Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]
Offices & Services


Justice Law and Society

NOTE: This page contains information from the 2012-2013 Catalog. It remains available for archival purposes only. For the most current WC Catalog content, please visit http://catalog.washcoll.edu and download this year’s edition.
Division of Sociology and Political Science, Interdisciplinary Minor


The minor in Justice, Law and Society provides an interdisciplinary study of justice, law, civil liberties, crime and ethics in both domestic and global contexts, from a variety of social sciences and humanities perspectives. The Minor explores a range of topics, such as social control, variant behaviors, legal processes and human rights, as well as crime ranging from street violence to complex organizational crime, often referred to as white collar and transnational. The Minor is open to students with various majors and encourages them to: explore theoretical explanations of justice, law, civil rights, and criminal activities; and to use an array of research tools to study incidence, prevention, and reduction policies associated with American and international legal systems.

The minor prepares students for post-graduate study at more than 30 Ph.D. and 100 Master’s and certificate programs here in the U.S. Juris Doctor programs (law school) or combined law and Master’s programs in criminology may also be of interest to students with this minor.

Students seeking entry level positions in law firms, advocacy organizations, government, and social service agencies involved with the administration of justice will find the Justice, Law and Society minor has provided useful theoretical and practical concepts.

This interdisciplinary minor consists of seven courses (28 credits). Sociology 101 (Introduction to Sociology) and Sociology 240 (Criminology) are required unless a waiver is granted by the director. Students must select two other Department of Sociology and Anthropology courses of which one pertains to criminology and three elective courses from the list specified below. The three electives include selections from both Humanities and Social Sciences courses. Students interested in pursuing the Justice, Law and Society minor should consult with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology on their course selections and should be aware that internship opportunities in justice and law related organizations are offered through the Washington Center program as well as several of the courses listed below.

Department of Sociology and Anthropology Courses That Count Toward the Justice, Law and Society Minor

  • Criminology Options (one required):
  • SOC 340. Victimology
  • SOC 341. Variant Behavior
  • SOC 344. White Collar and Commercial Crime
  • SOC 345. Transnational and Organized Crime
  • SOC 347. Juvenile Delinquency and Social Welfare
  • Additional Sociology Course Options (one required):
  • SOC 221. Social Inequalities
  • SOC 250. Cities and Suburbs
  • SOC 341. Variant Behavior (if not taken as a criminology option)
  • SOC 356. Complex Organizations
  • SOC 483-484. Field Experience in Social Welfare
  • Note: Special Topics courses (such as SOC 394 Environmental Justice, Law and Sustainable Development: Legal Theory and Practice and SOC 394 Fraud: A Forensic View and Analysis) may be used to meet Criminology and/or Additional Sociology Course options with approval from the director.

Other Social Science Courses That Count toward the Justice, Law and Society Minor Elective Requirement:

  • ANT 109. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • BUS 303. Legal Environment of Business
  • POL202, Justice, Power, and Political Thought
  • POL 320. Law and Society
  • POL 323. Constitutional Law
  • POL 374. International Organization and the Law
  • Note: The elective courses may have prerequisite courses that must be taken prior to enrollment. See course descriptions for further information.

Humanities Courses That Count toward the Justice, Law and Society Minor Elective Requirement: 

  • PHL 210, Introduction to Political Philosophy
  • PHL 225. Ethics
  • PHL 226. Global Ethics
  • PHL 300. Business Ethics
  • PHL 303. Environmental Ethics
  • PHL 325. Biomedical Ethics
  • PHL 335. Philosophy of Law
  • Note: The elective courses may have prerequisite courses that must be taken prior to enrollment. See course descriptions for further information.
Course Descriptions

SOC 101. Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to basic concepts and theories in sociology concerning the nature of society, culture, and personality. Consideration of social processes, groups, and institutions found in modern American society.

SOC 221. Social Inequalities

The nature of the systems of social stratification and racial inequality as well as the interaction between social class and race in the United States. Personal consequences of the various forms of inequality and perceptions of the legitimacy of social systems based on race are considered. Prerequisite: Sociology 101.

SOC 240. Criminology

Study of the nature, causes, and social significance of crime. Prerequisite: Sociology 101.

SOC 250. Cities and Suburb

Cities from their origins to the present. Cities are both causes and consequences of social and technical change: therefore they are always places of social problems and conflict. Course will focus on medieval and industrial cities, and on the newly emerging “edge cities.” Prerequisite: Sociology 101 or Anthropology 105.

SOC 341. Variant Behavior

An exploration of behavior that has been socially defined as “deviant.” The nature, sources, and consequences of this definition will be discussed. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 and one additional course in sociology.

SOC 344. White Collar and Commercial Crime

Exploration of foundational concepts of white-collar criminology using some of the more significant cases of the past 30 years. Emphasis on offenses involving consumer fraud, institutional and political corruption, and crimes likely to increase in frequency and magnitude such as health care fraud, financial transactions offenses, and cyber-crimes.

Students examine enforcement patterns and evaluate reforms under legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley. Prerequisite: Sociology 240.

SOC 347. Juvenile Delinquency and Social Welfare

Examines theories of delinquency causation and looks critically at programs that treat delinquents and status offenders, nationally and in Maryland. Students visit detention center and Juvenile Court and talk with experts in the field. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 and at least two of the following: Sociology 212, 240,250, 303, 341, 382; or prior permission of the instructor.

