Thematic Areas

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers four different thematic areas of study within the existing rigorous curriculum:

  • Law and Justice
  • Global Criminology
  • Criminology and Public Policy
  • Criminal Justice Organizations and Leadership

The law and justice concentration is focused on the legal, socio-political, and philosophical study of crime and criminal justice. Three primary areas shape the concentration. First, there is a focus on the law as a body of rules and institutions, including the history of criminal law, the basic principles of legal code and processes of lawmaking. Second, the concentration focuses on the sociology of punishment, considering how rationales, strategies and systems of formal control emerge in the context of broader social organizational relations. Finally, the concentration is concerned with the meaning of justice, and the philosophical and political underpinnings of varied and often competing conceptions. The law and justice concentration essentially provides a critical theoretical basis for understanding criminal law, criminal justice systems, and the pursuit of justice in their social and historical context.

The global criminology concentration is focused on key dimensions of international issues in crime and justice. The globalization in many spheres – for example, markets, people, capital, culture, information, knowledge, technology, military, biologically relevant substances – is affecting the causes, motives, opportunities and control of misconduct at the local, national and international levels. Global criminology covers a wide range of interconnected issues and focuses on the need to draw from the wisdom and experience of countries other than one’s own. Crime-related theory, theory-testing, research and policy are studied and conducted through a global lens. A special focus is on international norm creation, enforcement and control, as well as issues of international standards’ legitimacy and justice. Emphasis is placed on the patterns, trends and impact of cross-border criminality (including transnational organized crime) and international law violations with the view of developing preventive and control strategies, mechanisms and measures applicable to traditional and emerging forms of crime.

The criminology and public policy concentration is focused on the contributions that criminological theory and research can make to 1) advancing our knowledge and understanding of criminal behavior and 2) developing effective policies of crime prevention and control. Criminology involves the study of the nature, distribution, and causes of crime and victimization, with particular attention to measuring crime and testing theories about criminal behavior. Our policy focus includes primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention efforts that target individuals, organizations, institutions, communities, and broad social structural and cultural change. The concentration in criminology and public policy is multi-disciplinary: we improve our understanding of crime and its control by applying insights from the social sciences, the humanities, law, and the natural sciences.

The criminal justice organizations and leadership concentration is focused on the study of organizational structures and goals, interdependencies among agencies, qualities of effective leadership, and the legal foundations of organizations. A critical part of this area of study is to understand how discretionary decision making can be successfully managed. Through the study of organizational and leadership theory and practice, students will be able to become effective professionals in the criminal justice system. The study of organizational theory and practice of leadership will enhance the ability of students to understand how various parts or agencies within the criminal justice system interact with one another.

  • Contact

    For information about the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University:

    Call (617) 373-3327