Undergraduate Course Descriptions
101. The Criminal Justice System (Required)
This course provides an overview of the development and operations of the US criminal justice system. Attention will be focused on law enforcement, judicial organization, and correctional processes. The course will also consider the nature and extent of crime and will survey main theories of criminal behavior.
201. Theories of Criminal Behavior (Required)
This course will provide a detailed examination of past and present theories of criminal behavior, placing them in a socio-historical context and exploring their policy and practical implications.
202. Criminal Courts (Required)
This course provides students with an overview of state and federal criminal courts and case processing, including the study of prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, jury decision-making, plea bargaining, and sentencing.
203. Policing (Required)
The course examines the nature and purpose of policing in American society. Topical areas include the urban police function, contemporary U.S. police systems, principles of police organization and administration, basic operational methodology, and efforts to professionalize police agencies.
204. Corrections (Required)
This course examines the history, functions, and processes of corrections. The primary focus is institutional corrections and its evolution based on philosophies of retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. The role and influence of community correctional practices and policy on institutional corrections are also covered.
205. Research Methods (Required)
An introduction to the logic and basic concepts of social research, with an emphasis on both basic and applied research within criminal justice and criminology. The course provides a basic conceptual framework for designing, conducting, interpreting, and evaluating social research.
206. Criminal Justice Statistics
An introduction to the basic concepts and techniques of statistical analysis, with an emphasis on the study of delinquency, crime, and program evaluation within the criminal justice system.
302. The Juvenile Justice System
This course will examine the history, theories, policies, and practices of the juvenile justice system. It will also include a discussion of diversion programs, child maltreatment, and gang behavior.
308. Collective Action: Police Response to Protests, Riots, and Disasters
This course explores theories of collective behavior and action, and law enforcement responses to protest, riots, disasters, and threats to social order.
310. Contemporary Police Issues
This course will examine the interrelationship among crime, the media, the criminal justice system, and other forms of popular culture. Topics include media representations of crime and criminal justice, social media, and the social construction of myths about crime and the criminal justice system.
312. Popular Culture and the Criminal Justice System
This course will examine the interrelationship among crime, popular culture, and the media. Topics include media representations of crime and criminal justice, social media, and the social construction of myths about crime and the criminal justice system, including those related to “super-predators,” the deterrent effect of the death penalty, the war on drugs and crime, and the “CSI Effect.”
322. Criminal Law (Required/or CRMJ 323)
This course is an introduction to the principles underlying the definition, constitutionality, and application of criminal laws. It includes the analysis of court decisions regarding various state and federal crimes, and the rules of individual responsibility and accountability for those crimes.
323. Criminal Procedure (Required/or CRMJ 322)
This course provides an in-depth coverage of procedures and constitutional issues surrounding criminal investigations, stops, searches, seizures, arrests, interrogations, and lineups.
330. Written Communication in Criminal Justice
This course is designed to introduce students to the different ways of writing and critical thinking in criminal justice. Topics will vary, but may include writing summaries of empirical studies, personal opinion pieces, personal statements, and literature reviews; how to use the library and internet to assist in writing assignments; and writing from a social science perspective.
338. Community-Based Corrections
This course examines the history, purpose, and functioning of probation and parole as well as other aspects of community-based supervision, including: pre-trial supervision, electronic monitoring, house arrest/home detention, day reporting centers, and other programs that provide both supervision and treatment of offenders in the community.
346. Mental Illness and Crime
This course explores the relationship of mental illness to crime and violence. Topics include the nature, prevalence, and consequences of mental disorder, substance use, and violence among criminal offenders, violence risk assessment, and the institutional and other treatments for the mentally ill offender.
351. Organized Crime
This course offers an introduction to the study of organized crime in U.S. society. Emphasis is given to the history and development of traditional organized crime in Chicago. Emerging organized crime groups are also studied. In addition, this course offers an introduction to the concept of transnational organized crime.
This course examines the historical development of urban street gangs with a view toward understanding their structure, characteristics, purposes, and activities. Particular emphasis is given to the history and development of street gangs in Chicago.
353. White Collar Crime
This is a study of non-traditional crime engaged in by governmental and corporate entities, and persons in the “white collar” professions. It includes state political crimes, corporate violence and abuse of power, as well as occupational, financial, and environmental crimes, and enforcement of laws against such crimes.
360. Substance Use and Crime
This course will explore whether substance use is related to crime, the effect of drug trafficking on communities, the policies aimed at controlling drug use and their effectiveness, as well as the implications of current drug policies and practices on communities and on the criminal justice system itself.
365. Guns and Crime
This course provides a comprehensive overview of issues associated with firearms in the United States, including their use in the commission and prevention of crime, patterns of ownership and acquisition, and the form and effectiveness of various attempts to control access to firearms and gun-related violence.
370. Women in the Criminal Justice System
The course examines four areas relative to women in the criminal justice system: the historical view of female criminality; women as defendants in criminal cases and women in prison; women as victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; and women as professionals in the system (police officers, attorneys, judges, correctional officers).
This course examines the scientific study of victimization, the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system, and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions.
372. Race, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice (AASP 372, PLSC 372)
This course examines current research and theoretical perspectives related to race and ethnicity in crime and in criminal justice processing. It will cover such issues as racial profiling, the effects of drug laws on people of color, minority disenfranchisement from the criminal justice system, and crime and immigration.
373. Intimate Partner Violence
This course will address the nature and scope of intimate partner violence, the factors that contribute to it as well as the theories that have been developed to explain it. Attention will be paid to society’s responses to intimate partner violence.
376. Child Sexual Exploitation
This course introduces students to the theoretical and empirical literatures relating to child abuse, child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The course will include a strong global component as well as an examination of efforts to prevent and intervene in this social problem.
380. Introduction to Forensic Sciences
This course introduces students to the basic principles and uses of forensic science. The techniques, skills, advances and limitations of the modern crime laboratory are presented. Prior knowledge or background in the forensic sciences is not required.
390. Capstone Experience Internship
This course is a field placement for junior or senior standing criminal justice majors or minors whose academic performance is deemed to be adequate for placement. Field placements are provided with one of many cooperating law, law enforcement, corrections, or related offices or agencies. The course satisfies the CORE Civic Engagement requirement. (Prerequisite: Internship director’s approval required; major or minor in criminal justice, with junior or senior standing, having completed at least four courses in the major/minor).
395. Special Topics
The content of this course varies in each semester. Examples of subjects include Advanced Topics in Policing; Law and Society; Sexual Violence; Computer Crime; History of Crime in Chicago; Criminal Sentencing Policy; Famous Criminal Trials; International Criminal Justice; and Politics and Policies of Mass Incarceration. Students may take up to four such courses.
396. Independent Study
Students in this course will engage in research and/or readings on a criminal justice topic with the approval and guidance of a criminal justice faculty member. (Instructor and Chairperson's prior approval is required.)
399. Senior Capstone Course
This course is a culmination of the student’s study of crime and criminal justice issues. It consists of projects aimed at integrating theory, knowledge, and research in the context of a variety of contemporary criminal justice problems, issues, and policies. (Prerequisite: senior standing and completion of six CRMJ courses).