Assumption introduces new criminology major

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Alex Paterson's picture
Alexandra Caulway

 
Assumption College’s sociology and anthropology department has introduced a new major in criminology, after over 20 years of only having the option of a criminology concentration. 
 
“We, as a department, wanted to move toward an outright major in criminology,” said Associate Professor of Sociology Steven Farough, who is Head of the Sociology and Anthropology Department. “For the past two years we have had this conversation about developing a criminology major and we finally decided to do that and wrote up the curriculum over the summer and went through the channels to get it approved by the College last semester.” 
 
The new major consists of 13 courses and a total of 39 credits. New courses that have been added include Introduction to the Criminal Justice System, beginning in the Fall Semester, and various other electives including Sociology of Law and Victimology. The electives have been reorganized so there are two areas of concentration, one being about the broader structural factors impacting crime and the other focusing on law and society. There are eight required courses and five electives.
 
“What we did was a market analysis of area colleges to see what schools like Stonehill and Merrimack are doing, and we found that they had criminology majors, and they also had a lot more majors than what we did. And so one of the goals was to simply try to get more majors into our department,” explained Farough. 
 
The department is currently in the process of hiring a second criminology professor to staff the new major. Assistant Professor of Sociology Alison Cares and Associate Professor of Sociology Richard Gendron currently teach the courses. 
 
“The criminology concentration and now the major were certainly in response to what students wanted,” said Cares. “We have lots of students who are interested in criminal justice as a profession, or what we call the ‘allied professions,’ so substance abuse treatment, working with at-risk youth, victim services and general social services as well. One thing I think this gives our students at Assumption, besides what they want, is more content knowledge on the criminal justice system itself, why we think people commit crime, and also how that sort of links with society.” 
 
Senior Joshua McDuffie is graduating with a concentration in criminology. 
 
“The reason I chose the concentration in criminology rather than attending another school for criminal justice was because criminology allows students to understand crime rather than simply enforce it,” he said. “An understanding of people and their behaviors while analyzing outside variables allows students to become well-rounded in writing and critical thinking. I will be entering the Marine Corps in May and I intend to use the skills I have learned through my major and concentration on a daily basis and feel I am now capable of adjusting to situations and problems as they occur.”
 
According to Farough, the criminology major is not that different from the concentration besides being more in-depth, and is deeply rooted in sociology. “We’ve created the major where you can double major in sociology as well,” he said. “Because there’s an overlap of core classes, it makes it a more efficient way to have a double major.” 
A date has yet to be finalized, but there are plans to have an open house to highlight the new major. Flyers and informational emails are also expected to be going around campus soon. 
 
 “We designed this major to be sort of a thinking person’s criminology program. We want to see our students be the kind who go on to law school, the ones who become detectives versus a beat cop, to maybe go on into the FBI,” said Farough. “And we feel pretty strongly that if you go into our criminology program you’re going to get a larger view of the topic of crime.”

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