I am extremely interested in Criminal Justice and Sociology, but I don't know if I should double major, or if I should get a master's in one area. What's the most logical and cost effective thing to do?
I have a real passion for sociology and criminal justice. I'm not too sure what I want to do career-wise , but I do know that I want to be involved in helping people (especially children) of racial minorities break free from systemic racism. I am extremely passionate about social change and want to work to help fix a justice system that targets and fails socioeconomic minorities. That being said, I have narrowed down the two majors that can help me achieve these goals to sociology and criminal justice. However, I'm not sure what level of degree to pursue. I have been advised to pursue a master's in either subject, but I'm not sure which major is better for my interests. I have also considered double-majoring, but from what I've read I'm not too sure that double majoring is worth it. Any advice on what degree/major I should pursue? Is double majoring really not worth it? If I do double major, will it carry the same value as a master's degree in either area? If I have to choose, how can I know which major is right for me?
#criminal-justice #college #sociology #college-major
I applaud you on your career interests and the passion that you show for each! No doubt whichever major you pursue you will be successful!
To answer your questions specifically, however, you may note that often the criminal justice degree is housed in the Sociology department at the university which should help you narrow your decision when you take coursework to determine the better fit.
As far as how to select a major, I would recommend taking courses in each of the areas to determine where you seem to fit best. Taking a look at the degree plan (i.e. the list of courses required to graduate with a chosen major) could help you identify where your interests lie. Most majors are 30-36 credit hours of coursework (approximately 10-12 courses) beyond the introductory courses. Many times the courses can "double dip" for the general education core and/or major, minor degree requirements. With the criminal justice specialization commonly a part of the sociology department, however, it is not uncommon for a double major in these areas to be prohibited. A double major would not be seen as the equivalent of a master's degree under any circumstances.
Sociology is a broader subject area, whereas criminal justice or criminology is specific. In general in the undergraduate degree, students are exposed to a broad variety of coursework for exploratory, but also general educational purposes. It's in graduate school that students tend to focus on their chosen research question or area of expertise.
Double majors can be very interesting and helpful if, for instance, you don't believe that you'll go on to further your education in graduate school. They may also make sense for a student who is pursuing graduate studies in a particular field where the interdisciplinary approach helps with gaining additional knowledge. On the whole, however, students who are interested in pursuing graduate work do not need a double major. Another option that would alleviate additional time toward degree but that would give some additional credibility in a specific area would be a minor.
To give you an example, I'll use LSU (Tulane doesn't have a criminal justice major, although they do offer sociology and teach coursework related to criminology). Louisiana State University offers both sociology and criminology options. You can find out more information here:
SOCIOLOGY https://www.lsu.edu/hss/sociology/undergraduate_program/sociology_major.php and CRIMINOLOGY https://www.lsu.edu/majors/hss/criminology.php. Criminology falls underneath the Sociology umbrella. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in sociology can be taken for general sociology or with a concentration in criminology.
You can see the degree plans for each on https://catalog.lsu.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=21&poid=10743&returnto=1901.
The coursework can be seen on https://catalog.lsu.edu/content.php?filter%5B27%5D=-1&filter%5B29%5D=&filter%5Bcourse_type%5D=5169&filter%5Bkeyword%5D=&filter%5B32%5D=1&filter%5Bcpage%5D=1&cur_cat_oid=21&expand=&navoid=1949&search_database=Filter#acalog_template_course_filter.
Ideally, you would keep an open mind, take courses, and discover the path that works best for you!
Wishing you much success in the future!
Hi! So, I majored in sociology, became a police officer, retired from that, and became a career counselor at the local workforce office. Here are some observations, some, possibly a bit cynical, but, I think they are worth telling you about.
First, Sociology and Criminal Justice are closely intertwined, and many positions will accept a degree in either field.
Secondly, a double major, or, a major with a minor, is a great idea, but don't do it in two closely related fields. It does not improve your knowledge, skillset, or marketability enough to make it worthwhile. Consider getting it in something like business/finance/management/public administration/urban planning etc.
Third, if you become an entry level worker, which, is where we all started, you will be doing the job given to you, and, won't really have much opportunity to create change. Change happens when policies are changed, or when programs receive better funding, for example. Let me go into this some more. . .
I joined the workforce office in 2008, the last time the economy tanked and people were out of jobs. I quickly learned that, although we helped people, the underlying motivational factor for the overwhelming majority of my coworkers was their own job security. Pause here, and re-read that. I believed that ideally, people should not NEED my help in finding a job. I wanted to teach them everything I knew, so they could navigate the internet, create a good resume, and be self-sufficient. I wanted them to sprout wings and fly! Apparently, that was not a good idea. When the unemployment rates dropped, rather than laying people off in our office, they found "Busy" work for them to do. So, think about the WARS: The war on illiteracy, the war on poverty, the war on drugs. If we "win" the wars, it puts people out of work!
But, I digress. Please dream high, to be that person who can make a difference in what these agencies are doing!
Also, about a Masters degree. Please wait until you start working, and figure out what direction you will be going. You want the Masters to be relevant to that career goal, and, there's a good chance you can get tuition assistance from your employer. Additionally, you will benefit more from masters level programs if you have some actual work experience under your belt. The material will make much more sense!
I hope this helps! Thanks for wanting to make a difference!