The Criminology and Law Studies major is designed to provide a broad-based liberal arts education for undergraduates interested in careers in criminal justice and law. The major also provides preparation for professional and graduate study in law, criminology and public administration. Students in other major fields of study interested in expanding their knowledge of the legal system may elect criminology and law studies courses.

Courses in criminology and law studies are taught by faculty from both the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and criminal justice practitioners.


  • CRLS 4986 Advanced Internship and Seminar in Criminology and Law Studies may not be counted toward the major or minor in Criminology and Law Studies. 

Major in Criminology and Law Studies

The major in criminology and law studies consists of seven required courses (21 credit hours) and four elective courses (12 credit hours) for a total of 33 credit hours as listed below. The major also requires 6 credit hours of social science from one or more of the following programs: Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Social Welfare and Justice or Sociology. Students majoring in CRLS must also pass a course in statistics as noted below.

Required Courses:
CRLS 1001Introduction to Criminology3
CRLS 2500Criminal Court Process3
CRLS 3050Methods of Criminological Research3
or SOCI 3050 Methods of Social Research
CRLS 3100Corrections: Prisons, Probation and Parole3
CRLS 3300Police and Society3
or CRLS 3350 Police Organization and Administration
CRLS 4400Criminal Law and Procedure3
CRLS 4997Capstone Seminar in Criminology and Law Studies3
* Elective Courses: Choose four CRLS courses. 12
Up to two of the following courses may be counted as electives:
Culture, Law and Violence
Forensic Science
Deviance and Social Control
The Social Reality of Crime and Justice
Law and Society
Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice
Victim Services and Policies
Total Credit Hours33

Additional Course Requirements:

Social Science Requirement: Two courses from one or more of the following programs: ANTH, ECON, POSC, PSYC, SOWJ, SOCI6
Statistics Requirement: SOCI 2060 (or equivalent with consent of department chair). Students double majoring in CRLS and PSYC should take PSYC 2001. 3-4
Total Credit Hours9-10


  • SOCI 2060 Social Statistics may be used simultaneously to satisfy the University Core of Common Studies requirement in Mathematical Reasoning.
  • Students wishing to complete double majors in CRLS and SOWJ or SOCI must complete the requirements for both majors. Two courses that are accepted by both majors (see the list of approved courses within each major's bulletin entry) may double count for both majors, for a total of 57 credit hours.

Minor in Criminology and Law Studies

The minor consists of 18 credit hours, including a required introduction to criminology course (3 credit hours) and five elective CRLS courses (15 credit hours) (with the exception of CRLS 3986 Internship and Seminar in Criminology and Law Studies ), or one of the approved non-CRLS courses as listed below.

Required Course:
CRLS 1001Introduction to Criminology3
* Elective Courses: Choose five CRLS courses (with exception of CRLS 3986).15
One of the following courses may be counted as elective:
Culture, Law and Violence
Forensic Science
Methods of Social Research
Deviance and Social Control
The Social Reality of Crime and Justice
Law and Society
Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice
Victim Services and Policies
Total Credit Hours18


  • Electives may be chosen from all CRLS courses with the exception of CRLS 3986 Internship and Seminar in Criminology and Law Studies.
  • One of the non-CRLS courses listed above may count toward the minor.



CRLS 1001. Introduction to Criminology. 3 cr. hrs.

Survey of recent trends in crime and delinquency. The nature of and societal reaction to criminal behavior. Personal and social factors in crime causation. Critical analysis of criminological theories as well as the operation of criminal justice agencies.

CRLS 2001. Introduction to the Law. 3 cr. hrs.

Legal concepts and classifications; legal philosophy, including the sources and nature and functions of law; legal methods; legal research; legal ethics; basic processes and judicial processes and procedures; the court system, state and federal.

CRLS 2100. Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice. 3 cr. hrs.

Definitions of delinquent behavior. Nature, etiology, and extent of juvenile delinquency; contributing social problems; adolescence as a subculture. The adjudication process for juveniles: philosophy, development, and organization. Diversion, detention, and treatment of the juvenile offender.

