Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Note: listing incomplete – there are other Criminal Justice courses offered through the Continuing & Professional Education Division, UMASS Amherst (check their site, offerings vary per semester/intersession)
103 – Social Problems
Introduction to sociology. America's major social problems--past and present--are examined. These include crime, mental health, drug addiction, family tensions and inequalities based on race, gender, ethnicity and social class.
(Gen.Ed. SB, U)
105 - Self,Society andInterpersonal Relationships
Introduction to sociology and social psychology. Topics reviewed include social perception, socialization, concepts of self, personal and gender identity, expressions of emotion, social roles, group formation and power, prejudice, racism, sexism, and other topics relevant to studies in social psychology. (Gen.Ed. SB)
106 – Race, Gender, Class, and Ethnicity
Introduction to Sociology. Analysis of the consequences of membership in racial, gender, class and ethnic groups on social, economic and political life.
(Gen.Ed. SB, U)
107 – Contemporary American Society
Introduction to sociology. Basic sociological concepts presented. Emphasis on American society, particularly economic trends and their influence on Americans' lives. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
110 – General Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to sociology. Theory, methods, and approaches to the study of society. The use of several key sociological perspectives such as culture, social class, social psychology, and organizational power to analyze contemporary social issues. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
LABOR 190A Labor & The Global Economy (can count as an 100-level Sociol. class for majors
An introduction to basic concepts about globalization and its impact on workers in the U.S. and internationally, focusing on the impacts of recent trends in economic and political globalization on workers in the U.S. and abroad. (Gen.Ed. SB)
LABOR 201 Issues of Women & Work (counts as a 200-level elective for Sociology majors)
The role of women at a variety of workplaces from historical, economic, sociological, and political points of view. Among areas considered: discrimination, health care, women in the labor movement and in management, and civil rights legislation. (Gen. Ed. SB, U)
212 – Elementary Statistics
Introduction to basic statistics employed in the sociological analyses. Descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, inferential statistics, tests of significance, contingency tables, measures of correlation, etc. (Gen.Ed. R2)
213 – Data Collection and Analysis
Introduction to research design in sociology. How social science data are obtained and analyzed. How data are used to describe and draw conclusions about social phenomena. Surveys, sampling, interviews, observation, and field methods.
Prerequisites: One course in STATISTC.
220 – Sociology of American Culture
The elements and dynamics of culture everywhere; special reference to Americana. Topics include culture as a set of historically grounded values and beliefs; culture's role in both expressing and subverting ideals; the frequent gap between ideals and reality. Prerequisite: 100-level Sociology course.
222 – The Family
First part: historical transformations in family life (relationships between husbands and wives, position and treatment of children, importance of kinship ties); second part: the contemporary family through life course (choice of a mate, relations in marriage, parenthood, breakup of the family unit). (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
224 – Social Class and Inequality
The nature of social classes in society from the viewpoint of differences in economic power, political power, and social status. Why stratification exists, its internal dynamics, and its effects on individuals, subgroups, and the society as a whole. Problems of poverty and the uses of power. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
240 – Sociology of the Asian American Experience
Explores histories, cultures, and issues that shape the Asian American experience. Using readings, class discussions, film/video screenings, and student-designed projects, the course explores the commonalities and diversity among Asian Americans. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
241 – Criminology
Introduction to the study of criminology, definitions of crime, criminals and delinquents, demographics of crime and criminals, the work of the courts, law, police, and punishment in the production and administration of crime and criminals, society and crime, problems of prevention and control.
242 – Drugs and Society
Aspects of drugs (alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, psychedelics, depressants, opiates): historical and cross-cultural perspectives; behavioral effects; social and cultural factors affecting use; addiction (including alcoholism); political economy of drugs; drugs and social reality. (Gen.Ed. SB)
244 – Sociology of Immigration
Who migrates and why, how different groups are received by the dominant society and how the newcomers adjust to their new home. Areas of adjustment may include geography, education, employment, marriage and/or religion. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
291L –Intoduction to Latin American Society
This class will use sociological concepts to explore the diverse cultures, societies and politics of the Latin American and Caribbean region. Themes covered will include: colonialism and neocolonialism; class and inequality; race, ethnicity and identity; gender and sexuality; religion, social control and change; art, music and dance; revolutions and social movements; globalization and migrations.
314 – Field Research Methods
This courses focuses on five data collection techniques: participant observation, respondent interviewing, informant interviewing, systematic observation of naturally occurring behavior, and documents and archives.
