Sociology and Criminology (SC)

Professors: Wendy Wiedenhoft Murphy (Chair), Richard Clark, Associate Professors: Medora Barnes, Gloria Vaquera, Assistant Professors: Kathleen Knoll-Frey, Kenneth Sean Chaplin

John Carroll offers a major and minor in sociology and criminology. Studying sociology will expose you to theoretical insights about human behavior and teach you critical analytical thinking and skills to work with, and help understand, people. You will learn about ways people interact, organize, and act as societies, cultures, families, ethnic/racial groups, socioeconomic classes, religions, and other types of groups. 

As a sociology student, you will take courses in the foundations of sociology, research methods, and sociological theory. You will also explore contemporary social issues such as: crime, drugs, law, poverty, health, prejudice and discrimination, inequalities, the environment, and sexuality and gender, both within the U.S. and globally.

Depending on your career interests, you can choose to focus your studies in specialized concentrations: 1) criminology, law, and justice, 2) forensic behavioral studies, 3) social work, community and health, or 4) diversity, justice and social change. Many of our students also complete internships to gain professional experience in a variety of fields.

Students must have a minimum 2.0 grade point average. At least 21 hours in the major must be taken at John Carroll University. 

Major and Minor

Sociology and criminology majors may elect to focus their study in one or more of the areas of expertise (concentrations) represented in the department. Depth of knowledge can be obtained by taking a larger portion of course work within one of these areas. Such focus, however, is not required, and students may elect to take a variety of courses in the field, as a broad education in sociology can be obtained in this manner.

SC 101 is usually taken in either the first or the sophomore year. Upper-division courses are advanced courses and should ordinarily be taken during junior and senior years. At the time that students declare their major, all who intend to declare sociology and criminology must make application to the department and meet with the department chair. 

The complete list of degree requirements for the major can be found here. Requirements for the specialized concentrations can be found separately.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Sociology and criminology majors and minors may also participate in a number of interdisciplinary minors, such as: East Asian Studies; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; Entrepreneurship; Catholic Studies; Peace, Justice, and Human Rights; and Population and Public Health. It is strongly recommended that students interested in these programs investigate them as early as possible in their academic careers. Interested students should refer to Interdisciplinary Minors in this Bulletin for more information.

Core Requirements to be completed in the major - Additional Writing, Oral Presentation, and Capstone Experience

Please note select Core requirements must be completed in the major.   Students will find appropriate sociology courses marked with an AW in the course schedule, designating it as an additional writing-intensive course.  Sociology and criminology majors through completion of SC 352 (taken as a co-requisite with SC 351) fulfill the additional Oral Presentation requirement of the Integrative Core Curriculum.  The sociology and criminology courses that fulfill the Capstone Experience are marked “C”. 

Academic Study-Abroad Opportunities for Sociology and Criminology Students

The Department of Sociology and Criminology encourages its students to engage the world through a number of academic study-abroad opportunities: 1) interdisciplinary courses abroad offered in the summer by department faculty with other John Carroll faculty, e.g., SC 356 (Research in Japanese Society and Culture); or 2) study-abroad programs coordinated by the University’s Center for Global Education.

Service-Learning and Social Justice in the Sociology and Criminology Curriculum

The department is committed to service-learning and social justice issues with faculty and curriculum oriented to provide such opportunities for students. It provides preparation for service and promotes understanding of various issues related to social justice through SC 101, SC 111, SC 223, SC 235, SC 240, SC 255, SC 257, SC 265, SC 273, SC 300, SC 380, SC 385, SC 475, SC 494, SC 495 and many other courses. It also cooperates with other University offices in placing students for service-learning opportunities. See the department chair for full details. All of the above courses may not be certified as ISJ courses by the University Core Committee. The student is strongly encouraged to refer to the list of approved Core courses to confirm that a course qualifies as an ISJ certified course. See the section on the Integrative Core Curricum for a listing of all certified Core courses.


Graduate Programs

Many graduates of the department have undertaken graduate study in sociology or criminology, and in a variety of related fields, such as anthropology, criminal justice, law, social work, counseling, public health, public policy, and nonprofit administration. The department encourages the intellectual development that makes graduate work possible. It also assists with graduate school application procedures. For more information, students should consult an academic advisor in the department.

The department is also a founding member and a participating department in the Master of Arts in Nonprofit Administration at John Carroll. The nonprofit administration program is intended for those who desire careers managing nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to people in need. It is an interdisciplinary professional degree program. Faculty from ten different departments of the University, including the Boler College of Business, offer course work in the program.

A special agreement with the Mandel School of Applied Sciences (M-SASS) at Case Western Reserve University enables qualified sociology and criminology majors to enroll in the M-SASS program after their junior year at John Carroll. Successful completion of this two-year program results in a B.A. in sociology and criminology from John Carroll and a master’s in social work from Case Western Reserve University. For details, including standards for eligibility, students should consult the chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology during their first year at John Carroll.

The department also supports a 3-3 Dual Admission Law Partnership between John Carroll University and Case Western Reserve University School of Law. A student may obtain a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University followed by the Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University in six years. The 3+3 Program is a non-traditional path that saves the student a total of one year in studies and expenses. For details, please see the department chair, who will connect the student to the faculty member supervising the program.

Program Learning Goals in Sociology and Criminology

Students will:

  1. Be able to engage in critical questioning about their society, its social structure, and the larger world in which they live.
  2. Develop critical sociological thinking skills in: reasoning, theoretical analysis, interpretation of research findings, and the general ability to separate fact from misinformation in order to engage the institutions and cultures of the multiple societies in this global community.
  3. Be able to engage in research of various types with the goals of answering questions and disseminating findings in oral and written forms about the nature of human society and its diversity, cultures, human interactions, social structure, and issues related to social justice.
  4. Develop as whole persons with their completion of a successful educational program with its implications for continued learning and a successful work life, and a commitment to lifelong civic engagement.