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What is a Concentration?

A concentration is an area of emphasis within a major.  It allows students to “concentrate” on courses within the discipline that focus on knowledge related to a specific career or a subdiscipline. Concentrations also highlight the curricular strengths of your degree.  All concentrations are part of a major’s discipline, and therefore, they do not replace a minor.  Minors are rooted in a separate discipline and are required for all bachelor’s degrees.  For example, a student may major in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology and have Psychology as a minor.

Do you need a concentration?

Yes. Students pursuing the B.S. or B.A. in our department are required to choose a concentration. The reason for this is technical and practical.  From a technical standpoint, having concentrations associated with our degrees allows us to organize the curriculum better and offer students more consistent course options.  From a practical perspective, concentrations allow students to emphasize their coursework in areas directly related to a career of choice or a graduate degree.

Which concentration should you choose?

For the B.S. in Sociology, those interested in developing a broad understanding of human social behavior and society should choose the Culture and Society Concentration.  Those interested in developing a general understanding of human social behavior focusing on the non-legal aspects of crime and criminal behavior should consider the Criminology Concentration.  As stated above, this concentration has a curriculum equivalent to what other departments call a “B.S. in Criminology” (different titles, same content, and focus).

Those selecting the B.A. in Criminal Justice will have the option of choosing the Law Enforcement and Administration Concentration or the Forensics Concentration.  The Law Enforcement and Administration Concentration is intended to support careers in the criminal justice system that are not as likely to require a background in scientific research. The Forensics Concentration is intended to support those interested in being forensic investigators within the criminal justice system. Students interested in forensics who would like to emphasize science are encouraged to select a minor with a scientific component.  Students can also take the department’s statistics course and enroll in the thesis to complete a scientific research paper.

If you are uncertain of which of our majors, minors, or concentrations will meet your goals, contact your advisor for help!