Wilkes University



Want to know what makes a criminal tick? What causes crime? And how society should counsel, correct and rehabilitate criminals?

Criminology major

The criminology program challenges you to think critically about crime, law and justice. Our program combines hands-on opportunities with coursework in sociology, political science, psychology and economics, giving you a wide range of expertise allowing you to face future challenges from multiple perspectives.

Our program is designed to provide training to students who want to begin their career immediately or go on to law or graduate school. Courses provide a graduate school experience in an undergraduate setting. This is done through our cutting edge classes and the opportunity for students to conduct their own research. A rigorous three-semester capstone sequence also allows you to acquire a variety of research, writing and statistical skills while working with specialized software and numerous data sets on crime and delinquency.

Criminology -- the study of the causes, effects, and prevention of crime -- prepares you for a variety of careers in the field including:

  • law enforcement
  • probation and parole
  • corrections counseling
  • law school.

This interdisciplinary program includes coursework in sociology, political science, psychology, and economics, making it easy to double major in some of these fields. Criminology is also popularly combined with other programs such as business/accounting, computer science, and the physical sciences in order to enhance employment prospects.

Student capstone presentations in 2014 included:

  • “Gender Inequality and Domestic Violence Relationships"
  • “Gender and the Likelihood to Commit Violent Crimes”
  • “The Impact of Education on Crime”
  • "Family Structure and Juvenile Delinquency"
  • “Divorce and Crime: Social Control vs. Strain”
  • “Depression, Maltreatment and Criminal Activity in Adolescents”
  • “The Effects of Neighborhoods on Gang Involvement”

Students have the opportunity to present their research at conferences. Some presentations included:

  • Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, February 2014, Baltimore, Md. Poster presentation with student Rhonda Lynch: “Adolescent Victimization and Parental Relationships”
  • Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology, November 2013, Atlanta, Ga. Presentation with student Channing Biggers: “’The Walk of Shame’: Drinking, Sex, and Depression across the Life Course”
  • Pre-law Society
  • Sociology-Criminology Club

What criminology students want to do most is work on the crime scene. That is why the department encourages and supports student participation in a variety of internship opportunities. Past students have interned with:

  • City of Wilkes-Barre and surrounding police departments
  • Luzerne County Juvenile Probation
  • Luzerne County District Attorney
  • Ocean City, Md., Police Department
  • Domestic Violence Service Center
  • Victim’s Resource Center
  • Wyoming Valley Drug and Alcohol Services
  • Children’s Service Center
  • U.S. Marshal’s Service
  • United States Secret Service
  • State Police Forces

The department maintains an outstanding record of placement in law school or into career path choices of students. Recent graduates have been accepted to or worked at:

  • Duquesne University School of Law
  • Luzerne County Juvenile Probation
  • Maryland Reception, Diagnostic, and Classification Center

From your first semester, you will begin training for your career

Coursework for a Criminology major at Wilkes includes classes in Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence, Deviance & Social Control, Drugs & Alcohol in American Society, Psychopathology, Forensic Psychology, and Criminal Law.

A rigorous three-semester capstone sequence allows students to acquire a variety of research, writing, and statistical skills. Students work with specialized software and numerous data sets on crime and delinquency.

But what criminology students want to do most is get on the crime scene. That's why we ensure that a variety of internships are available.

Students have recently interned with the Department of the Treasury, Luzerne/Lackawanna County Juvenile Detention, Luzerne County Probation, the Luzerne County Sheriff's Department, the New Jersey State Police, the United States Secret Service, and the US Marshals Office.

Graduates have entered the Secret Service local and state police forces, and graduate school.