CRLS 2200. White Collar Crime. 3 cr. hrs.

Survey of current theoretical, research and public policy issues regarding white-collar crime. Definitions and typologies of various types of white collar crimes and activities. The nature, extent, and consequences of white-collar crime in the U.S. Assessment of strategies for combating white-collar crime as well as prospects of alternative systems of control, such as civil litigation. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 2500. Criminal Court Process. 3 cr. hrs.

Analysis of the criminal court process from its initial stages through post-conviction review. Topics include court structure, the legal actors of the court process, prosecutorial and defence decision-making, bail setting, plea bargaining, trial operations, and the organization and management of judicial and prosecutorial discretion. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 2600. Street Gangs and Crime. 3 cr. hrs.

Examination of the history of gangs and an analysis of the current gang culture and the social context in which it operates. Exploration of the criminological theories of gangs as well as community based and legal intervention strategies. Prereq: CRLS 1001; or cons. of instr.

CRLS 2800. Criminal Investigation. 3 cr. hrs.

Fundamental principles and procedures of criminal investigation. Crime scene search and recording. Collection and preservation of physical evidence. Obtaining testimonial evidence. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 3050. Methods of Criminological Research. 3 cr. hrs.

Basic methodological issues in the study of crime, criminals, and the law; principles, purposes, and limits of research; introduction to empirical research design and methods of inquiry, including formulating and testing hypotheses, sampling procedures, data collection techniques, and ethical issues in preparation of research reports. May not be taken for credit by students who have received credit for SOCI 3050. Prereq: CRLS 1001, or SOWJ 1001, or SOCI 1001 and SOCI 2060 or equiv., or cons. of instr.

CRLS 3100. Corrections: Prisons, Probation and Parole. 3 cr. hrs.

Analysis of the organization of correctional agencies and the role of corrections in the criminal justice system. Review of relevant theories, practices, systems, and treatment methods. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 3300. Police and Society. 3 cr. hrs.

Social and historical origins of the police; police organization; police culture, roles and careers; police in the legal system, police discretion in practice, police and the community. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 3350. Police Organization and Administration. 3 cr. hrs.

Organization and administration of police agencies. Principles of planning, personnel management, line operations, staff and auxiliary services. Organizational models and leadership styles. Internal control and policy formation. Evaluation of effectiveness.

CRLS 3560. Conflict and Terror. 3 cr. hrs.

Historical origins, causes, consequences, major institutional actors, and public policy choices associated with contemporary international and domestic terrorism. Also explored are political, economic, technological, law enforcement, and military based counterterrorism strategies and tactics. Prereq: CRLS 1001; or cons. of instr.

CRLS 3570. Drug Crime and Policy in America. 3 cr. hrs.

Presents a problem-oriented approach to understanding the effects of illegal drugs and drug trafficking on individuals and communities. Explores drug treatment and policies aimed at controlling drug use. Considers the effects of current enforcement strategies on drug use and drug markets and, ultimately, on American society.

CRLS 3600. Victimology. 3 cr. hrs.

Examination of the roles and functions of the victim within the civil and criminal justice systems. An investigation into victim attitudes, beliefs, problems, and needs; theories of victimization; experiences of victims within the legal system; victim assistance programs; and public policy and victimology.

CRLS 3640. Domestic Violence in the United States. 3 cr. hrs.

Focuses on the ways in which race and ethnicity shape definitions of and experiences with domestic violence and how different clutural groups interact with community and legal resources designed to assit victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. Examines the implications this has for policy, practice and justice in society. Prereq: CRLS 1001 or SOWJ 1001 or cons. of instr.

CRLS 3660. Sex Offenses and Offenders. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the nature of distribution of sex offenses and the various types of sex offenders. Approaches of mental health and criminal justice systems are examined, including an analysis of laws, policies and practices surrounding treatment, management and control of sex offenders. Impact on sex offenders, families and victims will also be addressed. Prereq: CRLS 1001 or consent of instructor.

