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 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 in Criminology, Law, and Justice. This program 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.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 


Criminology, Law, and Justice
Criminology, Law, and Justice
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. 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 valuable hands-on experience in a local criminal justice setting. A similar program is available in the human services area. 

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple 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.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.

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

Hear from current students

The Department of Sociology and Criminology will offer you the opportunity to ask essential questions about the societies in which we live and participate in research with nationally renowned faculty on a host of topics. You will develop strong theoretical foundations that combine with broad methodological training to develop the skills that lead to successful professional and academic careers; and our culture is characterized by a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.


To earn a degree in criminology, law, and justice, students must complete a minimum of 39 semester hours of coursework 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.

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who wish to earn a bachelor's degree must complete the GE CLAS Core requirements.

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

View Criminology, Law, and Justice in the UI General Catalog to learn more about course requirements for the major or minor and graduating with honors.