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Department: Criminology


About the Program


The criminology major is structured around the study of both crime and deviance (criminology) in order to ground students in this social science. The curriculum offers students an opportunity to pursue studies leading to law school, graduate school or a career in the administration of justice.

The criminology program grounds students in empirical analysis of the actions defined as criminal by law and their relationship to actions considered violations of societal norms. Majors in the program take a combination of criminology, sociology and psychology courses in order to understand the breadth of knowledge in this exciting field of social research. Students develop critical thinking and analytical skills in order to become knowledgeable consumers of research.

Students use these skills to study four major areas:

  • The etiology of crime
  • Deviance and social control
  • Social problems
  • The criminal justice system

Criminology at Notre Dame of Maryland University is an interdisciplinary degree, focusing on both the sociological and psychological explanations of crime and the official reactions to such behavior, as well as critical examination of social problems and the criminal justice system. Criminology is a fundamentally different pursuit from that of criminal justice, the study of government responses to crime only. Students may add to their breadth of knowledge by adding a minor in forensic psychology or sociology.

To prepare for entering the profession, each criminology major completes the Criminology Practicum in the field at a site of her choosing. The Criminology Practicum experience is an opportunity to merge knowledge with practice in the field and to network with criminal justice professionals. Recently, students have completed Practicum at such field sites as the Baltimore Field Office of the United States Secret Service, the Homicide Section of the Baltimore Police Department, the Federal Office of the Public Defender, the Maryland State’s Attorney General’s Office, the Planning and Research Section of the Baltimore County Police Department, the National Women’s Prison Project, Boys Hope, Our Daily Bread (part of Catholic Charities), House of Ruth and the U.S. Marshal’s Office. We strive to find the field opportunity best suited to your interests.

In addition to building a solid foundation for graduate and professional studies in criminology, sociology, social work, anthropology, law, education and planning, the major program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in state, local and national government agencies, human service and social science research organizations.

Skills that employers look for in field placements include:

  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Ability to interact with diverse populations
  • Ability to read and write articulately and analytically
  • Understanding of an respect for the values and workings of the legal system 

Practicum not only affords student real-world experience, but also is an excellent opportunity to network and identify the most satisfying career option for the student. Several criminology majors have been hired directly by their Practicum site or through contacts made while completing their Practicum.