In 1924, Edwin Sutherland defined Criminology as “the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon that includes within its scope the process of making laws, of breaking laws, and of reacting toward the breaking of laws.” Modern criminology includes a wider range of malfeasance and its precursors, institutions that are not formally part of the criminal justice system, and the experiences of victims. Research is undertaken at a variety of scales, from human physiology, to individual and group behavior, to the functioning of households, organizations, neighborhoods, cultures, and a broad range of political jurisdictions.

The University of Pennsylvania has the longest continuous program of research and teaching in criminology of any American university, with a rich history, strong traditions, and a distinguished group of alumni. Current faculty are highly regarded as teachers and researchers who represent a range of academic disciplines: psychology, sociology, economics, public policy, law, statistics, and criminology. All are professionally committed to even-handed science in service of the public good. The department offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in Criminology, a unique M.S degree in which research and practitioner content are combined, and a research-centered Ph.D. program for a small number of talented graduate students.