Criminal Justice Careers for Sociology Majors

Criminal Justice Careers

Many Soc and Soc of LCD students are naturally interested in careers in the Criminal Justice field – FBI, state and local police, probation, and prison work to name just a few.  While we are not a criminal justice program (often a technical 2 year program) we do have a number of courses and opportunities that can help open doors for you.  Our major is excellent preparation for a graduate program in Criminal Justice, which will open up advancement within your criminal justice career!

Internships Internships Internships!

While a strong case can be made that internships, volunteer, and work experience are critical parts of any undergraduate education, they are paramount for those interested in criminal justice/law enforcement.   Pay special attention to the opportunities that we advertise in the Newsletter and on this site.  In the past our students have interned or volunteered at the Bureau for Criminal Apprehension, the FBI, the ATF, the State Patrol, UMPD, various city police departments, various probation offices around the state, various prisons, various half-way houses, and many more!

CLA Career Services will help you fine tune your resume, cover letter, and interview techniques to help you put forth an excellent internship application.  Because they are the largest Career Services office in the state, they also have many more opportunities than what we can highlight here, including paid positions.

Another great office on campus that will help you gain valuable experience is the Community Service-Learning Center.  They focus on getting students involved in the local community through volunteering, service-learning classes, and other unique opportunities.   They work with more than 200 Twin Cities Non-Profits to help Sociology students find service-learning opportunities.

Many internships will require that you earn academic credit for it – students do this through ID 3208 – Internship Reflection – 1 credit

Many internships are also unpaid – remember to apply for the Barbara Newsome Internship Award (see Scholarships under the ‘Department Specific Opportunities‘ link on the top left).  We take applications for that Sociology-specific award 3 times a year.

Links for P.O.S.T. Certification

(Peace Officer Standards and Training)

Students interested in becoming a Police Officer etc., will need to attend a P.O.S.T. program – something that as a research institution we are not.  Below is critical information on how to find P.O.S.T. programs.  Some of the courses listed below may transfer to these programs – you’ll need to check with your destination P.O.S.T. program to see what will transfer.

https://dps.mn.gov/entity/post/becoming-a-peace-officer/Pages/peace-officer-how-to-become.aspx

https://dps.mn.gov/entity/post/Pages/default.aspx

Courses
Some courses to consider taking:
  • SOC 3101 – Introduction to the Criminal Justice Systems
  • SOC 3102 – Introduction to Criminal Behavior and Social Control
  • SOC 3201 – Inequality: Introduction to Stratification
  • SOC 3211W – American Race Relations
  • SOC 3221 – Sociology of Gender
  • SOC 3251W – Sociological Perspectives on Race, Class, and Gender
  • SOC 3322W – Social Movements, Protests and Change
  • SOC 4101W – Sociology of Law
  • SOC 4102 – Criminology
    SOC 4104 – Crime & Human Rights
  • SOC 4105 – Sociology of Punishment and Corrections
  • SOC 4108 – Current Issues in Crime Control
  • SOC 4109 – Domestic Criminal Violence
  • SOC 4111 – Deviant Behavior
  • SOC 4125 – Policing American Society
  • SOC 4135 – Sociology of White-Collar Crime
  • SOC 4141 – Juvenile Delinquency
  • SOC 4142 – Juvenile Law
  • SOC 4145 – Youth Punishment and Corrections
  • SOC 4149 – Killing
  • SOC 4161 – Criminal Law in American Society
  • SOC 4162 – Criminal Procedure in American Society
  • SOC 4170 – Sociology of International Law
  • SOC 4175 – Law, Politics, and Inequality
  • SOC 4190 – Topics in Sociology with Law/Criminology/Deviance Emphasis

Other Thoughts
Nearly all criminal justice related organizations will need you to pass a criminal background check, go through organization-specific training, and will need a commitment greater than 100 service hours (often much more) – we can help you plan ahead to help ensure this fits with your course work-load and graduation plans.  The sooner this is done the better!

This journal article is full of excellent data and conclusions related to Sociology and Criminal Justice careers – well worth the read:

http://www.asanet.org/documents/research/pdfs/Bach_Beyond_Crim1.pdf

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