Criminology

Are you curious about what causes crime? Or, why some behaviours are defined as crimes? Have you wondered why some people engage in criminal behaviour while others do not? Would you like to know more about how society defines and responds to crime, and what happens to people in the criminal justice system?

What is Criminology?

All societies define some behaviours as deviant, with certain activities considered so harmful that they are defined formally as crimes. Criminology is the systematic study of crime and criminal behaviour, including their causes, the legal aspects, prevention, and control. It is an exciting and young discipline that uses multiple perspectives (e.g., sociological, psychological, legal) to understand criminal activity and the social context of crime. Knowledge created by criminologists informs social policies that aim to prevent crime and to improve the response to crime.

What are the strengths of studying Criminology at SMU?

Our criminology program offers a comprehensive range of thought-provoking courses. The criminology faculty at Saint Mary’s University have developed innovative research programs that investigate a range of criminological issues, including organized crime and youth-at-risk (Schneider); restorative justice and gender-based violence (Crocker); terrorism (Carver); mental illness and crime (Livingston); violence and fear of crime (Collins); and LGBTIQ-based violence and hate crimes (Gomez). For students seeking advance critical training in criminology, SMU offers the only Master of Arts program in Criminology in Atlantic Canada. Few job titles explicitly say “criminologist;” however, a degree in Criminology provides foundational knowledge and skills that are well suited for a number of interesting career options.  

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