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Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology & Criminology


Sociology makes for a great area of study if you want to work with people in any field because that’s exactly what sociology is – understanding people and the social worlds in which we live! Learn about people’s motivations, privileges, families, cultures, social constructs, childhood dynamics, the list goes on. Students learn about the multifaceted and intersectional web of the social worlds in which we live. 

Studying sociology and criminology makes for empathetic individuals who can go on to successful careers as social workers, lawyers, health care professionals, educators, and leaders in any field across the globe. 

Sociology students at Peace Walls in NI

Understanding social human behavior is crucial to building impactful solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. [Photo of majors at peace walls in Northern Ireland.]

Sociology & Criminology Major

The major consists of 37 total credit hours, including a shared set of foundational courses, and eight elective major courses. 

Four required courses (13 credits):

SC 1010 Foundations in Sociology

SC 3500 Sociological Research Methods

SC 3510 Sociological Data Analysis and SC 3520 Research Lab

SC 4000 Sociological Theory

Plus, eight elective courses (24 credits)

Of these 8 additional courses, 4 courses (12 cr.) must be at the 3000 or 4000 level. Students may take these eight courses in the four specialized concentrations within the department or simply choose courses of interest.


For details on individual course pre-requisites and the most up-to-date course listings, please see the John Carroll Undergraduate Bulletin

This is recommended for students interested in law, crime, forensics, police work, and restorative justice. Internships are available for seniors, and students will be matched to an internship site based on their career interests. Courses cover challenging, fascinating issues that will help you become a well-rounded professional in whatever you pursue, including topics like Victims of Crime, Prisons and Human Rights, Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence, Drugs and Crime, Social Inequalities in Society, and Forensic Crime Scene Analysis.

If you have a fire for being a changemaker and bringing about system change, this concentration helps you focus on that with respect, perspective, and concrete skills. This is recommended if you are considering a career working in a multicultural setting or graduate study in comparative sociology, ethnic studies, international studies, law, counseling, peace/human rights, or social work. Course topics include: Issues in Social Justice, Social Change, Prejudice and Discrimination; Consumer Culture and Society; Environmental Justice; African American Experience, Sexuality and Sexual Behaviors, and so much more.

The Social Work, Community and Health (SWCH) concentration is recommended if you are interested in a career as a social worker, counseling, community development, public health, public policy, advocacy and other related careers. Internships are required of seniors, and students will be assisted in being matched to an internship site based on their career interests. Coursework includes a choice from a long list of complex sociology topics, including Sociology of the Family, Public Health, Family Violence, Victims of Crime, Poverty, Welfare, and Social Justice In The U.S., and many more relevant, thought-provoking topics.

This concentration is a great foundation for a career in forensic science, law enforcement and criminal justice. Forensics is the application of scientific knowledge to crime scenes and investigations. Courses include both crime scene analysis, as well as a study into criminal justice systems, criminology, and the why behind many criminals’ minds and motivations. 

BA in Sociology & Criminology Highlights

Real Teaching

Your professors will teach research in current social issues, things that affect our everyday – from public health crises like pandemics and the opioid crisis, to the criminal justice system, from prejudice and discrimination (race, gender, sexuality) to the impact of technology on our social worlds. You will learn from a wide range of topics from passionate instructors, blended with a robust year of research methodology and data analysis.

Jobs & Internships

John Carroll sociology/criminology students have pursued internships to gain professional experience in over 75 nonprofit and governmental agencies throughout the Cleveland metropolitan area. Internships in the department are recommended for junior and senior students, who are assisted in finding an internship site based upon their career interests. The Sociology/Criminology department and the JCU Career Center partner with a number of organizations doing exciting work in criminal justice, social work, and health and human services, such as the Cuyahoga Prosecutor’s Office, Catholic Charities, U.S. Marshall Service, United Way, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, Juvenile Court Services.

Experiential Learning

The best way to understand sociology and its impact on the world is by seeing it at work. Many of the courses you take at John Carroll will contain experiential learning components. For example, in the InsideOut: Modern Social Problems prison exchange course, JCU students are “outside students” who learn together with ten “inside students” incarcerated at the Northeast Reintegration Center, a minimum security women's prison in Cleveland. Emphasizing collaboration and dialogue, the semester-long course equipped students to become active problem solvers and engaged citizens. You will also have opportunities to take immersion and study trips abroad, such as the trip to the Belfast Summer Institute in Northern Ireland, where students learn first-hand about conflict transformation and peace-building.

Supportive Faculty & Excellent Advising

The department faculty members are supportive and take the time to get to know each student. Students meet regularly with their Sociology and Criminology faculty advisor to discuss curricular planning, and personal and professional goals.

Megan Sutterluety

Megan Sutterluety, Sociology and Criminology ‘22

Status: Law Student at IU McKinney School of Law

"The Sociology/Criminology program is one of the best parts of JCU! The faculty take the time to get to know each student and build a relationship with them. The connections and opportunities available in the Sociology/Criminology department helps students secure internships, research opportunities, and future jobs. Throughout my time at JCU I gained valuable academic knowledge along with real-world experience all thanks to the Soc/Crim department!"