Jun 17, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Criminology and Justice Studies, B.A.

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Program of Study

The Criminology and Justice Studies major is offered through the Sociology Department. This major draws on the intellectual traditions of sociology and critical criminology to understand the social correlates of crime and justice. The major provides students with a theoretical and practical foundation for building a lifelong understanding of crime and social justice and the myriad social processes surrounding both. Students majoring in Criminology and Justice Studies will be able to evaluate critically issues of crime and justice and to pursue solutions for positive social change. The degree also provides students with the requisite skills for graduate study and/or entry-level practice in the areas of social justice, administration of justice, and criminal justice systems.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Our primary aim is to help students acquire the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to make sense of issues of criminology and social justice in an increasingly complex world. We want our graduates to be able to use the key insights and analytic methods of criminology, justice studies, and sociology to improve the social conditions in which they and others coexist. We expect holders of a California State University San Marcos bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Justice Studies to be able to address large- and small-scale social problems through constructive empirical inquiry, critical analysis, and strategic action. The Criminology and Justice Studies major curriculum cultivates the theoretical, methodological, and advocacy skills integral to meeting these goals. 

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Justice Studies will be able to:

  1. Analyze and interpret the diversity of social experience associated with criminology and social justice issues, especially as they relate to race, class, gender, age, sexual preference, religion and nationality.
  2. Assess competing theoretical approaches to criminology and social justice issues of publics with differing and multiple interests; specify structural or institutional sources of these criminology and social justice issues; and propose and assess policies, interventions and/or modes of advocacy that will enact positive change.
  3. Locate, analyze, assess, and communicate criminology and social justice scholarship.
  4. Articulate the applicability of and demonstrate ability to employ a range of research strategies to particular research questions, theoretical orientations, and social contexts.
  5. Articulate the ethical and social justice implications of criminology and justice studies.

Core Coursework

All students majoring in Criminology and Justice Studies complete a series of required preparatory and core courses that build proficiency in each of the learning objectives listed above. The required courses include:

  • an introduction to justice studies (SOC 105 : Addressing learning objectives 1, 2, 3, and 5);
  • an introduction to statistics for the social sciences (SOC 201  or its equivalent: Addressing learning objectives 1 and 4);
  • a survey of the social correlates of inequality (SOC 311  or SOC 313  or SOC 315 : Addressing learning objectives 1, 2, and 5);
  • a foundational survey of criminological theory and research (SOC 325 : Addressing learning objectives 1, 2, 3, and 5);
  • an upper-division course on quantitative sociological research methods (SOC 360 : Addressing learning objectives 1 and 4);
  • an upper-division survey of criminal justice systems and criminal law (SOC 442 : Addressing learning objectives 1, 2, 3, and 4);
  • a senior-level capstone experience in community service (SOC 495 : Addressing learning objectives 1, 3, and 5).

Career Opportunities

The degree prepares students to pursue careers in criminal justice and social service agencies, as well as graduate study in such fields as criminology, law, criminal justice, and justice studies. Students with a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Justice Studies can pursue a wide variety of job opportunities which include government as well as community service agencies geared toward youth and families, law enforcement and correctional agencies, and non-profit organizations that examine social and legal justice practices both at home and abroad. Students interested in these careers should consult with advisors in appropriate areas as they plan their studies.

Double Major Requirements

Students wishing to combine studies in Criminology and Justice Studies with Sociology should be aware that it is possible to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts with double majors in these two fields. Please see Double Major Requirements under Academic Regulations and Catalog Rights  and Graduation Requirements  for more details.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Justice Studies

Each course counted toward the major must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. A minimum of 18 units of the major must be completed at Cal State San Marcos.

Opportunities for Concentrated Study

Each student majoring in Criminology and Justice Studies must choose a concentration area in which to pursue more focused instruction around a key thematic area. While gaining an in-depth understanding in a particular content area, students also further develop the key skills and knowledge encompassed by our general learning objectives. We offer two areas of concentrated study:

  • Crime and Justice
  • Communities, Inequalities, and Justice

The requirements for each area of concentrated study are described below.

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Preparation for the Major (7 Units)

Language Proficiency (0-9 Units)

All Criminology & Justice Studies majors must meet a second-language proficiency requirement. This is satisfied with a 200-level class or demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English. For details on how to satisfy this requirement, please refer to Language Proficiency Requirement  .

Breadth Requirement (3 Units)

Additional course in Upper Division Social Sciences (DD designated) outside the major. This requirement can also count as the DD requirement in Upper Division General Education, but it must be taken in a Social Science other than Sociology or Criminology & Justice Studies. Any course carrying the DD designation outside of Sociology or Criminology & Justice Studies can be used to fulfill this requirement. If students choose to satisfy their UDGE DD with a course outside the major, the breadth requirement will become 3 free elective units.

Major Requirements (35-36 Units)


Area Requirements (15-16 Units)

Take at least four (4) units in each area (Area 1 and Area 2).  Take at least 6-8 units of 400-level in a single area (either Area 1 or Area 2). Total number of units from both areas must be at least 15.

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective credits to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120

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