Roughly one in every three people in the United States has a criminal record. But what causes someone to commit a crime? What impact can crime have throughout a neighborhood? How does the criminal justice system reinforce racism?

As a criminology major, you'll ask tough questions about a topic that affects nearly every aspect of society, from health and housing to education and the environment. And then you’ll learn where to find the clues to help answer them.

What will I learn?

Forget what you've seen on TV crime shows. Here, you'll take a critical, research-based look at criminology as you explore subjects such as:

  • The relationship between crime, deviance and delinquency.
  • Theories of crime.
  • How we measure crime.
  • Systems of power and how law contributes to inequality.
  • Misconceptions and stereotypes.
  • Disparities in the justice system related to race, ethnicity and gender.
  • Experiences of incarcerated people.
  • How behavior shapes policy (and vice versa).

What can I do outside of class?

As much as you'll learn in class, there’s still no substitute for practical experience. Our students have interned at police departments, drug-related non-profit agencies and other organizations in various fields related to criminology.

Looking for more? Consider working with one of our faculty members on a research project or studying abroad to gain a new perspective on how different societies view crime. Of course, you can also get involved with community engagement, and join one of our related student clubs and organizations, which host a variety of social and professional events.

Study Abroad
Student Clubs

What can I do with a criminology degree?

A criminology degree is an excellent choice if you want to work in law enforcement, criminal justice (including criminal justice reform), security or public safety. Within these fields, there are many opportunities at the local, state and federal level—including helping people whose lives are impacted by crime, the courts, the prison system and related institutions.

In addition, many criminology majors use their expertise to launch a career in social work, social justice, policy analysis, public policy, education or in the legal field.

And because criminology also gives you a strong foundation in sociology, you’ll be prepared to apply your skills in nearly any job that requires an understanding of social groups, institutions and structures.

Who will I learn from?

Authors. Speakers. Scholars. Experts. As highly trained sociologists, our faculty use their research skills to study criminology and its widespread impact on individuals and society. Here, you will find highly accomplished teachers and mentors who thrive in the classroom, sharing their experiences and insight with students.

Through the years, our faculty have been named Fulbright Fellows, been honored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, and received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

As you advance through your courses at UB and prepare to take the next steps, these mentors will help you make connections both in and out of the classroom.