The discipline of criminal justice involves the scientific study of crime and criminality, other forms of social deviance, and the official response to crime by law enforcement, the criminal courts and the corrections system. Our mission in criminal justice at Towson University is to enhance understanding of the relationship between liberty and order in a democracy, the processes and causes of crime and deviance that are part of society, and the ways society and the state exercise social control to maintain legal, moral and social order. Students in criminal justice learn a sociological and anthropological approach to the study of crime and justice related issues, as well as an appreciation for the contributions of other disciplines in the liberal arts and behavioral sciences. Our students are exposed to important critical thinking and methodological skills for analyzing data on and for addressing problems related to crime and its control. We seek to provide the humanistic foundation for successful careers in areas such as policing, probation, parole, juvenile justice, victim services, private and public security, and the helping professions and/or for advanced academic study in law, justice studies, or criminal justice administration or policy among other options.
The Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice offers an undergraduate major degree in sociology-anthropology (called SOAN), with a choice of three different concentrations for study: sociology, anthropology, or criminal justice. All students in the major are exposed to social science methods and perspectives needed to understand culture and society. Then within each discipline, students learn valuable content knowledge and also develop important problem solving, critical thinking, interpretive, and analytical skills. At the time they declare the major, each student selects and specifies a concentration of study. Each concentration consists of a specialized and distinct curriculum. Students complete the SOAN major by completing any of the three concentrations. To meet the requirements for the SOAN major with a concentration in sociology or anthropology, a minimum of 39 units of study are required, and 21 of these units must be completed at Towson University. To complete the requirements for the SOAN major with a concentration in criminal justice, a minimum of 42 units of study are required, and 24 of these units must be completed at Towson University. A grade of “C” or better must also be earned in all major courses. Currently the department consists of about 50 full and part time faculty with approximately 650 majors distributed across our three concentrations.
Criminal Justice concentration
Students receive an academic background that is directly relevant to a career or further education in law enforcement, crime measurement and analysis, criminal or family law, substance abuse prevention, social work, rehabilitation counseling, mediation and conflict resolution, juvenile justice, corrections, probation, parole, homeland security, victim assistance, jury consulting, corporate security, or other areas related to crime prevention and control or public safety. Recent examples of positions in agencies or work settings obtained by graduates in criminal justice include, but are not limited to:
In addition, students who major in the department often pursue advanced education and careers in other related fields such as social work, mental health, education, gerontology, or medical care management.
Double or Combined Major Options
Students who would like to combine the study of sociology or anthropology with geopgraphy or psychology may choose a double or combined major option involving these disciplines, with a concentration in either sociology or anthropology. Either double major allows students to pursue an integrated curriculum of two majors that requires fewer units than the pursuit of the two majors separately. Further information can be obtained from the Undergraduate Catalog or from either of the sponsoring departments. Ask specifically about the combined double major options. There is no combined or condensed double major option available at this time for students in the criminal justice concentration.
Currently the department offers minors in the disciplines of sociology or anthropology, but there is no minor available in the study of criminal justice. Both minors require the completion of a minimum of 24 units of study, or eight courses total. To meet the requirements for either minor, 15 units or five courses total must be taken at Towson University, 12 units must be upper level (300 or higher) courses, and a grade of “C” or better must be earned in all minor courses. Many students interested in the study of criminal justice can complete either the sociology or anthropology minor and select varied crime content courses as their electives. This is a popular option among students.