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administrative contact

Jennifer Steele
Assistant Chair
phone: 304-293-8800

program contact

Daniel Renfrew
Director of Undergraduate Studies
phone: 304-293-8788

Program Details

Program Description

The criminology major focuses on the social roots and implications of criminal behavior and the operation of the criminal justice system. Students learn to apply the theoretical and methodological tools of sociology to make sense of crime and social control in modern society, while selecting from a variety of course topics. These include but are not limited to: juvenile delinquency, street crime and gangs, corporate and white collar crime, hate crime, terrorism, drug use and abuse, media and crime, the culture of police work, and punishment and social control.

The sociological approach to crime distinguishes criminology from the related field of criminal justice, which emphasizes the procedural activities of criminal justice agencies. Criminology treats crime as the product of complex social forces, seeking to understand why laws are made in the first place, how and why these laws are violated, and how society responds when laws are broken. This holistic societal perspective prepares graduates to pursue a broad range of careers or graduate study/professional training.

To complete the B.A. in criminology, students must earn 120 credit hours and are encouraged to use their general electives to complete an academic minor and pursue professional field experiences. For a complete description of requirements and list of courses, see:

Career Profile

The criminology major prepares graduates to pursue a range of careers such as policing, security, corrections, human services and business. The major also prepares students for graduate studies in the social sciences in pursuit of academic or applied research careers or for professional training in law, public administration, social work and related fields.

English Language Proficiency

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Please see Office of Admissions - English Language Proficiency for more information.

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Prospective students should apply online at:


WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.