Department of Sociology & Criminology

M.A. Criminology Required Courses

CRIM 6600: Advanced Seminar

The purpose of this seminar is to provide first year graduate students with the opportunity to reflect on (and take on) some of the challenges associated with conducting a major independent research and writing project (the MA thesis). The seminar places particular attention to drafting a research proposal and all that entails (identifying a topic, narrowing the focus, conducting a literature review, identifying voids in the research, crafting a problem statement, etc.)


CRIM 6601: Advanced Theory

This seminar course is concerned with examining current themes and debates in criminological and sociological theory. Attention will be given to the influence of critical social theory, postmodernist, and poststructuralist writings for theorizing crime, criminality and other forms of regulation. Students may also be exposed to debates and critical discussions concerning criminology as a body of knowledge, the future of criminology as a discipline


CRIM 6602: Advanced Research Methodology

This seminar course is designed to cover advanced topics, issues and techniques in a range of research methods.  Students will be encouraged to apply a reflexive critique and understand the link between methodology and theory.


CRIM 6404: Critical Criminology

Critical criminology challenges the dominant paradigms of crime-control, adopting instead a social justice approach to crime. Critical criminologists draw on theoretical perspective that's challenge existing relations of power. In this seminar students will explore central themes of critical criminology including power; the social construction of crime; governance and regulation; the politicization of crime control; and, the significance of gender, race and class. Using these themes, students will probe into specific topics depending on the research expertise of the course instructor. Students will also apply the themes of critical criminology to better understand the issues underlying their chosen thesis research topic.


Advanced Topics in Criminology

The topic of the advanced seminar changes every year. Below are some recent examples of subjects taught in this seminar.


Canadian Penal Policy, Practice & Research

Through critical socio-legal inquiry, this course examines the effects of progressive and oppressive policies and practices characterizing the administration of the contemporary Canadian penal system. This course provides an overview of the development and assessment of public policy with particular emphasis on Canadian criminal justice policy. Students will investigate the principles and techniques of public policy development, implementation and evaluation and apply them to selected topical Canadian justice issues. Specifically, students will develop an understanding of: (i) the policy development process: how and why social problems are selected as the subject of public policy; how policy problems and the goals of public policy are defined; consideration of the various instruments governments may use to address policy goals; discussion of the sources of information used in the formulation of policy; (ii) the ways in which governments implement policies and the factors that determine the extent to which the implementation has been successful, and (iii) the tools used in analyzing the effectiveness/impact of policies. Students will apply these understandings by conducting an independent policy analysis of a topical justice issue. Students will demonstrate the capacity for understanding and communicating thoughtful views regarding complex ideas.


Theory and Practice of Crime Prevention

Instructor: Stephen Schneider

Crime prevention has been broadly defined as “the anticipation, recognition, and appraisal of a crime risk and the initiative of some action to remove it”. One rationale underlying crime prevention is that the ‘cops, courts and corrections' approach has been unable to cope with the actual quantity of crime, and, of most relevance to the field of crime prevention fails to address the opportunities and the root causes that give rise to criminal behaviour. The goals of this course are to (i) help students nurture a better understanding of all facets of crime prevention, (ii) nurture their analytical thinking and problem-oriented skills essential to crime prevention project planning and implementation, (iii) provide students with practical skills necessary to planning, implementing, and sustaining crime prevention projects, and (iv) help students develop their communication and writing skills central to crime prevention planning, such as drafting crime prevention plans. This course places equal emphasis on both theory and practice, mixing an academic content with practical case studies, technical skill enhancement, and hands-on learning experiences. Students are provided with a service learning option in which they conduct fieldwork with a non-governmental organization that provides social developmental interventions for children and youth at risk of future criminal and anti-social behaviour. 


Crime in the Media

Instructor: Michele Byers

This graduate seminar special topics course will explore how media texts produce and are produced by a variety of contested discourses about criminality, identity, citizenship, and space.  Focusing primarily on contemporary texts, particularly from film and television, this course will look at the changing landscape of contemporary media production and reception and the political landscape that has underwritten these changes, along with changes in the way we understand things like prisons, policing, violence, victims, democracy, rights, and nation. This course will look at the way various media texts that take criminality as their focal point have in some way tried to grapple with issues of crime, identity, citizenship, and space, and how their ability to do so relates to the particular socio-historical contexts in which they are/were produced.


Law in Society

Instructor:  Val Marie Johnson

This seminar is an interdisciplinary examination of law and legal processes as social institutions inseparable from the context in which they operate. The creation, interpretation, and enforcement of laws occur in connection with historical change, social and cultural norms, and unequal power relations. Using theory, history, government documents, and case law, the course will cover a range of perspectives and issues, and examine law in theory and practice as historically specific manifestations of the social relations around class, gender, sexuality, race and colonialism, citizenship, and nation.

Issues of Corruption

Instructor: Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt

This seminar is an interdisciplinary study of corruption as a global phenomenon, albeit with an emphasis on Latin America. Designed for students from Criminology, International Development Studies, Political Science, or Sociology, the course explores cultural and historical issues, as well as the existing theoretical literature. Also, participants will study specific manifestations of corruption in various Latin American societies as well as analyze the criminogenic effects of globalization. Finally, students will examine the 'new corruption' that materialized during the dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori in Peru (1990-2000).