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Top 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions by Prospective Students

IUP’s Undergraduate Criminology Program
Prepared by Kendra Bowen

What is Criminology?

Criminology is the scientific study of crime as an individual and social phenomenon. Research areas include different types of crime as well as its causes and explanations. We also examine the operation of the criminal justice system and public policy.

What is the difference between Criminology and Criminal Justice?

Whereas criminology is the study of crime, criminal justice refers to the systemic and policy aspects of the field utilized by local, state, and national governments. Aspects of the field include policing, corrections, courts, and other real world applications.

The Criminology program at IUP views these two areas as being closely interrelated, and we offer courses that enhance student knowledge in both areas.

Is the Criminology Department the same as the Criminal Justice Training Center at IUP?

No, they are separate programs, serving different populations and purposes. The Criminology Department is an academic department that offers courses leading to an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts (or B.A.) degree. (The department also offers master’s degree programs and a doctoral degree program. Additional information about the graduate programs can be found on the Criminology Department website).

The Criminal Justice Training Center provides nonacademic career training for the professional advancement of criminal justice practitioners, such as its Act 120 Municipal Police Academy program.

Because the programs are separate, credits earned in one program (for example, the Criminology undergraduate program) do not transfer to the other (for example, the Criminal Justice Training Center) program.

What is the size of IUP’s undergraduate Criminology Program and Indiana University of Pennsylvania?

The Criminology Department is one of the largest departments on campus with approximately one thousand majors and minors. Indiana University of Pennsylvania has a current enrollment of approximately 14,000 students and is the largest university in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Are there any groups or associations for students to join?

There are many organizations available for students to join at the university level. In addition, we have two active associations specifically for Criminology students. Alpha Phi Sigma is a national honor society, and the Criminology Association is open to all Criminology students. Both groups stay very active within the department as well as throughout the campus, conducting activities such as fundraising and service. More can be learned about these associations on the Criminology Student Organizations webpage.

Who actually teaches in the classroom?

IUP is unusual in that all of the faculty members teach multiple courses each semester. Unlike many other universities, teaching is the top priority on our campus and in our department, and a heavy emphasis is placed on being an effective professor who is responsive to student needs.

Where do I find the requirements for a major in Criminology?

You can use the Criminology Checklist available in the Criminology Advising Center.

You can find the requirements for all majors in the IUP catalog or for purchase at the Co-Op store on campus.

How would I know in which classes to enroll?

You can use the Criminology Checklist available in the Criminology Advising Center. If you still have questions or concerns, you can stop by or call the Criminology Advising Center (G1A, Wilson Hall; 724-357-5728) to speak to an advisor.

What is the Criminology Advising Center?

Most undergraduate programs require students to consult with a specific faculty member for advising. The Criminology Department designed the Criminology Advising Center to support students from a centralized office. We offer a walk-in service for students who have scheduling questions or concerns.

Do I need a minor?

Yes, all Criminology majors must have a minor. The minor can be any minor that is offered on campus. You can find out if a department has a minor by consulting the undergraduate catalog. Most minors are anywhere from 15 to 21 credit hours. Criminology Pre-Law majors do not need a minor. The seven additional Pre-Law courses will count as a concentration and fulfill the minor requirement.

What kind of things do Criminology majors select for a minor?

Minors are as varied as the interests of our students. If you have some language competency, you might consider taking a minor in the language. Many of our students opt for Psychology or Business minors. Criminology students also frequently select the Criminology/Pre-Law program. One of our newer minors is the Information Assurance minor, which combines coursework in Computer Science with Criminology courses. We encourage students to select a minor that will broaden their educational experience.

Once I am a Criminology major, how do I declare a minor?

You contact the department where the major is housed to declare the minor. In most cases, this means that you would fill out some paperwork in that department.

I am a transfer student. How can I find out what courses transfer to IUP from my other school?

You can contact the Transfer Equivalency Office, Office of Transfer Services, Sutton Hall, Room G27, IUP, (phone: 800-442-6830) to inquire about how your courses will transfer.

You can also reference the on-line transfer equivalency website. This website will give you an idea of which courses may transfer. Keep in mind that this does not guarantee that the course will transfer. The final decision is made by the Transfer Equivalency Office.

What can I do with a Criminology degree?

Career opportunities are quite broad for this field. Our program graduates have been appointed as analysts with the FBI (which hopefully leads to FBI Special Agent), Secret Service Agents, Drug Enforcement Administration Agents, probation officers, parole officers, jail and prison counselors, local police officers, state police, counselors in juvenile and adult programs, coordinators of private security for corporations, and investigators for insurance companies.

Is there an opportunity to receive hands-on experience while still in school?

Yes, we have an internship program available to qualified students who want an experiential learning opportunity. We have one professor dedicated to the internship program and to the success of our students enrolled in that program. Criminology internship opportunities will give you more details.

Are there any opportunities to find potential employers in Criminology and Criminal Justice while attending IUP?

In addition to our internship program, every year we conduct a career fair that brings potential employers from the local, state, and federal levels to help our students find jobs when they graduate. In addition, the Pennsylvania State Police has a recruiter in the Department of Criminology (Wilson G1).

How do I apply to IUP?

See the IUP Admissions page for information on how to apply.

What if I am not sure about which major I want? Or I decide later on to major in Criminology?

Many students are unsure about where their futures are headed as they enter college. It is not necessary to declare a major immediately, and students can change majors as their interests shift or become clear.

Should a student elect to change career paths, a Change of Major form can be submitted. This form can be obtained at the Criminology Advising Center. Prior to obtaining the form, make sure that you meet the requirements for a change of major: 1) must have earned at least 12 credit hours at IUP and 2) have at least a 2.0 GPA.

If I would like to schedule a tour of campus and possibly meet with a faculty member of the Department of Criminology, who do I contact?

This requires two steps: First, contact the IUP Admissions Office either by phone (800-442-6830) or on line to make a reservation for an IUP tour. Second, once the tour date and time have been established, contact the Criminology Department at 724-357-2720 to make an appointment to meet with a faculty member on that day. With enough notice, we may be able to arrange for you to sit in on a class if you would like.

Please note: While we try to accommodate drop-in visitors, you may be disappointed if you do not make arrangements in advance.

What if my question has not been answered by the previous questions and answers?

Feel free to e-mail us at crim-dept@iup.edu with additional questions and we will be happy to provide you with further information. Please be aware that this e-mail account is staffed part-time at this point in the academic year, and thus there may be a brief delay in getting back to you.

  • Criminology Department
  • Wilson Hall, Room 200
    411 North Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2720
  • Fax: 724-357-4018
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.