair
Leo Carroll,

Justice, Law & Society Minor Coordinator
Professor Leo Carroll,

Administrative Assistant
Theresa Nobile,