Sociology & Criminology

Social life. Social change. Social behavior.

Gain the necessary tools to investigate and understand a wide range of cultural and social issues in order to make a positive impact on society and the welfare of individuals.

Choose your focus.

Our sociology-based programs are grounded in three central themes: community, social diversity, and global awareness. Each program reflects an emphasis on the use of social science theory and methods to address challenging social issues while encouraging critical thinking and engagement with our communities and the world. With a strong academic and experiential foundation, our students are well prepared for a wide range of opportunities upon graduation

To best meet your interests and career goals, we offer several options of majors. Sociology, Sociology with a Specialization in Social Work and Social Policy, or Criminology. Both Sociology and Criminology offer degree tracks that can be completed in three years.

We also offer minors in sociology and criminology, and the opportunity for students to complete a combined major either with the psychology department or within our department.

Butler Distinctions

students in cap and gown


Sociology and Criminology graduates work in a wide range of employment fields including human services, social policy agencies, the criminal justice system, health care, and business. Majors also pursue advanced professional degrees in social work and law, as well as graduate degrees in sociology, criminology, criminal justice and other related fields. The department has an average placement rate for graduates of 90–100% over the last 10 years.

Butler student on his computer


Sociology and Criminology students participate in a senior research capstone seminar in which they complete an independent empirical research project that demonstrates their mastery of sociology or criminology. Additionally, students are encouraged to engage in research opportunities such as directed research, the Honors Program, or the Butler Summer Institute (BSI).

Sociology & Criminology FAQs

Varying by title and location, graduates with a degree in Sociology and Criminology earn an average of $42,936 annually. With more work experience in higher positions, there are opportunities for an annual salary of up to $70,000.

With an understanding of society, how social context and social forces shape behaviors, and solid critical-thinking and research skills, Butler Sociology and Criminology graduates are ready for various fulfilling careers. Some of these jobs include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminologist
  • Social Worker
  • School Counselor
  • Parole Officer
  • Crime Analyst
  • Child Welfare Specialist

The Student Sociology & Criminology Association is open to everyone interested in the field of Sociology, Criminology, and Sociology/Social Work. The association is a student-run organization which elects its own leadership and provides the opportunity for students to exchange ideas, to interact informally with departmental faculty, and to become involved in the university and local community. Throughout the year, the association sponsors many activities, including guest speakers, field trips, community service, and a variety of social events.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Student Sociology and Criminology Association and Butler University Chapter of the John Weidner Foundation for altruism is to further the understanding of sociology, criminology, social work, and altruism.


  • Further understanding through activities, lectures and discussions
  • Generate awareness of issues in these areas
  • Encourage the professional growth of members by providing information on graduate school and other advanced study and careers
  • Provide a setting in which social interaction can easily occur among members, faculty, staff and the community
  • Involve members within the university and local community through volunteer activities
  • Raise funds to support the goals
  • At the end of the year, examine the accomplishments and set goals for the future

Association’s Constitution

On April 30, 2006, the Butler Student Sociology Association (SSA) established a University Chapter of the John Weidner Foundation for Altruism. John Weidner was a Dutchman living in France when the Germans invaded in 1940. Over the next five years, with the help of up to 300 like-minded compatriots, he helped approximately a thousand people escape the Germans into safety in Switzerland and Spain. The escapees included American and British downed airmen, Jewish refugees, and Dutch, Belgian, Polish and French citizens fleeing the Germans. John was honored at the end of the war by the Governments of Holland, the United States, Britain, Israel and France. He was also honored at the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, in 1993.

Learn more.

Athropon Katamannthanein Diakonesin “to investigate for the purpose of service”

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) seeks to recognize and to promote “excellence in scholarship in the study of sociology, the research of social problems, and such other social and intellectual activities as will lead to improvement in the human condition.”

Alpha Kappa Delta was founded at the University of Southern California in 1920 by sociologist, Dr. Emory S. Bogardus. Its purpose is to foster scholarship, promote the scientific study of society, and to encourage student and faculty interchange. In 1924, the United Chapters of Alpha Kappa Delta was formed among the United States colleges and universities with the first foreign affiliate occurring in 1930. Alpha Kappa Delta then became affiliated with the Association of College Honor Societies in 1967. Today, more than 490 chapters have been chartered in the United States, Canada, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Finland, and the Philippines. Over 80,000 scholars have been inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta.

The Butler Department of Sociology and Criminology established the Kappa of Indiana Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta in1989. Throughout the following years, over 100 Butler sociology students have been initiated with most becoming leaders in academe and in professions such as law, social work and criminal justice.

Every spring during the department banquet, current AKD members participate with faculty in honoring and initiating new students who have attained academic excellence in sociology and their overall studies at Butler into the international honor society.

Alumni Perspective

Sociology has guided me.

What I like most about Sociology is that it doesn’t focus on just one thing—it looks at all factors that affect a person’s life (race, class, gender, etc.). This is useful in my career because it helps me understand how many of these children end up in foster care, and how I can help them break the cycle. —Zoe Cottom ’16, Recruitment Coordinator for Indiana Adoption Program

Holcomb Fountain