CRLS 3751. History and Philosophy of Crime and Punishment. 3 cr. hrs.

A study of crime and punishment from both the historical and philosophical perspectives. The course will emphasize the European experiences as a foundation for understanding American developments. Emphasis will be placed on the interdisciplinary aspects of crime and punishment. Prereq: Soph. stndg. and PHIL 1001. Same as HIST 3751 and PHIL 3751.

CRLS 3986. Internship and Seminar in Criminology and Law Studies. 3 cr. hrs.

Field experience ina community social service agency for the purpose of furthering the student's integration of theory and practise in a professional setting. Placement is for a minimum of 140 hours per semester under the supervision of agency personnel, and includes a weekly seminar with the internship coordinator. S/U grade assessment. Limited enrollment. Prereq: Sr. stndg., CRLS major and cons. of internship coordinator.

CRLS 4000. Criminological Theory. 3 cr. hrs.

Analysis of the nature and consequences of delinquency and crime. Classical and contemporary examinations of criminal behavior. The effects of social interaction, social class, social organization, small groups, and other variables on crime patterns and efforts to cope with crime. Relationship of criminological theory to social policy issues.

CRLS 4100. Ultimate Penalties in the Criminal Justice System. 3 cr. hrs.

A critical look at the rationales and history of corporal punishment, capital punishment, and life imprisonment without possibility of parole in order to understand the endurance of these types of sanctions in modern society. The focus will be on the philosophical, legal, social, and political aspects of the punishments. Research on ultimate punishments, such as frequency of use, characteristics of offenses and offenders, will also be presented. In addition, the course will examine the experience of sentenced offenders and their families, and correctional staff in implementing the punishments. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4110. Media Perspectives on Urban Crime. 3 cr. hrs.

Historical overview of how urban crime has been portrayed in the media. Analysis of contemporary media presentations of urban crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system (including police, courts, and the correctional system). Social scientific theory and analysis regarding media portrayals of crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4120. Comparative Justice Systems. 3 cr. hrs.

The nature and character of police, prosecutorial, court, and correctional activity and operations in world legal systems. An examination of common law, civil law, socialist, and Islamic systems of law and social control. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4130. Women, Crime, and Criminal Justice. 3 cr. hrs.

Examination of the roles of women in the criminal justice system. Critical analysis of the relationship of women as offenders, as victims, and as agents of social control. Review of relevant theories and practices and both historical and contemporary issues. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4140. Race, Crime and Punishment. 3 cr. hrs.

Focus on racial differences on offending and violence; racial discrimination in the criminal justice system; and the impact of criminal punishment on racial inequality. Course will cover current and classical research in race, crime and social control and explore their theoretical and empirical dimensions. Prereq: CRLS 1001 or consent of instructor.

CRLS 4170. Organized Crime. 3 cr. hrs.

Examination of the political, social, and economic conditions involved in the appearance and expansion of organized crime in the United States. Descriptions of structures as well as internal and external dynamics, including incentives and penalties employed by criminal groups. Explanation of investigative techniques and impact of police, courts, and correctional agencies. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4180. Empathy, Crime and Justice. 3 cr. hrs.

Social justice approach to the study of empathy as it relates to crime and justice; explore and cultivate various modes of empathic knowing, specifically as these relate to criminal defendants, victims of crime, and various actors in the criminal justice system. Prereq: CRLS 1001 or SOWJ 1001; and Jr. stndg.

CRLS 4250. Clinical Criminology. 3 cr. hrs.

The theory, research and practice dimensions of clinical criminology, with a focus on sociological, psychiatric, biological, biosocial learning, cognitive, psychoanalytic theory. Examination of deviant and/or criminal interactions and their consequences. Topics for possible inclusion: substance abusers, psychopathic and violent offenders, spouse and child abusers, sex offenders, juvenile offenders, female offenders. Orientation to clinical techniques and therapy as they apply to intervention, decision-making, incarceration and sentencing, and modifications of behavior. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4340. Financial Crime Investigation. 3 cr. hrs.

