The criminology, law, and justice major in the Department of Sociology and Criminology examines issues related to race and ethnic diversity and gender and poverty, promoting awareness of these important topics.

Students learn sociological explanations for crime and criminal justice; the operation of law and the criminal justice system, including their complex interplay with institutions such as politics and the economy, and important data sources on crime in the United States and internationally. 

This major provides a solid foundation for graduate or professional study in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, psychology, law, social work, urban planning, education, social policy, and similar areas. 

Why Study at Iowa

The Department of Sociology and Criminology has a strong undergraduate program with outstanding academics and comprehensive career preparation, including careful advising by faculty members. In addition to preparing students for careers in social service, criminal justice, and other areas, this major offers an integrated package of courses, research training, writing enhancement, international perspective, and internships to provide graduates with impressive credentials. 

Iowa offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Criminology, Law, and Justice. Both degree programs will challenge students to think critically and creatively about why things in society occur and how people behave when engaged with "social issues." 

Students majoring in criminology, law and justice have the opportunity to graduate with honors in the major. Departmental honors students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.33 in all University of Iowa courses and in all sociology and criminology, law, and justice courses. An honors thesis gives students the opportunity to conduct research in close consultation with a faculty member of the student's choice. 

Course Work

To earn a BA degree in criminology, law, and justice, students must complete a minimum of 39 semester hours of course work in the major. One course in sociology and a minimum of 15 semester hours of elective courses also are required. Students will have the opportunity to take classes in a variety of areas, including gender and family, organizations, social psychology, policy, inequality, criminology, and criminal justice. 

The BS degree in criminology, law, and justice is for students seeking additional quantitative methods experience and includes additional semester hours in calculus and theory and methods courses, which will help develop skills needed in graduate school, data analysis, or careers in research.

To earn a BS degree, students must complete a minimum of 51 semester hours of course work in the major, including 36 semester hours of criminology/sociology courses and 15 semester hours of quantitative methods experience. Other requirements include one course in sociology and a minimum of 15 semester hours of elective courses. 

Course work for the major will culminate in a writing/research portfolio that will help students search for a job or apply to graduate school. 

See Criminology, Law, and Justice in the UI General Catalog to learn more about this major, the minor, and graduating with honors. 

Admission Requirements

Students in the criminology, law, and justice major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Crime and Justice in Britain (summer class):

What better way to gain insight into American criminal justice than by studying its British roots and visiting important crime and justice sites in Great Britain?

The first two weeks of this summer course are online and introduce students to crime and criminal justice in Britain, drawing comparisons and highlighting features important to understanding crime and justice in America. The second two weeks of class are based in London and include classroom and experiential learning through visits to key criminal justice and historical sites.

Site visits vary by year, but typically include the London Criminal Courts to observe court proceedings and trials, a London police station, a Victorian era prison museum, and the Tower of London. 

For more information, visit the Study Abroad website.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Although internships are not required for this major, they are strongly encouraged. If you are interested in criminology, you may enroll in an internship that will provide hands-on experience in a local criminal justice setting. A similar program is available in the human services area. 


The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs


Criminology, Law, and Justice (BA)
Criminology, Law, and Justice (BS)
Criminology, Law, and Justice
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan