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Sociology and criminology header

Sociology & Criminology

Sociology and Criminology Majors are taught the basics of human interaction and relationships. They acquire an understanding of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of social behavior. Students 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.

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 students' varying interests and career goals, we offer several options for their focus of study. Students may elect to complete the following 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.

Combined Majors

The Sociology and Criminology department offers two combined majors within our department and two with the psychology department. These combined majors give students the opportunity to specialize in two related fields and are excellent preparation for those considering advanced study and/or careers in areas such as criminology, criminal justice, law, social work, counseling or sociology. 


Internships in Sociology, Sociology/Social Work and Criminology are designed to extend learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting. The primary goal is to gain hands-on experience related to academic and career interests while providing career and networking opportunities. Internships are often a key step in becoming familiar with job requirements and obtaining a job upon graduation.

Department Mission

The Department of Sociology and Criminology aspires to be a cornerstone program in the social sciences, providing comprehensive course work in sociology, sociology/social work, and criminology, preparing students for careers and advanced study in graduate and professional programs. 


The core values of the Sociology and Criminology Department are placed squarely within a liberal arts tradition that strives to foster critical reflection, social awareness and responsibility, socio-cultural diversity and a global perspective.  The department’s central mission is to: (a) foster a knowledge of social and cultural issues, theories, and research methods; (b) cultivate students’ abilities to succinctly and clearly express this knowledge in oral and written form; (c) to provide opportunities for students to utilize these acquired skills in an applied context; and (d) to develop an awareness of global and multicultural issues.  Students will develop a perspective that emphasizes critical inquiry and reasoning to address challenging social problems.  Ultimately, our program and curriculum cultivate values that will shape students into life-long active, responsible and informed members of the greater community.

Butler Distinctions

Butler graduates


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.


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). 

Student Activities

Sociology and Criminology students have opportunities to engage in program-related activities outside the classroom that include: Alpha Kappa Delta—the International Sociology Honor Society, the John Weidner Foundation, and the Student Sociology and Criminology Association—a student-run organization that provides a forum for students to exchange ideas, interact informally with departmental faculty, and become involved in the university and local community. Student Activities.

Sociology and Criminology Facebook Group

Sociology and Criminology majors and alumni can stay up-to-date with all things related to the program through the Sociology and Criminology Facebook Group. Follow us on Facebook.