School of Criminology and Criminal Justice


Anthony Braga, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Director

Amy Farrell, PhD
Associate Professor and Associate Director

Kevin Drakulich, PhD
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director

Gregory Zimmerman, PhD
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director

204 Churchill Hall
617.373.8723 (fax)

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice was established in 1967 as one of the first schools of its kind devoted to matters of crime and justice. The school is a leading force in education, research, and policymaking in both the public and the private sectors of the criminal justice field.

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice seeks to prepare students for professional and research careers in criminology, criminal justice, and related fields by applying multidisciplinary and comparative social science to understand, predict, and explain crime as well as to contribute to the development of public policy on crime and justice issues. The school seeks to develop its students intellectually and ethically, while providing them with a keen appreciation of the complexities of crime and of the public and private efforts to make communities safer and to ensure justice.

The world of criminal justice is much more than police officers, corrections officials, criminal defense lawyers, or security and loss prevention personnel. At the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the boundaries of criminal justice have expanded beyond traditional views of the field to include emphases on law and justice, organizations and leadership, global criminology, and crime policy. Criminal justice education today is about more than the criminal; it involves understanding the victim and the community: repairing harm, reducing fear, rebuilding safe communities, and assuring justice in spirit and act.

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has had a long-standing attachment and commitment to improving a wide range of justice system agencies. The school actively engages external partners in an ongoing conversation about research, community service, and salient policy questions. Part of this dialogue is supported by an ongoing program of applied and social science research. Much of this research focuses on evaluating existing government crime-control programs and policies to determine whether they work, as well as inquiries about the etiology and prevention of crime. In addition, much of our research examines the unintended consequences of policy: institutionalized racism, differential impact of justice policy on certain groups, and the like. Research conducted at Northeastern on these topics is approached with ethical sensitivity and scientific rigor.

Criminology and criminal justice, as a social science, began in the early part of the 20th century. Nearly 100 years old, the field has blossomed in large part through the ingenuity of several notable scholars. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is pleased to be home to many of the country’s preeminent contemporary scholars. School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty members regularly present at scholarly conferences, national and international seminars, and to policymakers worldwide.

Academic Progression Standards

Same as university-wide standards described under “Academic Status.”

Criminal Justice Courses

CRIM 1000. Criminal Justice at Northeastern. 1 Hour.

Designed to help students adjust to college life and become fully acquainted with the resources and services offered by the University. Covers various campus services, studies how to access various library resources, and focuses on study skills and time management. Also explores various careers for which the criminal justice major can prepare students.

CRIM 1100. Introduction to Criminal Justice. 4 Hours.

Surveys the contemporary criminal justice system in the United States. Students examine the phases of the criminal justice system beginning with the detection of crimes by the police, the handling of the case through the courts, and, finally, the disposition and sentencing of offenders. Issues and characteristics of each of the phases (police, courts, and corrections) are examined as well as identifying the key actors (police, judges, prosecutors, correctional officers, and so forth) of each phase of the criminal justice system. Also introduces students to the U.S. juvenile-justice system.

CRIM 1300. The Death Penalty. 4 Hours.

Reviews the history of the death penalty in the United States from colonial times through the present. Among Western democracies, the United States stands alone in its continued use of capital punishment as a sanction. Examines the contemporary death penalty and the many controversies surrounding its continued use (focusing on U.S. Supreme Court decisions around the constitutionality of the death penalty). Discusses historical and contemporary controversies around the administration of the death penalty including potential innocence, special populations, methods of execution, race and gender biases, costs, deterrence, and international relations.

CRIM 1400. Human Trafficking. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of human trafficking in its various forms. Emphasizes understanding the experiences and needs of trafficking victims and the methods of operations of traffickers and their networks across various cultural contexts. The trafficking of persons for sex or labor through force, fraud, or coercion has become an increasingly serious problem in modern society. Federal, state, and local criminal justice authorities have been tasked with the responsibility of identifying and rescuing trafficking victims and prosecuting their perpetrators. Offers students an opportunity to critically evaluate the social and cultural practices that give rise to and support human trafficking in the United States and around the globe.

CRIM 1500. Corruption, Integrity, and Accountability. 4 Hours.

Traces the history, nature, and current effects of corruption using concrete cases and illustrations. Covers international and national laws and standards against corruption (with special emphasis on the U.N. Convention against Corruption and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). Discusses efforts to measure corruption, governance, and anticorruption efforts. Focuses on the role of stakeholders from private sector to government, civil society, and individual actors. Corruption affects every aspect of our life and its quality. From bribery and illicit enrichment to obstruction of justice, from abuse of power to clientelism and favoritism, corrupt acts touch global, national, and local communities. Illustrates how fundamental are the values and practice of integrity, responsibility, and accountability.

