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Criminology

Overview

You have the right to remain silent, but that's no fun.

Description

Let's say your housemate takes dishes up to his room and leaves them there. As a result, there are never any dishes for the rest of the house to use. Everyone in the house knows that he is the culprit—he's what you'd call a "repeat offender."

Also, maybe you peeked around his room when he wasn't home (but this is strictly off the record).

However, you've asked many times for him to relinquish the dinner- and silverware, and he insists that it's not him. Lies. You're fed up. You need a bowl to eat cereal. You decide to take action.

"Privacy-schmivacy," you mutter bitterly as you barge into his vacant room. You have reasonable suspicion, after all. You angrily gather up the hostages, run downstairs, and load them into the dishwasher. Mission accomplished.

A few hours later, your housemate comes home to find you and your other housemates gathered in the living room, waiting for him. You place him in handcuffs, read him his rights, and lead him to his cell where he awaits his trial. He broke the house rules. Now, he must be punished. Justice can finally be served—and so can your cereal.

Don't worry, here comes the point.

Crime and punishment: Find us a justice system that doesn't include the latter. Here in the U.S., we define "punishment" as compensation and/or the amount of time you spend in time-out for grown-ups. Now, our story might be a little dramatic for a tiff between housemates, but it demonstrates the basic cause-and-effect relationship between rule-breaking and its consequences.

The criminology major studies the crime and the criminal, whereas the criminal justice major studies the punishment. For example, a criminal justice major might look at how we define punishment and how criminals are prosecuted, while a criminology major is more likely to focus on criminal profiles and behavioral patterns. Both majors ask students to use their critical thinking and analytical skills to figure out how we respond to crime as a society.

Most graduates of criminology or criminal justice don't pursue an advanced degree after college. Instead, they can get a job in the legal profession, in law enforcement, social work, or maybe even military intelligence.

Percentage of US students who major in Criminology:

1.27% criminal justice, 0.12% criminology

Stats obtained from this source.