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/ Academics / Departments & Programs / Sociology / Academics Criminology Major

Degree Overview

Gain the skills and knowledge to become an agent of justice and renewal.

As a criminology major at Calvin, you'll focus on more than scientific inquiry into crime and the criminal justice system. You'll think analytically about crime, deviance, and harm—learning about their root causes and evaluating efforts to address them.

You'll engage directly with the real-world pursuit of justice through opportunities like tutoring at Michigan's Handlon Correctional Facility, volunteering at rehabilitation facilities, interning at a police department, or working with community-based violence prevention organizations. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to global conversations about crime by partnering with faculty in research projects and presenting at professional conferences.

Program Distinctives

Unique learning opportunities - Calvin’s Prison Initiative provides inmates at the Handlon Correctional Facility (Ionia, MI) with the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree. Students from the Grand Rapids campus are able to serve as tutors in this program and participate in a club on social justice involving students from both campuses.
Practical skills - Students will complete an internship at places such as local courts, victim services, police departments, mental health organizations, rehabilitation facilities.
Real-world research - Each professor in the department is an active researcher in their field. Students can take advantage of mentorship opportunities through faculty-student research projects.
Experts on campus - Calvin is renowned for hosting lectures, workshops, and conferences on important contemporary issues. Events on topics such as race and policing, restorative justice, and nonprofit anti-violence programs provide students with examples of applied criminology.

Degree Information

  • Courses
  • Learning Outcomes

    Studying criminology will prepare you for a broad range of careers in law, non-profit advocacy, and journalism.

    Marketable skills developed in criminology courses

    • Research skills
    • Critical and analytical thinking
    • Understanding of diverse groups and cultures
    • Effective oral and written communication
    • Policy and program evaluation

    Careers in criminology with an undergraduate degree

    You might study sociology at Calvin and go directly into the workforce. Career opportunities available to criminology graduates with a BA degree include (but are by no means limited to):

    • Social research
    • Law enforcement
    • Community activism
    • Political representative/policy making
    • Non-profit advocacy
    • Victim support services

    Learn more about internships that could help you find employment after graduation.

    Careers in criminology requiring a graduate degree

    Because an undergraduate degree in criminology is so versatile, the career options open to you are many. To increase the number of options available to you, consider further education in your area of interest.

    You will likely need an advanced degree (MA, PhD, JD or similar degree) to work in the following areas:

    • Legal professions
    • Nonprofit management
    • Academia (college teaching)
    • Journalism

    Consult with your advisor or other professors in the sociology department to learn more about graduate school and what you should to prepare for further education.

  • Get Involved

    For more information or to get involved with the many different opportunities connected to the criminology program, contact Prof. Elisha Marr.



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Calvin Prison Initiative

Calvin Prison Initiative trains faithful leaders in a prison context—and as a criminology major, you could serve as a tutor for an inmate. Learn more »

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Through courses dedicated to social justice, conversations at the annual January Series, and ongoing efforts like the Returning Citizens Services project, you'll find plenty of ways to work for a better society while you're at Calvin. Learn more »

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