Major Accomplishment: Sociology and Criminal Justice

Staff Writer Sylvia Labrie leads students through a different major each week discussing potential subject areas and needed skills for each profession.

Sociology can bridge many different aspects of the community, providing research on how people interact with each other.

Family, ethnic and race relations, as well as war and crime are just a few topic areas looked at by sociologist.  It deals with social psychology, urban, rural, political, and comparative sociology.  It is a major with many different avenues to success.

We will just concentrate on the criminal justice aspect of sociology at the present. The biggest thing you need to have to cut it as sociology major is a love for research and understanding the human being.

This is an ever-changing field, so regurgitating the facts isn’t enough, you need to be able to take what you have experienced in life and apply what you learned.

Sociology 220 is an introductory class into the criminal justice field.  I spent one day in Professor Rebecca Hayes- Smith’s class trying to understand the different requirements and duties of court officials.

Normally while giving her lectures she also shows a video to spark debate among her students.  She hopes that her class will teach students how to think on their own and view everything from all approaches.

“In my class I want you to tell me what your prospective is on something and then let me challenge you to think from another point of view,” said Hayes-Smith, “I don’t want to change your position on the debate I just want you to understand the other side of the debate and why they fight for it.”

Her class tries to touch on every subject an individual interested in criminal justice would have to learn. This class falls under group three of Bachelor Degree Area Requirements, so if you are not sure if you want to major in it you can still take the class and use the credit for other degrees.

If you truly think this major is for you, make sure to do your research and know what degree you need to have for the job and if you would enjoy it.  For sociology with a criminal justice concentration, affection for research, writing papers, studying law and debating the law is helpful.

Don’t go into sociology thinking you are going to be the next CSI because you saw it on TV.  In reality some of what you see on TV is doctored up to look fast and fabulous when it is really slow and tedious work.

“Many students come to me saying I want to be a CSI, I think to myself do they even know what a forensic scientist does on a day to day basis,” said Hayes-Smith.

You won’t spend everyday in the court room fighting for your clients or talking to victims. Sociologist are more likely to spend their time studying up on trends, precedents, and legal loop holes to insure your client success.

“Job shadowing really can show someone if they are going to like their degree and subsequently if they will like their future career, “said Hayes- Smith.