Undergraduate Programs

Program Requirements

Students who complete the major requirements for a bachelor of arts (BA) in criminal justice will be prepared to think critically about the problems of crime and justice and to enter the law enforcement field.

Major Requirements (BA)

Course descriptions for all SOC courses are available at the bottom of this page.

Required prerequisites (12 semester hours)

  • American Government (POGO 1600)
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1910)
  • Introductory Statistics (STAT 1490)

36 semester hours (sh) of major courses:

  • Required core sociology courses (32 sh) — SOC 2090, 2100, 3030, 3200, 3330, 3400, 3450, 3500, 3900, 3950
  • Required politics and government course (4 sh) —POGO 2520

Optional electives for additional credit:

  • Sociology courses — SOC 2800, 2930, 4000, 4910, 4970
  • Politics and government courses — POGO 3600, 4970
  • Conflict transformation studies course — CTS 3000


  • A minimum of 18 sh at the 2000 level or higher in the major must be taken at North Park.
  • Some sociology courses specific to criminal justice are taught in the School of Adult Learning in an intensive format. All courses meet for 7 weeks (1 quad), once each week, typically in the evenings.
  • Honors: To earn departmental honors in criminal justice, you must submit a research proposal before the end of the spring semester of their third year. If accepted, you must complete 8 sh of SOC 4000 or POGO 4920 in addition to the major requirements.

Minor Requirements

20 semester hours (sh); choose from:

  • POGO 2520; SOC 3200, 3330, 3400, 3450, 3900, 3950

Course Descriptions

Click on the links below for course descriptions of all sociology courses. For a complete list of all North Park’s programs and course offerings, review the academic catalog.

Problems, fields, and methods of sociology. Emphasis on a theoretical frame of reference to explain basic social processes, the role of culture in social behavior, the nature of social organization, and social and cultural change. Intensive reading in descriptive studies from a wide range of societies.

Characteristics and definitions of race and ethnicity in various cultures and societies. Significance for cultural pluralism.

A variety of social issues have assumed enough prominence to be labeled "problems". This course is intended to provide the student with a conceptual framework within which to examine social problems. Emphasis will be on issues such as poverty, crime and punishment, affordable housing, education and deviance.

A multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Mexico from pre-Colombian societies to the present. Taught in English. Cross-listed with SPAN 2130.

Exploration of male and female gender roles in culture and society. Importance of gender in workplace, family, education, and belief systems. Analysis of power. Assessment of the contribution of feminist theories to study of gender. Cross-listed with WGS 2150.

This course, utilizing the disciplines of history, sociology, and anthropology, will present, discuss, and analyze the African-American experience from pre-slavery West Africa to contemporary U.S., with particular emphasis on current cultural, theological, social, economic, and political issues that exist within the African-American community. Cross-listed with AS 2500.

An overview of the criminal justice system in the United States emphasizing key issues in the process of arrest through trial and sentencing and imprisonment, an analysis of the roles of the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and courts, and the various theories of punishment and crime causation. Representative Supreme Court decisions in the law of arrest, right to counsel, capital punishment, search and seizure, and self-incrimination will be analyzed.

Emphasizes the period from 1954 through the 1970s as a time of social turmoil and change in American society during which African-Americans insisted on inclusion in the nation's mainstream and power in their own right. Employs social movement theory in examining the history, progress, and effects of the Civil Rights Movement in general and in studying such organizations as the NAACP and such leaders as Martin Luther King in particular. Cross-listed with AS 3030.

The family is an important social institution that profoundly affects us. This course is designed to study the diversity of families and explore the historical changes in marriage patterns. Topics covered include dating and mate selection, family structures, marital satisfaction, parenting, divorce and remarriage, alternative lifestyles, and the diversity of meaning that the institution has in the United States and cross-culturally.

Initiatives to establish community are what make the United States what it is today. This class explores how voluntary association, the visions of utopian planners, and the networking of migrants and minorities have all contributed to this country's political and spatial peculiarities. It also asks students to consider whether "community" is still possible today, and, if so, at what cost? Through service learning excursions, students will get their own answers to these questions.

Intensive investigation of a selected topic of current interest in sociology. The specific subject matter may vary from year to year, reflecting the interests of both faculty and students. The courses are designed for all students and are taught at an introductory level.

Critical examination of the theoretical foundations of the study of society and culture. Historical evolution of social and anthropological thought as well as contemporary analysis. Required of all students majoring in sociology.

90% of urbanization taking place today is in the developing world-Latin America, Africa, and Asia. How can Western classical theories of urbanization developed in the 19th and 20th Centuries inform contemporary experiences of migration, individualism, social control, social movements, and redevelopment in non-Western countries in the 21st Century Lectures, reading and case studies from local authors provide ample opportunity for cross-cultural comparisons.

Examination of class, status, and power; their origin, change, and interrelationship with other aspects of society; societal distribution of resources and rewards. Analysis of forces influencing individual and group mobility.

Relationship of culture and society to religion. Analysis of social, political, and economic forces with religious belief, expression, and practice.

