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University offers a new major and minor in criminology

By Madeline Fish, Special to The Chronicle

Starting this fall, a new major and minor is being offered at the University in the field of criminology.

Criminology, which is being administered by the Department of Sociology, is being lead by Associate Professor of Sociology Liena Gurevich. "This type of program is very popular now," said Professor Gurevich. "They garner a lot of majors and people are going on and finding jobs. The institutions of criminal justice are expanding rather than contracting."

"It's an interesting major there are so many different fields within criminology," said Michael Primavera, a senior who minors in sociology.  "There's so much that it offers and a lot of it is very exciting stuff. Just look at all these shows on television, Law and Order: SVU, and CSI. "

The program offers both the major and minor for undergraduate students who are interested in learning about the presence and consequences of crime in society. "Students will learn many different issues," said Gurevich. "Causes of crimes, motivations people develop, consequences of crimes and how society devises punishment systems. It really concerns all the philosophical issues of justice."

Students majoring in Criminology will be able to choose from different tracks, such as crime and justice in society, as well as societal politics and the law. "Requirements are modest," said Gurevich. "We're looking to expand those tracks with institutions of justice, motivations for development of criminal and deviant behavior, and philosophical backgrounds."

Some of the courses being offered include the philosophical views on crime and punishment, crime and delinquency, sociology of terrorism, and crime scene investigation methods. "We have expanded the program and have put out all the courses, the response has been tremendous," said Gurevich. "We've been getting responses from various departments from all over the University, we are going to have a really interesting program that will satisfy a lot of people's interests."

After eight years of teaching criminology courses at Hofstra University, Professor Gurevich is excited about the new major and minor being offered. "I'm looking forward to developing courses and having other professors develop courses for the program that have to do with issues of race, class and gender," said Professor Gurevich. "I really see those as key issues in the contemporary justice systems. It's very difficult to understand this system without unpacking and understanding the connections and all the structural issues."

A degree in criminology will enable students to pursue graduate studies or begin careers in the fields of criminal justice research, administration or policy development. "Even though - as you probably know - crime rates are going down, we have this institutional development that is extremely interesting. It should be studied and explored," said Professor Gurevich.  "There is also another dimension to all that and that's the globalization and the interest in the international dimension of crime, and we want to be on the forefront to tapping into these interesting issues."

"I think that students interested in continuing onto law school, paralegal studies and sociology would be very interested in this major," said Allie Labita, a junior psychology major. "I think it will help to broaden Hofstra's already widespread spectrum of majors, drawing more people with different career paths and goals into the Hofstra community. Criminology is definitely a growing field in recent years, so I think it is good that Hofstra has started offering it."

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