CRIM 1700. Crime, Media, and Politics. 4 Hours.

Discusses and critiques contemporary portrayals of crime and justice in the arenas of political debates and campaigns; news reports; and films, television shows, and music. Covers current events as they occur in these arenas. To set up these discussions, students have an opportunity to develop critical tool kits for assessing these images of crime and justice by reading and discussing theories, research, and critiques. Additionally, students are expected to read and discuss historical portrayals of crime and justice with the goal of identifying both parallels and differences between these and current events.

CRIM 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 2000. Co-op Integration Seminar 1. 1 Hour.

Orients students for co-op. Offers an overview of how to prepare résumés, practice interviewing skills, consider what students can/should expect from their first co-op, and discuss what employers’ expectations are likely to be of them. Prepares students to integrate what they learned in the freshman diversity course into their first co-op. Students are also instructed on how systematically to prepare a journal during the first co-op on issues related to ethics, values, and diversity.

CRIM 2100. Criminal Due Process. 4 Hours.

Focuses on an historical evaluation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and its use in making rights prescribed under the Bill of Rights applicable to the individual states. Examines constitutional requirements in the administration of criminal justice with particular emphasis on the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment requirements and their implications on police practices in the areas of arrests, searches and seizures, right to counsel, and eyewitness identification. Expects students to be familiar with basic concepts and legal language as well as the Court’s changing interpretations of the law. Briefing of cases is required.

CRIM 2200. Criminology. 4 Hours.

Describes the nature and extent of crime, explains its causes, and examines the reasons for and effectiveness of society’s responses to it. Defines the topic of criminology by discussing the different types of crime. Moreover, to establish the extent of crime in society, measurement issues are addressed. The second half of the course details different theories of criminal causation.

CRIM 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 2991. Research Practicum. 2-4 Hours.

Involves students in collaborative research under the supervision of a faculty member. Offers students an opportunity to learn basic research methods in the discipline. Requires permission of instructor. May be repeated once for up to 4 total credits.

CRIM 3000. Co-op Integration Seminar 2. 1 Hour.

Continues CRIM 2000. Allows students to reflect on what they learned during their first co-op, and use their journal entries as the basis from which to examine real-life issues of ethics, values, and diversity as they experienced them in the workplace.

CRIM 3010. Criminal Violence. 4 Hours.

Surveys the trends, nature, patterns, and causes of criminal violence. Blending sociological and psychological perspectives on violent criminal behavior, focuses on serial and mass murder, sexual predators, youth and school violence, violence among intimates and family members, as well as the impact of media and entertainment violence. The effectiveness of various criminal justice responses are also examined including intervention strategies, police tactics, gun control, incarceration, and capital punishment.

CRIM 3030. Global Criminology. 4 Hours.

Seeks to strengthen an understanding of crime and its causes from a comparative, cross-national standpoint. In doing so, it places extant definitions of crime and deviance in a cultural context. Explores existing methods of studying crime on a global scale; offers an overview of various types of criminal and deviant behavior that occur in isolated group contexts as well as those crimes that transcend country boundaries. Examines various strategies designed to address these acts of crime on a national as well as transnational level.

CRIM 3040. Psychology of Crime. 4 Hours.

Explores the inner lives of offenders including cognitive, emotional, perceptual, and physiological phenomena. Examines the ecological context of crime, individual and social risk factors for psychological attributes related to offending, how these attributes develop, how they interact with the environment to produce crime, and, most importantly, how knowledge of the psychology of crime can assist in efforts to prevent delinquency or to help offenders desist.

CRIM 3050. Organized Crime. 4 Hours.

Examines the myths and realities surrounding organized crime. Offers an overview of the nature and extent of organized crime, the factors that contribute to it, as well as the origins and opportunities/motives for criminal enterprises. Discusses the impact of organized crime on U.S. society, both in terms of economy and politics. Also examines the interconnections between organized criminals and legitimate organizations as well as analyzes legislative and policy responses.

CRIM 3100. Criminal Law. 4 Hours.

Discusses the definition of common crimes and criminal responsibility. Addresses moral, philosophical, constitutional, and public policy considerations in the use of criminal sanctions to regulate conduct. Requires the knowledge of particular criminal law concepts and the ability to identify them in complex fact patterns and discuss their implications and ramifications. Also requires the application of legal principles to fact situations in a logical way. Case briefing is required. Requires permission of instructor for freshman students.

