The Department of Sociology and Criminology offers a traditional sociology major and the option to concentrate in criminology. The concentration in criminology offers students opportunities to learn criminological perspectives and concepts, conduct research, serve the community, and do internships. We prepare students for a variety of careers related to criminal justice, crime prevention and intervention, or advocacy, or for graduate or law school.

The study of criminology at Valparaiso University is situated within the broader liberal arts tradition that strives to foster social awareness and a global perspective. We encourage students to think sociologically and conscientiously about issues related to crime, law, and the justice system. The specific skills we help students develop include the ability to:     

  • apply critical and abstract reasoning,

  • scrutinize and understand theory and research,

  • communicate clearly both orally and in writing,

  • make informed decisions regarding crime and justice issues in the community.

In our criminology courses, we invite students to consider theories about why individuals engage in delinquent and criminal behavior, the structure of the justice system, and the ways in which social structure influences both involvement in crime and the functioning of the justice system. For example, we examine how race and gender influence responses to crime by the police and courts, how social class is related to crime, and the origin and impact of social policies (such as gun control) and punitive practices (such as imprisonment).


The criminology concentration requires an internship. Our students do internships with a wide variety of local, state, and federal agencies such as police departments, juvenile detention centers, prisons, the prosecutor’s office, adult and juvenile probation departments, and crime prevention and intervention agencies.

The Criminology Club allows those interested in criminology and criminal justice the opportunity to gather with other students who share a mutual interest in the field of study, and meet professionals working in criminal justice fields.   More...