Cool Majors at UNCG: Criminology

Posted on September 25, 2023

UNCG Police canine walks through an office.

The upcoming registration period has students hyper-focused on their majors and four-year plans. Finding the field of study that suits their talents and passions while also leading to a successful career is paramount.

Fortunately for Spartans, UNC Greensboro’s five Schools and Colleges – as well as its Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering – cover more than 175 majors and concentrations for undergraduates interested in the natural sciences, social sciences, liberal arts, the arts, education, healthcare, and business.

Throughout the month of October, UNCG News will spotlight some of these standout majors and concentrations. Here, students can discover how to align their studies with their interests and strengths:

A Passion to Protect

College of Arts and Sciences 

The Criminology & Justice Studies concentration within UNCG’s Sociology Department is more than reading true crime. Here, students learn about the criminal justice system, types of crimes and the trends behind them, police and community relations, and rebuttals of crime-related myths. 

“We study lawmaking, law breaking, and the reactions to crime,” says Dr. David Kauzlarich, outgoing department head and professor of sociology. “We also study social harms and inequality, which are not necessarily recognized as formally unlawful, but which cause tremendous victimization.” 

The lessons learned in criminology and justice studies, he says, dig deep into the values of a society. “We look at how crime laws reflect the values of the citizens, how crime and law are connected to social structure.” 

Job Prospects 

Most students end up in social services and criminal justice professions. Graduates conduct research and investigation in the following systems: 

  • Police forces 
  • Court systems 
  • Corrections 
  • Victim services 
  • Restorative justice 
  • Social service 
  • Government regulatory agencies 

If a student wants to understand how crime and justice can be addressed in a way that reduces crime and victimization, harm, pain, and injury, the career prospects are just as good as you’ll find in other majors.”

– Dr. David Kauzlarich


Core courses cover crime, law, and justice theory, and electives courses delve into drugs, race and gender, gangs, juvenile delinquency, and white-collar crime. Popular classes include:

  • Social Control 
  • Drugs and Society 
  • Law and Society 
  • Green Criminology 

What makes UNCG’s program stand out? 

UNCG was named the best graduate program in sociology with a criminology concentration in the country. Kauzlarich credits this to the department’s strong faculty:

“We have six criminologists on staff who are active teacher-scholars,” he says. “They are very successful and well-known in criminology and justice studies literature. For example, Dr. Stephen Cureton has interviewed gang members and done field research with gang members. Students don’t just get someone who reads out of a textbook.”

Next week, learn about some of the unique creative professions that students can pursue with a degree from UNCG’s new animation program.

Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona, University Communications

Be a force of peace and justice.


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