The Criminology program is housed in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies in the Department of Social Science. The program admitted its first undergraduate students in the autumn of 2003. The program curriculum consists of a series of core program courses, as well as a number of external courses offered by academic units across the Faculty and University.
The program curriculum includes 42 credits in core program courses, including:
- A 1000-level Introduction to Criminology course, which critically investigates processes that define criminality; the relationship between control and consent; the administration of “justice,” and the social contexts within which legal contests occur. It introduces students to critical and contemporary approaches as well as mainstream/traditional explanations;
- a 2000-level research methods course, which provides students with a general introduction to both qualitative and quantitative research methods in social research;
- a 2000-level course on criminological theory, which introduces students to competing theories of criminology and the history of criminology as a field of study. Biological, psychological and sociological theories of crime are compared and contrasted, as well as contemporary theories including symbolic interactionism and critical criminology;
- a 2000-level course which examines selected practices within the criminal justice system, exploring issues from a combined historical, sociological and legal perspective;
- a 3000-level course examines theory and research on regulation and policing. Attention is paid to the roles of both state and non-state agencies, institutions, and professions in regulating subjectivities and bodies;
- a 3000-level course examines theory and research on punishment. Attention is paid to the roles of state and non-state agencies, institutions, and professions in punishing subjectivities and bodies;
- a 4000-level honours seminar, in which students engage in an in-depth analysis of a particular topic or theme relevant to criminology. The focus of the course will vary from year to year, depending upon student and faculty interest in specific topics.
Criminology is a field of critical interdisciplinary inquiry that focuses on the analysis of crime, criminality, social control and regulation, and the criminal justice system. Interdisciplinary in nature, the theoretical and methodological approaches central to Criminology are complemented by a number of disciplines, including anthropology, history, political science, sociology, philosophy, and psychology. While interdisciplinarity is a vital feature of criminological analysis, Criminology is a well-established and discrete scholarly realm in its own right, with canons of core texts, distinct academic associations, scholarly journals, undergraduate and graduate programs at many universities in Canada and elsewhere.
The program’s interdisciplinary approach is reflected, first of all, in complementary relationships with other academic disciplines, including the use of courses offered by these disciplines as part of the criminology curriculum. This interdisciplinary approach is also evident in the design of the core program courses, each of which draw on a range of disciplines relevant to the specific topics or focus.
All Criminology majors are required to complete the program core, which is designed to ensure that each student has a firm grounding in the basics of criminology. In general, the emphasis of the program core is on the complexities of institutional arrangements and legal procedures, including the theoretical and methodological challenges of studying these arrangements and procedures. While each core course focuses on a specific area or topic central to criminology, an underlying analysis of how crime, criminality, and the criminal justice system have been constructed, represented and administered legally, politically, economically and culturally provides students with a coherent and developmental thread that runs throughout the core. The program core will not only provide students with a thorough grounding in the history, debates, issues, and critiques of the field, graduates of the program will also develop the critical skills that are essential to continued success in graduate and professional school, as well as employment in the public and private sectors.
Depending upon their degree option – Honours BA; Honours Double Major BA; Honours Major/Minor BA (with Criminology being the Major) – students in the program are also required to complete a specified number of credits chosen from an ‘extended’ list of program courses. The list of program courses is made up of courses offered by various academic units, each of which has been selected because its content addresses topics, issues and concerns relevant to criminology. The wide range of program courses provides students with the opportunity to explore particular strands of criminology based on their individual interests.