320 – Work and Society
This class examines gender inequality at work. Topics include occupational segregation; token men and women; gender discrimination; differences in pay, promotions and power; the conflict between men and women over unpaid work; and potential solutions. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
321 – Sociology of Religion
The social causes of religion and religion's influence on social life. Topics include the definition of religion, fundamentalism, organized religion, private religion, world religions, religion and ethnic identity, religion and politics. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
322 – Sociology of Education
Sociological perspectives on educational issues; social class differences in school achievement, the crisis in educational credentials, school reform movements, the erosion of public support for education, schools, and jobs. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
325 – Political Sociology
Basic issues in political sociology and politics: interaction between the political and social-cultural spheres, sources and manifestations of political inequality; variety of social conflict and its major theories; relationship between political ideas and political behavior. Issues of political violence and coercion, political propaganda and legitimation, intellectuals and political power.
328 – Introduction to Social Work
An introduction to the major subfields of the profession, the populations social workers serve, the types of interventions they use, the theories behind those interventions, and the obstacles to success. Open to Social Service Concentrators.
329 – Social Movements
Explores how and why social movements occur, what strategies they use, how they create collective identities, how issues such as civil rights, workers' rights, women's rights, the environment, the global economy mobilize activists' participation within the circumstances faced.
340 – Race Relations
A social-historical approach to race relations in the U.S. Analysis of contemporary race relations links to major social issues in American society. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
341 – Social Welfare
Critical introduction to American welfare programs, past and present. Analysis of why programs change over time and of the effects of those changes on the people that welfare purports to `help'.
342 – Deviance and Social Order
The relation of deviant behavior to acceptable social patterns of behavior. Several forms of deviant behavior, both economic and personal transgressions of acceptable behavior. The causes and conditions for the creation of deviant behavior and the mechanisms for its social control.
344 – Gender and Crime
The extent and causes of gender differences in crime, from the "streets" to the "suites." Topics include problems in the general measurement of crime, historical and cross-cultural differences in the gender gap, the utility of general theories of the causes of crime in explaining the continuing gender gap, and a detailed look at the question and magnitude of gender discrimination in the American criminal justice system. Prerequisite SOCIOL 241.
345 – Juvenile Delinquency
Interrelationships among three aspects of juvenile delinquency in the U.S.: administration of justice by police and courts, causation, and prevention and treatment. Prerequisite SOCIOL 241.
346 – Communities and Crime
Crime is not equally distributed amongst cities and neighborhoods. In this course, we will examine how, where and why crime is unequally distributed. Particular attention will be focused on locations, such as public housing development, where crime is perceived to be heightened. Theories of social disorganization, collective efficacy and broken windows will be explored.
347 – Corporate Crime
Lecture. The rise of the "corporate actor" in terms of social organization and social policy, and concerning interest, rights, power, and trust. Organizational processes and deviance in production markets; deviance by, within, among, and against businesses as corporations. The roles of government and state in both the social production of deviance and its regulation: deviance by within, among, and against government(s). How actors in settings of trust define and enforce trust norms; how opportunities for illegal action and abuse of trust arise; and how the actual patterns of organized misconduct, deviance, and illegality unfold. Prerequisite: SOCIOL 342.
360 – Urban Sociology
Basic urban sociological concepts. Topics include the development of cities, the emergence of suburbs, the residential segregation of ethnic minorities. Considers trends in the US and abroad.
361 Demography of Minority Groups
Introduction to using demographic data to understanding public policy issues faced by American racial/ethnic minorities across education, prejudice and discrimination, immigration, wealth and poverty, crime, health care, etc. (Gen.Ed. U)
382 – Sociology of Childhood
A sociolgoical introduction to the study of child and adolscent development from pre-school through high school emphasizing social and cultural factors. The objectives are: (a) to acquaint the student with an inter-disciplinary literature on socialization processes and outcomes; (b) to examine the pivotal role of family, school, and peers in child development, and (c) to apply socialization concepts and theories to issues in social policy.
383 – Gender and Society
Analysis of: 1) historical and cross-cultural variation in positions and relationships of women and men; 2) contemporary creation and internalization of gender and maintenance of gender differences in adult life; 3) recent social movements to transform or maintain "traditional" positions of women and men.
384 – Sociology of Love
The Sociology of Love looks at a subject that we all take for granted, but none of us understand. Love is both a physiological state and a socially constructed experience. We will examine the major bio-chemical, psychological, and sociological theories that have attempted to explain the causes and nature of love and attraction. We will also look at the social construction of love through Western history, as well as in other cultures, and at the complex relationships that exist between love, "courtship", marriage, and sexuality. We will conclude with a look at contemporary social constructions of love, sex and relationships.