Applied to America's system of schooling, justice as an ideal has inspired a meritocratic system, and justice as a goal has offered up education as "the great equalizer." Yet these related pursuits have, arguably, proven illusory. Sociologists, educators, students, and other concerned citizens continue to tweak our existing systems, to correct for past disadvantages, to achieve new notions of justice. Through lectures, readings, fieldtrips, and service-learning, this course follows developments in education, with an eye on what are our ideals, and what it means to fail at achieving them.

Review of the historical and contemporary structure, philosophical underpinnings, and administration of adult corrections in the United States. Emphasis is placed on the purpose and goals of the correctional system and the critical issues and problems facing it today. Major topics include discussion of the various philosophies of punishment, sentencing strategies, and the prison community. The social, political, and economic impact on correctional services, such as boot camps, sentencing reform, overcrowding, community-based alternatives, punishment versus rehabilitation debates, and reintegration are explored. Cross listed with CJ 3200. Enrollment limited to Criminal Justice majors or permission of instructor or department chair.

What does it mean to be modern? This course explores the political and social dynamics of creating a modern state in China and Japan in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Focusing on historic initiatives that led to each society's transformation, we examine the push for industrialization, nationhood and the ideal citizen. Readings draw on the perspectives of ordinary people responding to state-sponsored social change.

Who fights for change? Why? And how? Answers tend to vary with historical circumstance. Increasingly today we find trans-border problem solving to deal with problems that cross borders-problems like environmental degradation, migrant rights, and criminal or health issues. This course looks at the transformation of old and the emergence of new institutions as people try not only to cope but realize their vision of a "just" society.

The contemporary juvenile justice system is analyzed from historical and philosophical perspectives. An overview of the procedures, structures, and treatment of juvenile offenders are provided as well as an exploration of the purpose and primary operations of juvenile detention and probation services. Further emphasis is placed on the nature and extent of delinquency, theories of causation, current trends, prevention, problem solving, and the delivery of services to this population. Students compare and contrast different approaches and future trends in juvenile justice among countries within and outside of the United States. Cross listed with CJ 3300. Enrollment limited to Criminal Justice majors or permission of instructor or department chair.

An overview of the structure of the United States court system, sources of individuals' rights and the constitutional limitations on the prohibition of criminal conduct will provide a foundation for this study of criminal procedural law. This course will examine the legal continuum from the initial search and seizure of a suspect, to the arrest and interrogation, pre-trial process, criminal trial, sentencing and punishment, and appeal and post-conviction rules. Cross-listed with CJ 3400. Enrollment limited to Criminal Justice majors or permission of instructor or department chair.

Study of dynamics of immigrants, adaptation, intercultural acculturation, education of next generations, family life, interracial marriage, ethnic conflict with business, religion, economic, and political functions.

Provides with an overview of criminal law with an emphasis on the major crimes to include offenses against: the person, habitation, property, public morality, alcohol and drug offenses, and white collar and organized crime. The course will explore an individual's liability for criminal conduct, criminal responsibility or intent, and the circumstances that may modify the individual's responsibility for a criminal act. Special defenses to criminal acts will also be discussed. Cross-listed with CJ 3500. Enrollment limited to Criminal Justice majors or permission of instructor or department chair.

An introduction to the logic of scientific inquiry and its implication for social research. Research strategy, definition of research goals, methods of data collection, and analysis. Required of all students majoring in sociology.

Global Village or Global Pillage? Focusing on the experiences of the United States and China, this class provides a theoretical framework and historical perspective to understanding globalization as both an economic and cultural process. Lectures, reading and case studies of local responses to globalization illustrate how this process reorders, integrates and transforms societies.

Application of the fundamental theories and principles related to the professional management and administration of law enforcement agencies. The basic management concepts of police administration and forms of police organization are analyzed and evaluated. Examines specific operational functions such as budgeting, personnel, planning, technology, and productivity measurements. Designed to assist students in developing the ability to interpret and implement complex policy such as homeland security into their professional practice. Cross-listed with CJ 4000. Enrollment limited to Criminal Justice majors or permission of instructor or department chair.

Hands-on and practical, this class introduces students to the qualitative methods of research such as observation and interview as students support Chicago institutions through service learning. Team work around common interests, learning outside the classroom, and application of existing talents and skills sets this course apart. Required of all students majoring in sociology, but not limited to sociology majors.

An in-depth analysis of the key principles and concepts critical to the practical application of restorative justice. Acknowledges that crime causes injury to people and communities and that restorative justice seeks healing, wholeness, and reconciliation for all parties. Introduces the student to a variety of established restorative methods such as family/group conferencing, victim/offender mediation, and peace making circles. Cross-listed with CJ 4200. Enrollment limited to Criminal Justice majors or permission of instructor or department chair.

Prospective students must submit a research proposal two weeks prior to the last day of the spring semester of their third year. To graduate with Departmental Honors in Sociology a student must successfully complete 8 semester hours of SOC 4000 in addition to their major requirements.

Directed research will integrate students' knowledge in sociology. The research project will facilitate use of students' reasoning and writing skills and their insights of sociology. Required of all students majoring in sociology. The sociology comprehensive examination is administered in conjunction with SOC 4010.

Comprehensive examination of major requirements.

Self-directed study of material not covered in an existing course. Requires pre-approval by faculty of proposed course topic, reading list, learning activities, and tools of evaluation.

Please refer to the internship section of the catalog for internship requirements and guidelines.