Course Feature: MCJ 600 Criminology

Man holding head in hands

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, criminology is the scientific study of the nonlegal aspects of crime and delinquency, including its causes, correction, and prevention, from the viewpoints of such diverse disciplines as anthropology, biology, psychology and psychiatry, economics, sociology, and statistics. MCJ 600 Criminology explores how knowledge about criminality and antisocial behavior has developed over the last two hundred years. Students study issues and concepts in criminology, how they are applied to criminological theory, and their importance to understanding the present state of crime in society.

All master’s in criminal justice students are required to take MCJ 600 as it’s a foundational course for the program. According to Gretchen Schmidt, faculty program director for the master’s in criminal justice program, the course begins by discussing what crime is, how we know it exists, and how it measured. Students then begin examining why crime exists by focusing on the various theories of crime causation, including biosocial, psychological, sociological, cultural, and political theories. “The main goal of the course is to provide an understanding of how knowledge about criminality and antisocial behavior has developed over the last 200 years,” says Schmidt.

Students have enjoyed the course and have recommended it to others, saying, “I would recommend this course to other students. I learned far more than I expected. The instructor did an outstanding job stimulating thought/analysis throughout the course.” and “This is my first class in the MCJ program and I am excited, as a result of this class, to continue towards my goal.”

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