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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Psychology and Sociology
Course Prefix and Number: SOCI 321
Course Title: Criminology
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Emphasis on sociological theories concerning the nature, sources, control, and prevention of crime. Topics include current trends in U.S. crime rates; media coverage of crimes; patterns of victimization; characteristics of property crimes, violent crimes, drug crimes, corporate crimes, political crimes and vice. Critical examination of current law enforcement and correctional policies and practices. Offered Fall. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Criminology: A Sociological Understanding
By Barkan, Steven (Prentice Hall)
Category/Comments - Core Text
Criminology: Theories, Patterns and Typologies
By Siegel, Larry J. (Cengage)
Category/Comments - Core Text
Criminology: Connecting Theory, Research and Practice
By Chambliss, William and Aida Hass (McGraw-Hill)
Category/Comments - Core Text
Crime and Criminology
By Reid, Sue Titus (McGraw Hill)
Category/Comments - Core Text
Criminology: A Sociological Approach
By Beirne, Piers and James W. Messerschmidt
Category/Comments - Core Text
A Plague of Prisions
By Drucker, Ernest (New Press)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
By Venkatesh, Sudhir (Penguin)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
By Alexander, Michelle (New Press)
Category/Comments - Supplemental text
Our Punitive Society
By Shelden, Randall G.
Category/Comments - Supplemental Text
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the components of different criminological theories.
  2. Articulate the methods used in research on crime.
  3. Explain the factors contributing to violence in society.
  4. Evaluate the merits of various approaches to incarceration.
  5. Evaluate the consequences of the war on drugs.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Current crime trends.
  • Media coverage and the public’s perception of crime.
  • Crime measurement.
  • Individualist theories of crime.
  • Sociological theories of crime.
  • The family and crime.
  • Gender and crime.
  • Violent crime.
  • Property crime.
  • Gangs.
  • The war on drugs.
  • White collar and corporate crime.
  • Law enforcement and prosecution.
  • Corrections.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Yngve Digernes Date: September 1, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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