The Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, & Criminology
What We Do:
The Sociology and Criminal Justice Department is focused on studying the nuances in human interaction. Sociology explores social interactions with individuals, groups and social institutions, while criminal justice explores the system and all actors connected to crime and punishment in society—including offenders, police, courts, and corrections.
How We Stand Out:
- Dedicated faculty with diverse research interests, real-world expertise, and decades of teaching expertise
- Close relationships with local, county and state corrections facilitate internship and employment opportunities for students and graduates
- Located near Scranton’s Courthouse Square, affording easy access to the hub of the local criminal justice system
- Reflect the principles of Catholic and Jesuit higher education, including genuine care for each student and an emphasis on social justice
- Interdisciplinary opportunities for students to tailor their academic program with double majors and/or minors in areas of interest, such as computer science foreign language, accounting, legal studies, or psychology
- Longstanding programs with a tradition of collaboration with other departments
- In February 2016 we earned the distinction of being one of the nine criminal justice undergraduate programs in the United States to obtain certification from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS).
- B.S. in Sociology - Sociology is the science of social interaction
- B.S. in Criminal Justice - Criminal Justice is the study of federal, state, and local agencies and personnel that work in law enforcement, courts, and corrections
- Minor in Sociology
- New Applied Sociology Minor - Applied sociology refers to when practitioners use sociological theories and methods outside of a university setting in order to answer research questions or problems for specific clientele or to promote social change.
- Minor in Criminal Justice
- Minor in Criminology
Meet Our Faculty:
Our faculty includes both real-world practitioners and accomplished academics. Since required courses are taught by full-time faculty members, they get to know every student in the program by senior year. In addition to this focus on instruction, the faculty is also involved in extensive scholarship. Faculty research explores police and the community, white-collar crime, international justice and patterns of human interactions in urban settings. For example:
Dr. Michael Jenkins is a subject expert on innovation in policing and community problem-solving policing.
Professor David Friedrichs has traveled the world presenting his research on white-collar crime. He was Visiting Professor of Criminology at Stockholm University in 2013, and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Western Australia in 2014.
Dr. Harry Dammer conducts research on prisons around the world and the practice of religion in correctional settings.
Dr. Megan Rich studies race, class and social change in urban neighborhoods.
Dr. James Roberts
Dr. Harry Dammer
Dr. Loreen Wolfer
Dr. Meghan Ashlin Rich
Inside the Classroom:
Students in our sociology and criminal justice programs receive a solid foundation of theory from faculty who are in tune with the latest research, technologies, and trends in their respective fields. Our small class sizes and personal attention from faculty help create an intimate, productive learning environment. Classroom instruction is complemented by numerous opportunities to apply theories in the field through internships and service-learning opportunities. In addition to their sociology or criminal justice curriculum, students gain a firm grounding in the liberal arts that empowers them to excel at critical thinking, writing, speaking, and research, as well as attaining a cross-cultural competency that will serve them well in diverse settings.
Internships, available to students in their junior and senior years, offer invaluable experience that can bring concepts and theories to life. Students can sample potential careers, build their resumes, and learn new skills. Sociology majors have recently interned at organizations such as:
- Family Court of Lackawanna County
- United Neighborhood Centers
- Scranton Counseling Center
- Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
- Lackawanna County Bureau of Children and Youth Services
- Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania
- Regional Hospital Social Service Department
- American Red Cross
- United Way of Lackawanna County
- Catholic Social Services of Lackawanna County
Criminal justice students have completed internships in settings such as:
- District Attorney’s office
- Federal court administrator’s office
- State and municipal police agencies
- Private security
- Drug and rehabilitation services
- Federal probation
- U.S. Marshals
- U.S. Secret Service
- County and state prisons
- Juvenile court
Faculty-mentored Student Research:
The diverse expertise of our professors results in a wide range of faculty-mentored research opportunities for students. Here are some examples:
Dr. Loreen Wolfer, professor of sociology and criminal justice, is conducting research about behavior on Facebook. The study addresses determining at what point different types of posts are deemed inappropriate by Facebook users and why.
Dr. James Roberts collaborates with students to research bouncers and barroom aggression.
You’ll find Scranton sociology and criminal justice graduates working in diverse fields such as:
- Public Health
- Law Enforcement
- Human Services
- Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing
Our criminal justice graduates also continue their studies at institutions including:
- Catholic University
- Dickinson College
- Georgetown University
- New York University
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice
- Seton Hall University
- University of Dayton
- William and Mary University
Criminal justice is one of the fastest growing areas of employment in the nation. Employers of Scranton graduates from the criminal justice program include:
- Federal Probation
- U.S. Marshals
- U.S. Department of Defense
- Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General
- U.S. District Court
- U.S. Secret Service
- Pennsylvania State Police