Campus News

UB adds programs in Jewish thought, criminology, sustainability


Published April 30, 2019


New degree and certificate programs are coming to the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Jewish Thought will soon launch a master’s program; the Department of Sociology now has a bachelor’s degree in criminology; and an Advanced Certificate in Sustainability is offered through the Graduate Interdisciplinary Degree Program.

The MA in Jewish thought represents an important step toward reclaiming a core role of the Jewish intellectual discipline within a comprehensive approach toward understanding Western society such as art, science, ethics, politics and social innovation.

The department will begin accepting applications this fall with classes beginning a year later.

The interdisciplinary program, which stems from the recently created Department of Jewish Thought, is firmly rooted in the Jewish intellectual tradition, according to Sergey Dolgopolski, Gordon and Gretchen Gross Professor of Jewish Studies and department chair.

By combining continental philosophy, critical literary theory, and classical and contemporary Jewish texts with individualized attention to students, Dolgopolski says students will develop unique resources, which will encourage the pursuit of new thought paths and problem-solving approaches that address a broad range of issues and challenges facing modern society.

“The new MA is a part of a vision of our already nationally and internationally leading Department of Jewish Thought, which aims to reclaim the role of the Jewish intellectual tradition in conversation with other core traditions shaping the West and to translate the intellectual resources of Jewish tradition to make them available to the broader humanities and also across the divide between humanities and hard sciences,” he says.

“The program is a response to the urgent social need to create experts and leaders in various aspects of such a new holistic view of the Western society, a view in which Jewish tradition is no longer marginalized or pigeonholed into an ethnic or cultural particularity or curiosity.”

Dolgopolski encourages anyone interested in the program to contact him or any of the program’s professors with questions.  Prospective students can also request information here.

The university’s new BA in criminology, offered within the Department of Sociology, meets the needs and growing interests of students who plan to work in settings that require a strong background in crime or law by helping them develop the necessary skills required for analyzing and interpreting data.

“By establishing a major in criminology from our existing concentration in criminology, we are responding to a dramatic increase in interest in this field among our students,” says Robert Adelman, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology. “We have added two new members to our faculty for the program in addition to our current faculty who teach and conduct research in criminology.

“Our program is underway and we already have a few students who have declared majors, with many more pursing a minor in criminology.”

The program’s focus will center on the nature and causes of crime, the characteristics and behaviors of criminals and victims, how law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems work and how society reacts to crime, criminals and victims.

Students will take courses in methods, theory and statistics aimed at preparing them for professional careers or in preparation for advanced degrees in criminology, sociology, public policy and law. Students can apply for the major on the sociology department’s website.

UB’s Advanced Certificate in Sustainability is available to all students enrolled in one of the university’s graduate programs. Those not enrolled at UB can apply for the certificate on a standalone basis.

Addressing the complexity of environmental issues requires a transdisciplinary approach that spans multiple disciplines. The certificate program, consisting of 15 graduate credit hours, addresses these concerns from the perspective of the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Students will interact with a diverse array of faculty throughout the university.

“Since sustainability-related jobs are growing much faster than in other areas of the U.S. economy, our well-seasoned internship program is poised to help students gain permanent positions in business, governmental and nonprofit areas,” says Craig Thomas, clinical assistant professor in the Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Degree Programs and adviser for the advanced certificate program. “We’ll draw on the expertise of five schools at UB that span management, engineering, architecture, planning and the environmental sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as offering classes as diverse as conservation biogeology, food systems planning, environmental economics, environmental systems, marine ecology and many more, allowing students to gain a wide range of electives and tailor the program to their individual needs and goals.”

Here is application information for the Advanced Certificate in Sustainability.