CRIM 3200. Youth Crime and Justice. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to the history, structure, processes, and philosophies of juvenile justice systems in the United States. Responses to juvenile offenders-ranging from prevention and diversion to institutional corrections and aftercare-are explored in the context of youth policy generally. Focuses on contemporary issues and controversies (system fragmentation, changing conceptions of juvenile offenders, lack of a coherent justice system rationale, racial and gender bias in processing and confinement, and proposals to abolish the juvenile court).

CRIM 3300. Punishment in the Age of Mass Incarceration. 4 Hours.

Examines the concept of punishment and its form, function(s), and enforcement throughout history, with an emphasis on current sentencing policies and procedures and their impact on the corrections system and correctional overcrowding. Explores the operation, structure, clientele, and issues confronting the institutions, agencies, and programs encompassing the corrections system including jails, prisons, and community-based corrections.

CRIM 3400. Corporate Security: Securing the Private Sector. 4 Hours.

Examines the history and evolution of security from a focus on crime prevention to one of loss prevention for business, industry, institutions, and government. Emphasizes the need for analytical, interpersonal, and communications skills in developing cost-effective programs for the protection of assets, personnel, and third parties. Discusses the security/government relationship.

CRIM 3500. Policing a Democratic Society. 4 Hours.

Traces the history, evolution, and organization of the police in the United States. Examines the role of police in society, structure and culture of police organizations, function and activities of the police, and police deviance and accountability. The course objectives are to acquaint students with prior research on the police, examine critically the police as a component of the criminal justice system, explore the complex nature of the profession, and assist those who are considering a policing career to understand the realities of the job.

CRIM 3540. Services and Treatments for Chemical Dependencies. 4 Hours.

Explores students’ personal and cultural perspectives about substance use, abuse, and addiction through the use of readings, films, and case studies. Students evaluate the causes of chemical dependence, and methods of recognition, intervention, and treatment. Offers students the opportunity to investigate the effects of chemical dependency on the family. CRIM 3540 and HUSV 3540 are cross-listed.

CRIM 3600. Criminal Justice Research Methods. 4 Hours.

Introduces the basic concepts involved in conducting research in the areas of the criminal justice system and criminology. Through lectures, group discussions, and readings, familiarizes students with the scientific methods that are necessary for systematic analysis of crime trends, offender behavior, program effectiveness, and public attitudes about crime and justice. In so doing, students become capable of developing an idea, investigating and critiquing how it has been researched, developing a research design, and administering its implementation.

CRIM 3700. Criminal Justice Statistics. 4 Hours.

Offers a basic foundation in statistical methods with an emphasis on applications in criminal justice. Begins with basic descriptive techniques, including tabular and graphical displays of data as well as summary statistics. Next, the course covers significance tests of the difference between sample means or proportions and of the association among variables. Finally, assignments involve analyzing criminal justice data using statistical software.

CRIM 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 4000. Co-op Integration Seminar 3. 1 Hour.

Continues CRIM 3000. Builds upon what students learned in CRIM 3600 and focuses on experiences and research journals from the second co-op. Students discuss their research activities and findings, and begin to do some critical thinking about the nature of organizations. The discussion in this seminar also prepares them for the third co-op experience, in which they keep journals on some other aspect of organizational culture or dynamics. The seminar is pass/fail.

CRIM 4010. Gender, Crime, and Justice. 4 Hours.

Examines the topics of femininities and masculinities and their influence on participants in the criminal justice system. Also explores topics such as gender and criminological theory; the notion of gender and offending; women and men as victims of violence; and women and men as professionals within the criminal justice system. CRIM 4010 and WMNS 4010 are cross-listed.

CRIM 4020. Race, Crime, and Justice. 4 Hours.

Provides students with an overview of the role and treatment of racial/ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system. Covers historical and theoretical frameworks for understanding the relationship between race, crime, and criminal justice. In so doing, students become familiar with trends and patterns in criminal offending by racial/ethnic minorities, as well as system response to such behavior.

CRIM 4040. Crime Prevention. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of issues related to crime prevention, both from criminological and criminal justice points of view. Examines crime prevention programs that encompass both the individual and community levels, as well as the integration of such levels. Offers students an opportunity to learn current theories of and leading research on the main approaches to preventing crime, including developmental, situational, and community prevention. Focuses on assessing effectiveness of prevention programs and policies.