Introduces current perspectives and procedures used by the financial investigator in detecting and resolving financial crimes. Includes specific study of: methods of tracing funds, financial record keeping, accounting, interviewing techniques and law and evidence as they relate to financial investigations. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4350. Neighborhoods and Crime. 3 cr. hrs.

Surveys theoretical and empirical literature on the role that neighborhood characteristics play in crime, and to examine the utility of crime prevention strategies for reducing neighborhood crime rates. An additional objective is to develop the skills necessary to investigate Milwaukee neighborhood crime patterns and to create and deliver professional presentations and technical reports.

CRLS 4360. Crime Mapping. 3 cr. hrs.

A technological introduction to the basic functionality of ESRI’s ArcGIS for mapping and analyzing crime data. Students learn skills to create crime maps and analyze crime patterns and develop a solid base upon which to build further expertise in geographic information system (GIS) software and spatial analysis. Prereq: CRLS 4350.

CRLS 4400. Criminal Law and Procedure. 3 cr. hrs.

Studies criminal substantive law; constitutional limits and principles of criminal law and liability; defenses to criminal liability; definitions and classification; criminal procedure of crimes; constitutional limits and protections of criminal procedure. Prereq: CRLS 1001 and CRLS 2500; or cons. of instr.

CRLS 4550. Crime Control. 3 cr. hrs.

Contemporary issues in criminal justice and social control. Evaluates the effectiveness of various crime control strategies and explore their social utility and implications for social stratification. Discusses crucial socio-legal questions and philosophical debates concerning crime control policies. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4600. Evidence. 3 cr. hrs.

Basic principles of the law of evidence. Presentation of oral and demonstrative evidence in the trial process. The quantum of proof in criminal proceedings. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4640. Family Violence and Public Intervention. 3 cr. hrs.

Analysis of maltreatment of children, youth, spouses, and seniors within the family. Examination of causes and intervention methods emphasizing the response of actors and government agencies. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4660. Criminal Violence in America. 3 cr. hrs.

Analysis of violent crime in American society and ways in which the criminal justice system responds to it. Examination of the causes of violent crime, its prevention, treatment and public policy ramifications. Historical and contemporary understanding of the significance of violence in American culture. Critical evaluation of methods utilized to deal with violent offenders. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4700. Ethics in Criminal Justice. 3 cr. hrs.

An overview of prevailing ethical controversies confronting the process and agencies of contemporary criminal justice. Special attention given to concrete ethical issues and dilemmas, which are encountered regularly by participants in the major components of the criminal justice system. Attention is given to another emerging trend in the field: evidence-based criminal justice policy that relies heavily on criminal justice analytics, algorithms and predictive statistical modelling. Prereq: CRLS 1001.

CRLS 4931. Topics in Criminology and Law. 3 cr. hrs.

Lectures and discussions in an area which, because of its topicality, is not the subject of a regular course. The special topics will be designated in the Schedule of Classes.

CRLS 4986. Advanced Internship and Seminar in Criminology and Law Studies. 3 cr. hrs.

Continuation of the internship experience (CRLS 3986). Placement is for a minimum of 140 hours per semester of supervised practise at the same agency as the previous semester and includes a weekly seminar with the internship coordinator. Credits earned cannot be counted toward the major. S/U grade assessment. Limited enrollment. Prereq: Sr. stndg., CRLS 3986 and cons. of internship coordinator.

CRLS 4995. Independent Study in Criminology and Law Studies. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Readings and research on a particular problem or subject of interest to the student. Prereq: Cons. of instr. and cons. of dept. ch.

CRLS 4997. Capstone Seminar in Criminology and Law Studies. 3 cr. hrs.

Students define and carry out an independent research project drawing on previous coursework and experiences. Project components include developing a research question, conducting a literature review, and analyzing a body of data. Goal is to engage specific theories, methods, and concepts of Criminology and Law Studies in a student-centered research project. Prereq: Sr. stndng., CRLS major, CRLS 3050 or SOCI 3050, or cons. of dept. ch.