385 – Gender and the Family
This course explores the family as a gendered social construction. It considers how the family reflects and reproduces gender roles that are woven into the social norms of our society.
386 – Complex Organizations
The significance of large, complex organizations like schools, hospitals, businesses, religions and government. How such organizations identify goals and achieve them. How such organizations change over time and why.
387 – Sexuality and Society
The many ways in which social factors shape sexuality. Focus on cultural diversity, including such factors as race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity in organizing sexuality in both individuals and social groups. Also includes adolescent sexuality; the invention of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality; the medicalization of sexuality; and social theories about how people become sexual. Prerequisite: 100-level Sociology course. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
388 – Gender and Globalization
Examines how globalization impacts gender relations, as well as how beliefs about femininity and masculinity influence globalization. Focuses on particularly important contexts, including: global production, international debt, migration, sex, tourism and war.
391ML – Morality and Law
Good and evil are often perceived to be the responsibility and domain of spiritual and religious leaders. In the U.S., many point to the text of the First Amendment as guaranteeing a separation of church and state and, therefore, assume that questions regarding good and evil have no place in government. And yet, the very act of creating a law separates "acceptable" from "wrong" and is often directly related to a particular moral understanding of the world. In this course, we will consider the following questions: What does it mean to talk about 'good' and 'evil' in the context of the law? What are the obligations of a government in preventing 'evil' and promoting 'good' both internationally and domestically? Which groups decide what transgressions (evils) are made illegal? What are the consequences for these decisions?
392A – Race, Class, Crime
This course will take an historical approach to understanding the relationship between race, class and the criminal justice system. We will analyze the various ways that social inequality, as a result of race and class, mediate individual and social group experiences with crime and the legal system. We will also analyze the affect of mass incarceration on poor and marginalized communities. The main goal of the course is to situate contemporary inequalities in the criminal justice system and their impact on communities, social groups, and populations in an historical context. Topics to be analyzed include: slavery and the convict lease system; industrialized prison labor; employment discrimination and incarceration; the war on drugs; felon disenfranchisement; and the affect of mass incarceration rates on poor communities.
393M - Media, Technology & Sociology
Media and technology is all around us: E-mail, TV, Microsoft, Google, blogs, magazines, and phones shape the world we live in and ourselves. This course asks how media technology shapes the most fundamental aspects of our lives, from our education to our interpersonal relationships, our cultural tastes to our politics. We will first develop a critical perspective on the history and usage of media technology, but will also learn how to use the media and technology we talk about with a few workshops on Blogs, Podcasting, Powerpoint, and Wikis in order to put those lessons into sociological practice. No Prerequisite.
395K – Domestic Violence
Prior to the 1970s, domestic violence in America was widely viewed as a
private matter in which public intervention was inappropriate except under the most extreme circumstances. Over the past several decades, however, domestic
violence has been increasingly perceived and responded to by the public as a
criminal matter. Take a detailed look at patterns and trends in domestic violence in contemporary America, explore theoretical perspectives about its causes, and examine the domestic violence reform movement, paying special attention to research that tries to assess the actual effectiveness of criminal justice reforms in reducing domestic violence.
397S – Crime and Inequality
This course will explore issues of inequality within the construction and application of the law. Why are some actions defined as criminal and not others? Why are some groups more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system than others? This course will examine the historical construction of the American criminal justice system. It will also explore the interplay between law, crime and various social institutions like the family, the welfare system, and the economy.
401 – Theories and Perspectives
The major theoretical sociological perspectives; their initiation, and initiators, and their uses in modern sociological empirical investigations. Fulfills the integrative experience requirement.
442 – Sociology of Medicine
Literature on health and illness from three sociological perspectives: 1) epidemiological: focus on social and psychological factors as causes of disease; 2) illness-behavior perspectives: focus on variation between persons and groups in their evaluation and response to pain and symptoms; and 3) organizational: emphasis on problems in organization and delivery of medical services.
481 – Sociology of Mental Health
Introduction to the sociology of mental illness, definitions and descriptions of mental illness, social and cultural causes for mental illness, family and public reactions and the problems of measuring mental illness and methods for its cure.
597A – Survey of Criminal Justice Fields
Designed to provide upperclassmen and women who have an interest in working in the criminal justice system, with an overview of that system through the lectures of professionals who hold significant judicial, legal, law enforcement, and correctional positions. The speakers discuss their personal journeys to their current positions, what their duties and responsibilities are, and what type of background
and experience their agencies/offices are looking for in an applicant. Throughout the course, there is a discussion of those Amendments to the Constitution (e.g. 4th, 5th, 6th) that are most significant in limiting the powers of those who work in the criminal justice system.