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Sociology / Criminology

Psychology comforts the afflicted;
Sociology afflicts the comforted.
--Earl Schaeffer

Sociology studies human behavior in social settings. It is sometimes called the "group science" because of its focus on human interaction, which occurs between two or more individuals. Any type of human interaction can be studied by sociologists. Groups, institutions, communities, and entire societies are investigated by sociologists, sometimes for description, other times for comparison and contrast.

Among areas covered in sociology courses are conformity and deviance; crime, delinquency, racial, ethnic, and gender relations; the implications of social class, marriage and family life; education, religion, the health care system; economic, political, and social change. 

 The study of criminology focuses on the causes and consequences of crime in society.  Criminologists seek to understand and explain why crime rates differ across time, culture, and place; why some individuals are more prone to crime than others; why crime rates vary across different ages, genders, and groups; why some acts are considered criminal and others are not; and what we can do to prevent crime. 


Why You Should Study Sociology

There are many reasons for taking courses in this field. Aside from seeking knowledge for its own sake, they include achieving a better understanding of yourself and of the impact of social forces upon your life; developing awareness of diversity and appreciation of that diversity, in neighborhood, community, society, and the world; learning critical thinking and analytic ability and being able to apply these to social situations and becoming familiar with research techniques employed by social scientists. In personal relationships, the students may develop skills that will enable them to get along better with the people they interact with at home, at work, and in everyday life. 

Sociology Course Descriptions

Columbus State offers these courses in Sociology.


Sociology Faculty

Career Opportunities in Sociology/Criminology

Career opportunities in sociology for the most part require graduate degrees and involve research positions.  Criminologists often work within the criminal justice system. Some of the major areas for Sociologists/Criminologists are listed below:

Teaching and/or Research in Schools or Universities

Research in Business

This might involve market or public opinion research.

Research in Governmental Agencies

Sociologists are also employed in social and corrective agencies such as prisons, halfway houses, and parole agencies. 

Sociology may also be viewed as a stepping stone to other careers: political office (running for or being appointed to), public service, law, school teaching, police work, mental health, ministry, social work, and health care. Notice the common thread - they are all helping professions. While sociology is distinct as a science, it contains many elements that may be applied to social conditions and lead to other career choices that involve applying sociology to various conditions. Also note that those related careers may well require additional education in other fields of study. 

Criminal Justice System

Criminologists work in many areas of the criminal justice system, including as police officers, parole officers, bailiffs, prison guards, and investigators.  Those with advanced degrees can find work teaching or doing research at colleges and universities or with the state or federal government.

Sociology/Criminology Related Sites

The SocioWeb
American Society of Criminology
Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
The American Sociological Association
North Central Sociological Association
The Ohio State University-Department of Sociology/Criminology
Annual Review of Sociology
National Science Foundation
The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports
The Bureau of Justice Statistics
The Sociolog
U.S. Census Bureau
The Urban Institute