2014-15 Catalogs

Criminology Overview

Professors: Beirne, Bjelic, Messerschmidt, Powell; Associate Professor: Wachholz

The Department is well-known for its critical perspectives and published research on criminological theory, gender, multi-cultural, and comparative analyses. The faculty have won regional, national, and international awards for scholarship, teaching innovations, and community service. In addition, all faculty members have had significant professional training outside the United States, including in Australia, Britain, Sweden, and the former Yugoslavia.

While some students enroll in the major expecting to learn law enforcement skills and strategies, psychological profiling, forensic investigation, and approaches to prosecution, this is not the program's focus. Criminology courses examine social structural foundations of crime, deviance, and social harm, including the social control institutions, as well as the power dynamics involved in defining crime, prosecuting crime, and official sanctions for deviance and those "at risk." The dynamics of racism, sexism, class inequality, and heterosexism as they impact perceived realities of "crime" are also systematically explored in the program's courses. The notion that "crime" is simply about breaking the law is not accepted at face value; the concept and the broader discipline of criminology as it relates to faculty research, teaching, and community service are examined.


The Department of Criminology offers a strong and established internship program. Credit internships actively seek to bring together student academic work and community involvement. Students interested in an internship placement are encouraged to meet with the internship coordinator.

Major Credit and Minimum Grade Policy

Courses to be taken for major credit at other colleges and universities must be approved in advance. Grades of C or better must be achieved in all courses for major credit. Courses taken pass/fail are not acceptable in the major. Before taking upper-level criminology courses, students must have completed CRM 100 with a grade of C or better. To complete the major successfully, students must have achieved a grade of "C" or better in all courses taken for the major.

Transfer Students

Transfer students and students contemplating transfer into the Criminology Department are urged to meet with the Department chair as early as possible for an evaluation of their progress and their requirements in the major.

Supplementary information is published each semester by the Criminology Department to assist students in planning their course schedules. The information includes a summary of major courses, listings, and descriptions of special courses, and general information for majors.

For more information, write to: Administrative Specialist, Criminology Department, University of Southern Maine, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, Maine 04104-9300 or telephone (207) 780-4105.