Sociology and Criminology courses are divided into three levels.
Level I courses are designed to give students a broad overview of sociology. These courses typically expose the student to many different sociological topics and are taught at the introductory level.
SOC 110: Introduction to Sociology (3 Cr.)
The analysis of the major institutions, structures, and processes of American society as well as an introduction to the basic theoretical and methodological approaches of the discipline. Normally offered every semester.
SOC 130: The Criminal Justice System (3 Cr.)
A survey of the operations, functions, and interactions of the police, the courts, and correction agencies; that is, formal organizations of social control. Field trips and observation of selected agencies may be scheduled. Normally offered every semester.
Level II courses focus on one broad sociological topic and provide information about fundamental concepts and theoretical approaches used within sociology. No prerequisites.
SOC 210: Contemporary Social Problems (3 Cr.)
Sociological perspectives are applied to the identification, explanation, and analysis of social problems in American society and in selected world societies. Course content focuses on: 1) examining the major institutions of society — the family, economy, and polity — and how they can perpetuate social problems; and 2) examining inequalities based on class, race, and gender. Specific topics can include poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, drug abuse, crime, juvenile delinquency, and violence. May be used to fulfill the cultural diversity course component of the general-education requirements. Normally offered during the summer.
SOC 220: The Family (3 Cr.)
A study of the family as a basic social unit and institution, with emphasis on the various forms and functions of the family. Special consideration is given to modern influences on the interaction and organization of American family life.
SOC 245: Social Psychology (3 Cr.)
The social-psychological study of the ways society influences the behavior of the individual. Course focuses on the theoretical approaches of symbolic interaction, social exchange, and dramaturgical analysis. Normally offered during the spring semester.
SOC 255: Sociology of Health and Health Care (3 Cr.)
This course examines the social sources and social distribution of illness in the United States and other countries.Other topics which are examined include aging, mental illness, bioethics, the profession of medicine, and health care institutions. University students work off-site with local residents to examine the effects of aging, stress, and other demographic characteristics on health. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 260: Deviance (3 Cr.)
An examination of deviant behavior with emphasis upon theories explaining how people become deviants. Surveys the forms of deviance: crime, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual deviation. Field trips may be scheduled. Normally offered during the fall semester.
SOC 270: Juvenile Delinquency (3 Cr.)
A criminological course that focuses specifically on crime committed by youth, typically early through late adolescence. This course explores the nature and extent of delinquency, theory and research, and societal responses to delinquency. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 275: Systems of Social Stratification (3 Cr.)
This course examines four social divisions found in the United States and in other postmodern societies. The course will examine: 1) gender identity and behavior, 2) social class, 3) race and ethnicity, and 4) sexuality. May be used to fulfill the cultural diversity course component of the general-education requirements. Normally offered every semester.
SOC 280: Media and Crime (3 Cr.)
This course examines the complex relationships among media, crime, and the criminal justice system. Special emphasis is placed on television news media and the pervasiveness of crime and criminological theory in Hollywood cinema. Course content includes an evaluation of how the media reports and frames crime, fundamentally influencing public perception. In addition, students will develop a sense of how the media simultaneously acts as a catalyst for, a consequence of, and a solution to the crime problem. Normally offered in the fall of even-numbered years.
SOC 281: Hollywood Goes to High School (3 Cr.)
This course examines the way in which Hollywood films that focus on high school portray individualism, social class, gender, race, and the roles of students and faculty in urban, suburban, and elite/private high schools. The course critically examines these images as well as the reality of life and academics in U.S. high schools. The course also contrasts images of U.S. high school life with those in films from other countries. Normally offered in the fall of odd-numbered years.
SOC 290: Topics in Sociology (3 Cr.)
A survey course focusing on topics from a sociological perspective generally involving the interplay between social structure(s) and social interaction(s). The exact topic of the course may vary each time this course is offered. Topics may include: criminal investigations, sport and society, cybercommunities, religion and society, high school culture and education, health care, and/or organizational behavior. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
SOC 291: Topics in Criminology (3 Cr.)
A survey course focused on gaining understanding of topics from a criminological perspective. The exact topics addressed by the course may vary each time this course is offered. Topics may include: criminal investigations, cybercrime, comparative justice systems, interpersonal violence, white collar crime, or other central themes in criminology. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
Level III courses are designed to provide depth of experience and understanding in narrow subject areas.
SOC 310/510: Development of Sociological Theory (3 Cr.)
Study of the historical development of sociological thought and the contributions of major theorists and their understanding of society. Required of all majors and minors. Prerequisite: Grade of C- or higher in SOC 110. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 311/511: Criminological Theory (3 Cr.)
Study of the major sociological theories of crime. Considers how crime is defined and measured, and how society responds to criminal behavior. Required of all sociology majors with the concentration in criminology. Prerequisite:Grade of C- or higher in SOC 110 or 130. Normally offered every spring.
SOC 315/515: Mass Media and Society (3 Cr.)
This course examines the overall structure and scope of the media as a social institution. Students will explore the social factors (e.g., economics, politics, technology, law, and culture) that shape media messages and the way in which media images and meanings frame social issues and affect public discourse and individual beliefs. Topics include social inequality (based on race, ethnicity, social class, and gender), media representations, social change, and public policy, among others. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of odd-numbered years.
SOC 320/520: Research Methods in Sociology (3 Cr.)