CRIM 4100. Juvenile Law. 4 Hours.

Introduces the way society responds to juvenile offenders. Topics may include important legislation, fundamental case law, behavioral research studies, philosophy, history, delinquency, abuse and neglect, transfers and waivers, status offenses, and comparative law. Students may be required to observe actual juvenile cases in the Massachusetts Juvenile Court.

CRIM 4120. Courts and Sentencing. 4 Hours.

Examines the role of criminal courts in the United States, the structure and organization of the court system, and the flow of cases from arrest to conviction. Focuses on the key actors in the courtroom-prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and court clerks-and the decision-making processes in charging a person with a crime, setting bail, pleading guilty, going to trial, and sentencing. Addresses prospects for reforming courts.

CRIM 4300. Community-Based Corrections. 4 Hours.

Provides an in-depth understanding of the variety of correctional options for law violators that are available within the community. Through lectures, group discussions, presentations, and reading of empirical research, students become knowledgeable about all forms of corrections and correctional facilities outside of jails and prisons, from traditional incarceration programs to the most current programs such as electronic monitoring, house arrest, day treatments, boot camps, and fines. Also discusses the philosophy and effectiveness of different types of community-based corrections while keeping in perspective the impact they have on each component of the criminal justice system.

CRIM 4500. Police Strategy. 4 Hours.

Examines current strategies utilized by U.S. police. Topics include the demand for police service, service delivery, missions and goals, resources and tactics, accountability, ethics, and operational effectiveness measurements. Emphasis is on successfully accomplishing the police mission-in a responsible manner and within the many constraints under which officers and departments must operate. Focuses on in-class small-group work centered on a variety of scenarios in which students are charged with creating reasonable, legal, ethical, and effective solutions. A variety of learning formats are applied including written examinations, in-class group projects, a term paper, and written assignments.

CRIM 4630. Political Crime and Terrorism. 4 Hours.

Provides students an understanding of what political crime and terrorism is, the nature and extent of the problem historically and currently, as well as prevention efforts designed to combat political crime and terrorism. Students are exposed to several sources of information on political crime and terrorism including the news media, scholarly sources, and video accounts.

CRIM 4710. Law and Psychology. 4 Hours.

Examines a broad array of topics, from criminal profiling to an examination of the nature of justice and its relationship to social control. Focuses on five major questions: what forensic psychologists do; how psychologists and lawyers look at the world; how the criminal justice system (police, courts, and corrections) and other institutions involved in social control use psychologists; what psychologists think about the criminal justice system and other institutions of social control; and how psychological (and other behavioral science) research can be used to help prevent crime. Because psychologists and lawyers see the world very differently, the course can help facilitate communication and understanding among present and future practitioners in each field, as well as in criminal justice and delinquency prevention generally.

CRIM 4800. Crime Mapping. 4 Hours.

Designed as a practical and hands-on introduction to various GIS techniques. Offers students an opportunity to obtain an understanding of how geographic information systems (GIS) are used by law enforcement agencies. Covers tools that provide a more complete understanding of crime locations and explores how criminological theory and geographic information together can be used to develop crime prevention/reduction strategies. Focuses on the strengths and limitations of various criminological perspectives, how they may be used to inform enforcement decisions, and how to use GIS applications to create maps that convey a clear message regarding the spatial distribution of a given criminal behavior.

CRIM 4900. Advanced Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 4 Hours.

Focuses on specialized advanced topic in criminal justice to be selected by instructor. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 4949. Senior Capstone Seminar. 4 Hours.

Emphasizes study of organizations and organizational change, with focus on the organizations that comprise the criminal justice system and the environmental contexts in which they operate. Various theories of the structure and processes of organizations and the behavior of groups and individuals within organizations are examined to familiarize students with the different perspectives from which organizations can be studied (the bureaucratic model, the “principles of management” orientation, the human-relations approach, the human-resources approach, and systems theory). Also focuses on understanding change within organizations including a study of principles of organizational change and various approaches to planned change.

CRIM 4970. Junior/Senior Honors Project 1. 4 Hours.

Focuses on in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Combined with Junior/Senior Project 2 or college-defined equivalent for 8 credit honors project. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 4971. Junior/Senior Honors Project 2. 4 Hours.

Focuses on second semester of in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.

CRIM 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 4994. Internship. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity for internship work. May be repeated without limit.

CRIM 5900. Topics in Criminal Justice and Criminology. 4 Hours.

Offers an intensive study of a topic related to criminal justice selected by the instructor. May be repeated up to four times.