The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Criminology and the Criminal Justice System Certificate

The Criminology & Criminal Justice System Certificate Program

The Criminology and Criminal Justice System Certificate at UMass Amherst explores the sociological theories of crime, law, and the criminal justice system.  It equips students to analyze and critique criminal justice structures and processes from a social science perspective.  Central topics explored in these courses include criminological theory, sociology of law, deviance and conformity, access to justice, inequality, mass incarceration, and more.  Students who pursue the Criminology and the Criminal Justice System certificate often go on to pursue graduate school of law school, or go into a variety of careers, including as prosecutors or defense attorneys, social justice activists, educators, probation or parole officers, consultants, policy analysts, or law enforcement officers.

*This is not a law enforcement program, and completing the Criminology and Criminal Justice System Certificate does not provide educational incentives for regular full-time officers in participating cities and towns through salary increases through the Quinn Bill (Police Career Incentive Pay Program).

The Criminology and Criminal Justice System Certificate requirements include 5 courses, including SOC 241: Criminology; one of three core courses, and three elective courses, one of which may be taken outside of the department if desired.

Certificate Requirements

Required course:

SOCIOL 241 Criminology 

Choose one course from the following:

SOCIOL 248 Conformity and Deviance
SOCIOL 323 Sociology of Law
SOCIOL 342 Deviance & Social Order

Choose three upper-level (200+) Sociology / CJ electives:

(Courses offered vary by semester; some are offered only online through CPE.)

SOCIOL 218 The Law, Logic, and Social Science of Courtroom Evidence
SOCIOL 242 Drugs & Society
SOCIOL 248 Conformity and Deviance
SOCIOL 323 Sociology of Law
SOCIOL 342 Deviance & Social Order
SOCIOL 343 Hate Crime
SOCIOL 344 Gender and Crime
SOCIOL 345 Juvenile Delinquency
SOCIOL 346 Communities Crime
SOCIOL 347 Corporate Crime
SOCIOL 349 Race, Class & Crime
SOCIOL 350 Policing and Surveillance
SOCIOL 391M Serial Mass Murder (online)
SOCIOL 392J Race & Policing
SOCIOL 394F Crime & Forensics (online)
SOCIOL 394S White Collar Crime (online)
SOCIOL 395AP American Police (online)
SOCIOL 395K Domestic Violence
SOCIOL 397AM Asylums, Madness, and Mental Illness (online)
SOCIOL 397CL Criminal Legal System (online)
SOCIOL 397CP Crime and Public Policy (online)
SOCIOL 397GF Gender, Crime, and Family (online)
SOCIOL 397MC Mass Incarceration in the U.S.
SOCIOL 397PA  Probation and Parole
SOCIOL 497S Surveillance and Society

One course from a department outside of Sociology may be used toward the certificate. Some of the available options are listed below.

Other courses may be approved on a case by case basis by the Director of Undergraduate Advising.

ANTHRO 215 Forensics: Myth and Reality
CMPSCI 391LI Computer Crime Law
EDUC 297A School-to-Prison Pipeline
HISTORY 397RL Special Topics: Rape Law: Gender, Race, (In)justice
HONORS 322H Criminal Law and Justice in the U.S.
JOURNAL 290J: Journalism in Jail
LEGAL 250 Intro to Legal Studies
LEGAL 333 Law & Culture in America
LEGAL 360 Civil Liberties in Wartime
LEGAL 397K Seminar: Human Trafficking
LEGAL 397RE Law & Politics of Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
LEGAL 472 Race, Gender, and the Law
POLSCI 162 Intro to Constitutional Law
POLSCI 163 Intro to Civil Liberties
POLSCI 297GL/LEGAL 297R Gender, Law & Politics
POLSCI 360 Constitutional Law
PSYCH 297F Forensic Psychology
PSYCH 355 Adolescent Psychology
PSYCH 380 Abnormal Psychology
WGSS 340 Critical Prison Studies

Students are strongly encouraged to pursue a crimonology or criminal justice-based internship or practicum in order to apply the skills they will develop in their coursework. Practica credits do not count toward total certificate credits/requirements.

Multiple Credentials Policy

No more than two courses used to fulfill the requirements of any one credential may be applied towards the fulfillment of another credential, wherein “credential” is defined as an academic degree program (major), minor, or certificate. One course may only be applied to two credentials. For more information, view the Multiple Credentials Policy.

Completing Your Certificate

Once you have enrolled in the final class for your certificate, please fill out the Certificate Completion Form and submit an unofficial transcript. Forms may be submitted via e-mail to advising@soc.umass.edu.

Note: To receive the Certificate in Criminology and the Criminal Justice System, a minimum 2.0 GPA must be maintained across courses applied to certificate requirements.

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