Study of research methodologies used in both qualitative and quantitative sociological contexts. Skills are taught through small-scale projects whenever possible. Required of all majors and minors. Prerequisites: Grade of C- or higher in SOC 110 and in one statistics course (PSY 201, STAT 140, STAT 240, or IDS 205). Normally offered every spring.
SOC 325/525: Urban Sociology (3 Cr.)
An examination of the city as a social system. Emphasis placed upon the historical, demographic, and ecological development of urban areas along with an exploration of major problems confronting American cities. Development of urban lifestyle is also examined. Normally offered in the fall of even-numbered years.
SOC 326/526: Drugs in Society (3 Cr.)
This course is an introduction to the study of the use and abuse of commonly known drugs from sociological, psychological, and pharmacological perspectives. Included are timely drug topics and issues such as drug testing, decriminalization and legalization, drugs and crime, drug prevention, and the latest data regarding the use and abuse of drugs. Normally offered in the spring of even-numbered years. Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 210, or consent of the instructor.
SOC 330: Points of Intersection: Mexico and the United States (3 Cr.)
Offered only at the Puebla, Mexico, Study Center.
SOC 340/540: Gender (3 Cr.)
An introduction to how society defines and structures gender identity and behavior for males and females. The course focuses on the biological and social constructs of gender and how those are interpreted through history, language, sexuality, race, family structure, dating patterns, religion, and work environments. Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 275, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of odd-numbered years. Sociology and Criminology
SOC 350/550: Police in Society (3 Cr.)
An examination of the history, structure, and behavior of the police in American society and other selected countries/societies. Students will learn about the history of American policing, police practices, the relationship of the police system to the constitution and local and national society. Overall emphasis is on the description and analysis of the police as part of a culture’s broader system of social control. Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of even-numbered years.
SOC 360/560: Penology (3 Cr.)
A critical social scientific examination of prisons, jails, community corrections, and paroling authorities with emphasis on both historical development and current trends. Field trips may be scheduled. Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the fall of even-numbered years.
SOC 370/570: Sociology of Law (3 Cr.)
The study of the place of law in society, the relationship between law and social change, law and other social institutions. Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of odd-numbered years.
SOC 380: Inside-Out Prison Exchange: Rethinking Crime, Justice, and Behavior (3 Cr., also offered as PSY 380.)
This course brings together students from Valparaiso University and residents of a local correctional facility to engage in meaningful dialogue about crime, justice, the criminal justice system, imprisonment, and human behavior. It is an opportunity for all participants to gain a deeper understanding of these topics from both theoretical and practical perspectives. “Inside” and “outside” students will work together, share ideas and perceptions, and learn from one another over the course of the semester. The course is limited to juniors and seniors, and to sociology and psychology majors. Inclusion in the course requires completion of an application and interview, and consent of the instructors. Normally offered each spring.
SOC 386: Internship in Sociology/Criminal Justice/ Anthropology (3 Cr.)
Internships are organized to provide students with some measure of hands-on experience in their field of interest. Students are required to develop a contract with both the agency to which they are assigned and a supervising instructor outlining basic expectations. A minimum of 128 internship hours and a biweekly class are required. Students planning an internship in a spring semester must complete an application for placement with the internship coordinator by October 1. Experience and workload vary with both the field of study and the agency assignment. Required of all criminology students, recommended for all others. Prerequisites: Junior standing, consent of the internship coordinator, and grade of C- or higher in SOC 130 or SOC 110. Normally offered each spring and second summer session.
SOC 390/590: Issues in Sociology (3 Cr.)
An exploration of some of the issues debated by sociologists today. Issues may include racism, aging in America, class structures in the US, religion and the media, or other current social issues. May be repeated for credit if the issues are different. Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130, SOC 160, or consent of the instructor.
SOC 391/591: Issues in Criminology (3 Cr.)
An exploration of some of the issues debated by criminologists today. Issues may include feminist or Marxist criminology, criminal deviance, victimology, and cross-cultural comparative crime. May be repeated for credit if the issues are different. Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130 or consent of the instructor.
SOC 481: Cooperative Education in Sociology/Criminal Justice/Anthropology I (1-3 Cr.)
Work experience in a cooperating public or private service agency. Written reports required. Prerequisites: Junior standing and approval of the chair of the department.
SOC 482: Cooperative Education in Sociology/Criminal Justice/Anthropology II
Continuation of SOC 481. Prerequisites: SOC 481 and approval of the chair of the department.
SOC 483: Cooperative Education in Sociology/Criminal Justice/Anthropology III (1-3 Cr.)
Continuation of SOC 481. Prerequisites: SOC 481 and approval of the chair of the department. May be repeated beyond 483 for additional credit.
SOC 486: Internship in Criminal Justice II (3 Cr.)
Continuation of SOC 386. Prerequisite: SOC 386.
SOC 493: Senior Seminar (3 Cr.)
An integrative reading, discussion, and research course that applies prior sociological knowledge to contemporary concerns and problems. Required of all majors. Prerequisites: Grade of C- or higher in SOC 320, and either SOC 310 or SOC 311. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 495: Independent Study in Sociology/ Criminology (1-4 Cr.)
Independent investigation of a specialized topic in sociology. May be taken more than once for credit if the topics are different or if the topics are to be continued.
SOC 497: Honors Work in Sociology (3 Cr.)
SOC 498: Honors Candidacy in Sociology (3 Cr.)