SOC 356. Complex Organizations

The nature of bureaucratic and other formal organizations and the changing place of the bureaucracy in society. The relationship between bureaucratic structure and individual development. Prerequisite: Sociology 101

SOC 340. Victimology

The concepts and theories surrounding victimization in the U.S. resulting from violent crime and white collar crime form the basis of this course. Students will explore the history and social context of the victims’ movement. They will develop an understanding of how victimization data are collected (i.e. national surveys; emergency room data, etc) and will learn about victim services provided nationally as well as on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Discussions of race, gender, and economic class will be woven through the analysis of specific victim categories such as: domestic and family violence; hate crimes; violent street incidents; campus violence; identity fraud; and terror victims. The course will present students with experiential learning opportunities as well as a forum for assessing public policy options that address the legal, financial, medical, and emotional needs of crime victims and their families. Prerequisite: Sociology 240.

SOC 345. Transnational and Organized Crime

This course has three components. The first portion will address organized crime in the U.S. The second section will examine transnational crimes. The third part will explore regional crime groups on various continents. Students will use sociological theories of deviance, comparative justice models, and a new vocabulary that applies to transnational crimes as we move through the course. Prerequisite: Sociology 240.

SOC 483-484. Field Experience in Social Welfare

A study of the organization and operation of social agencies. Field Experience in welfare work under professional supervision. Prerequisite: Sociology 382 and prior permission of the instructor.

ANT 109. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used in academia, business and government to manage large datasets of spatially-linked information to provide users with powerful analytic tools. Classroom discussions introduce the theories and uses of GIS and focus on the organizational issues that impact the implementation of GIS in our society. Lab activities teach the student how to extract and present GIS data in graphical form and how to construct and augment GIS databases using on-the-ground data gathering, map point-plotting equipment, and auxiliary data bases.

BUS 303. Legal Environment of Business

Study of the various legal environments in which business operates. American government regulation of business is examined in detail.

PHL 210, Introduction to Political Philosophy

Political philosophy applies the tools of philosophical analysis to the challenges of politics and social life. Most fundamentally, political philosophy seeks to answer the question, how should we organize our society? The course content may focus on such themes as rights, justice, equality, freedom, power, oppression, exploitation, multiculturalism, obligations of the State, and the duties of citizenship. Prerequisite: Philosophy 100

PHL 225. Ethical Theory

An examination of some of the major ethical theories in Western philosophy. Applications of these theories to concrete ethical problems will be considered. Special attention will be given to Consequentialist, Deontological, and Virtue theories. Readings will be drawn from classical and contemporary authors. Prerequisite: Philosophy 100

PHL 226. Global Ethics

As we become a global community, the need for secular ethical discourse becomes increasingly important. This course will explore how international culture, policy, and standards impact ethical practices around the world. Current events, anecdotes, and personal experiences will be brought together to highlight ethical theory in action in today’s global environment. General topics include: the Absolutism-Relativism debate, The Ethics of Globalization, Global Business Ethics, Global Bioethics with emphasis on Feminist issues, Global Environmental Ethics, and the Ethics of Warfare and Terrorism. Prerequisite: Philosophy 100.

PHL 300. Business Ethics

A course focused on major ethical theories and principles as they apply to individuals, companies, corporations, and consumers in the business world. Typical issues treated are: corporate social responsibility; government versus self-regulation; employee and consumer safety; whistle-blowing; deceptive advertising; conflicts in accounting; insider trading and issues in international business. Prerequisite: Philosophy 100

PHL 303. Environmental Ethics

A study of the nature and history of the environmental movement and our ethical responsibilities with regard to such current issues as the preservation of species, animal rights, the value of ecosystems, ozone depletion, and “deep” or radical ecology. Prerequisite: Philosophy 100

PHL 325. Medical Ethics

This course focuses on patients rights, duties of physicians, conflicts of interest between regulators, pharmaceutical companies, and physicians. Prerequisite: Philosophy 100

PHL 335. Philosophy of Law

This course covers three areas: (1) the nature of law, (2) the relation between law and morality, and (3) the nature and justification of punishment. Legal philosophers of various viewpoints will be covered. The class will meet with the judge of the Second Maryland Circuit in his courtroom and make an all-day field trip to one or more Maryland prisons. Prerequisite: Philosophy 100

POL 202, Justice, Power, and Political Thought

This course will introduce students to the study of political philosophy by examining the ways many of the most influential political theorists have struggled to define the nature of justice, as well as developing an understanding of how theorists have approached the question of founding just regimes; ensuring that just systems of government operate legitimately once established; and assessing the major causes for the deterioration of regimes based on justice.

POL 320. Law and Society

A study of the American system of criminal justice. The major emphases of the course are the operation of the institutions and processes of the system, the constitutional rights of those accused of crime, and the social goals and consequences of criminal punishment. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.

POL 323. Constitutional Law

An analysis of the distribution of power among the three branches of the federal government, and between the federal and state levels of government, as specified in major decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court itself will be studied as a political institution, with emphasis on its role in a democratic political system. The course also includes a study of the constitutional rights of individuals, as specified by the U.S. Supreme Court, with primary emphasis on issues of freedom and equality.  Prerequisite: Political Science 102.

POL 374. International Organization and the Law

A study of organized human efforts made throughout history to promote international cooperation and peace. Special attention is given to the principles and rules of international law regulating national conduct in international affairs, the League of Nations, the United Nations, and contemporary blueprints for world federation and government. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.