Undergraduate

**Please note: In order to participate in the Criminology undergraduate program, you must be a student of the University of Pennsylvania. Please visit Penn's admissions page to apply.**

The Penn Criminology Major offers students a unique education in crime and criminal justice policy. Students majoring in criminology will gain a broad understanding of the socio-political context of crime and the bio-psychological analysis of violent and anti-social behavior. Every major is required to develop a research proposal as part of senior capstone experience.

Successful completion of the Criminology major requires a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, and satisfactory performance in the 400 level research seminar (e.g. CRIM410).  A "D" grade is not considered satisfactory performance.

Undergraduate Major

Penn offers the only undergraduate major in criminology at an Ivy League university.

  • The undergraduate criminology major is based on a 14 credit unit (CU), interdisciplinary focus on theory and applied criminological research. While the criminology major covers the broad epistemology of the discipline it concludes with a more narrow focus on application in a senior capstone course.
  • The major was designed with an emphasis on theoretical and methodological frameworks developed in the social and behavioral sciences for generating and assessing knowledge about crime and social control. These frameworks, from statistics to neuroscience, constitute a truly liberal approach to the subject of crime.
  • Majors are exposed to a diverse liberal arts education that is closely linked to allied social sciences. Course offerings in criminology are interdisciplinary and expose students to an expanding body of applied science that has practical importance, including becoming knowledgeable on functional aspects of controlling crime, the structure of the courts, and the evidentiary basis for public policy decisions in crime control.
  • Consistent with the different levels of social inquiry, there are different methods of studying criminology. But for this major, the emphasis is on criminology as an applied quantitative social science and how the products of that science can inform public policy.
  • All majors develop a research project as part of their senior capstone course. Students majoring in criminology and graduating with Honors expand on their senior capstone project and write a senior thesis. The program is quantitatively oriented and students writing a thesis generally collect and analyze data for their research.