Syllabus, Introduction to Criminology


The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the nature and extent of crime, theories of crime causation, the social correlates of crime and victimization, the police, the courts, and corrections. The course includes a cross-cultural and historical perspective, with discussions on controlling crime in a democratic society. Some emphasis will be on the role of perceptions held by the public, victims, offenders, and criminal justice practitioners.   


By the end of the term, each student who has successfully completed the course will be able to:

1)  identify and discuss the most current issues, debates, and findings in the field of crime and corrections (lecture discussions and exams)

2)  compare and contrast various theories of crime and evaluate evidence in support of theories (lecture discussions and exams)

3)  evaluate past and present practices used to control crime and deal with criminals (lecture discussions and exams)

4)  assess methods which criminologists use to study crime and criminal behavior (lecture discussions and exams)

5)  identify the social correlates of crime and victimization (lecture discussions and exams)

6)  evaluate current police practices (lecture discussions and exams; term paper)

7)  discuss the legal system and its functions (lecture discussions and exams; term paper)

8)  evaluate the effectiveness of the various correctional programs (lecture discussions and exams)

9)  analyze the way in which social policy affects crime and the criminal justice system (lecture discussions, exams, and term paper)

10) apply concepts from the course to contemporary issues in criminology (term paper)

The method of assessment of specific learning objectives is in parentheses at the end of each module.


Siegel, Larry J. Criminology: Theories, Patterns, and Typologies. Twelfth Edition. 2016. Cengage Learning, Wadsworth Publishing. 


Attendance and Participation.  You are expected to attend all classes during the term.  You are allowed one missed class for a night class, and two for a day class, and after that, your participation grade will drop for each absence.

Chapter/Lecture Quizzes.  There will be a weekly quiz on what you have learned from the lecture and the reading materials assigned for each week.  You are able to miss one of the quizzes for your one absence during the term.  If you have attended all of the class sessions, your lowest grade become a perfect score. The quizzes will be closed book, but open notes. You are able to use your handwritten lecture notes and handwritten notes you have taken, in outline form, from the reading assignment.

Application and Analysis Paper. Click on this paragraph to find the description and the grading criteria for this paper. 

Incomplete.  I do not allow students to take an "Incomplete" for this course.  If you do not believe you will be able to finish the course, you should withdraw early to get any refund of your tuition that you are due. 

University Policy The University prohibits the use, possession, distribution, or sale of alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, firearms, explosives, fireworks, and other dangerous substances on University property.

The above schedule and procedures, and the course outline and reading list are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.



Weekly Quizzes, 240 points

Attendance, Participation, and PowerPoint Presentation, 160 points

Term Paper, 100 points



A+  98% and up       B+  88-89%        C+  78-79%       D+  68-69%

A    94-97%             B    84-87%        C    74-77%       D    64-67%

A-  90-93%              B-  80-83%         C-   70-73%       D-   60-63%

© Karen Donahue 2017