Dec 01, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Criminal Justice Major

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Department of Sociology

Department Chair: Debra Lemke, Ph.D.


McDaniel College offers a criminal justice major embedded in Sociology which is consistent with best practices in the field and is superior to other models due to its comprehensive understanding of crime, its causes, and its impact on society. By retaining the essential place of sociology in the criminal justice major, students gain a holistic perspective that enables them to address the complex nature of criminal behavior.

Sociology provides a solid foundation for studying crime by examining the social structures, cultural norms, and inequalities that contribute to criminal activity and inform punishment. Students explore the larger societal context in which crime occurs and learn to analyze relevant social factors. This broader understanding allows criminal justice majors to develop effective strategies for prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation that consider the root causes of criminal behavior.

Embedding the criminal justice major within sociology puts critical thinking and research skills at the center of the student experience. Sociological methodologies emphasize data analysis, empirical research, and the examination of social patterns. Applying these tools to criminal justice prepares students can evaluate policies, identify systemic issues, and propose evidence-based solutions.

This fundamental approach to the criminal justice major prepares students for a wide range of career paths. Graduates possess a deep understanding of crime and its sociological underpinnings, making them well-equipped for roles in law enforcement, corrections, policymaking, community advocacy, and research.

Overall, a criminal justice major embedded in sociology offers a superior model as it combines a nuanced understanding of crime with the analytical tools and research methodologies of sociology. This approach empowers graduates to tackle the multifaceted challenges of the criminal justice system with comprehensive knowledge, critical thinking skills, and a commitment to social justice.


Students wishing to double major in Criminal Justice and Sociology can only double count SOC 1104, 3105, and 4104.
Students wishing to major in Sociology and minor in Criminal Justice can only double count SOC 1104.
Students wishing to major in Criminal Justice and minor in Sociology can only double count SOC 1104.
Students wishing to minor in both Criminal Justice and Sociology can only double count SOC 1104.

Regarding SOC 1103 transfer credit. Students who receive transfer credit for SOC 1103 cannot receive credit for SOC 1104. SOC 1103 will serve as a prerequisite for all upper division SOC classes but does NOT equate to SOC 1104 due to the International Nonwestern tag that SOC 1104 carries. Should a student take SOC 1104 at McDaniel, the previously awarded transfer credit will be removed.


Pick 2 Courses: SOC 2000/3000 Level Electives (excluding internships and independent studies)

Total Credit Hours: 44

Departmental Writing:

After successfully completing both Sociology 3105 and 4104, notated by the # symbol, students will fulfill the Departmental Writing requirement.

Requirements for Departmental Honors

To receive departmental honors, Criminal Justice students must:

  •     have at least a 3.50 GPA;
  •     satisfy departmental requirements;
  •     be recommended by the Department.

 See the Department Chair for more specific requirements.

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