Undergraduate Program


The distinctive, interdisciplinary undergraduate major in Criminology, Law & Society (CLS) focuses on the problem of crime and on understanding the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that interact with the law. Basic courses present overviews of legal systems with particular emphasis on criminal and juvenile justice, forms of criminal behavior, the role of law in understanding social and psychological phenomena, and the applications of sociological theory in understanding law and legal systems. Subsequent course work provides a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of crime, criminal justice policy, and socio-legal theory. In addition, substantive areas of law, such as criminal, environmental, and family law, are introduced.

Students are provided with opportunities to become acquainted with the varieties of behavior that society chooses to control or regulate, the methods and institutions used to achieve that control or regulation, and the approaches aimed specifically at altering sanctioned behavior. The course of study provides excellent preparation for law school and for graduate study in sociology, criminology, criminal justice, and other disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs. Students who complete their University education at the baccalaureate level may pursue careers in criminal justice and regulatory agencies, in public policy organizations, and in social service organizations, in law and legal services, or in a wide variety of other areas.

Field study placements are an integral part of all students enrolled in the School of Social Ecology. Placements of particular relevance to CLS students include those in police departments, public defenders' offices, probation and parole agencies, the Orange County District Attorney's Office, the State juvenile detention system, the Orange County Victim/Witness Assistance Program, juvenile shelters, legislative offices, and in private legal firms.

Student Learning Outcomes

Please check out the button below for more details about major/minor requirements, sample academic plans, tentative course listings and the like.

Further Information

Two undergraduate awards are available for CLS Majors. Click below to get a brief synopsis of each award and a list of awardees.