Texas Tech University

Criminology Concentration for Sociology Majors


Are you interested in studying:

  • Violent crime?
  • Family violence?
  • Gangs?
  • Juvenile Delinquency?
  • School shootings?
  • Mass and serial murder?
  • Substance abuse?
  • Female offending?
  • White-collar and corporate crime?
  • Drug-trafficking?

If so, consider concentrating your sociology major in criminology. Criminology is the scientific study of the making and breaking of laws. Criminology that addresses the area of the making of laws studies what are often called theories of criminalization. They involve the study of why some acts, but not others, come to the attention of authorities, and why some acts, but not others, come to be formally legislated by the state as crimes. Generally, this area addresses whether legal codes or laws benefit society entirely or only some segments of society: those who have the power to decide what is right and wrong. This dimension of criminology attempts to answer questions such as Why is a particular conduct considered illegal? How is it decided, and who makes the decision that such conduct is criminal? How are the resources of the public and state brought to bear against it? Why are some types of individuals arrested more than others?

Criminology that addresses the area of the breaking of laws studies why social and legal norms (laws) are violated. It typically examines social forces such as economics, social conflict, moral justifications and rationalizations for offending, social class, victimization, opportunity to offend, gang membership, and learning theory as causes of crime. This dimension attempts to answer questions such as Why are there differences in rates of crime by certain groups of persons? Why are some individuals more likely than others to commit criminal acts?

Do you know that:

  • The National Crime Survey estimates that 83 percent of Americans will be victims of violent crime at some time in their lives?
  • Three-fourths of all violent acts toward women are never brought to the attention of the criminal justice system?
  • Crime rates have decreased dramatically since the 1970s?
  • Over one-half of the members of the gangs the Bloods and Crips are victims of family violence?
  • Female teenagers are more likely to be arrested for status offenses than male teenagers?
  • That the number of school shootings has decreased over the past 15 years?
  • You are at greater risk of injury or death from unsafe, illegal work conditions and practices than you are from street crime?

Sociology majors who wish to specialize in the study of criminology and receive on their transcripts the notation of criminology concentration are required to complete five three-hours courses (15 hours) with a C grade or better in each course from two groups of courses as specified below.

Core Requirements

Core requirements are designed to provide a general theoretical foundation in criminological theory. The following core courses must be taken: SOC 3327 (Sociology of Law and Policing) and SOC 4325 (Criminology).

Elective Courses

Elective courses focus on specific types of offending or criminalistics. Three elective courses must be taken, to be chosen from among the following: SOC 3335 Family Violence, SOC 3368 Sociology of Deviance, SOC 3383 Alcohol, Drugs and Society, SOC 4307 Individual Studies: Homicide or Women & Crime, SOC 4327 Juvenile Delinquency, ANTH 2305 Introduction to Forensic Anthropology, and ANTH 4343 Human Skeletal Biology and Forensic Techniques.