The Criminal Justice major provides students with knowledge about the nature and causes of crime and delinquency, understanding of the law, corrections, victims and victim services, courts and law enforcement in American society.

The victimology emphasis provides students with knowledge and understanding of crime victimization, victim services, social and systemic responses to victimization and community and restorative justice principles.

What is Victimology?

Victimology is the study of victims and victimizations. Victimologists research the unique ways individuals experience victimization, trauma and harm, as well as customizable approaches that promote healing and resilience. Empirical studies also deepen our understanding of disproportionate rates of victimizations, examining intersectionality and varying outcomes. Victimologists analyze social and justice system responses to victimization, informing policies and practices which are victim-centered, trauma-informed and non-biased. Since there is at least one victim for every crime, Victimology is relevant and applicable to virtually every facet of our criminal justice system. Yet, it also has widespread applicability within communities, even beyond formal legal structures.

Victimologists explore restorative ways in which all parties (those harmed, those who harm and their community) may work toward repaired relationships, promoting healing rather than compounding or creating additional harms. Applying an enhanced knowledge of victimology has the potential to create healthier and more responsive justice practices for victims, offenders and the communities in which they live. These are just a few of the reasons for an increasing number of career options, both theoretical and applied, within the Victimology field!

Victimology Course Topics

The Victimology Emphasis employs the theory, science and practice of Victimology.

Courses delve into topics such as:

  • various types of victimization and harm (violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking and exploitation, child abuse/neglect, hate crimes, workplace violence, property crimes, etc.)
  • victimology theories and applications
  • victim services
  • victim empowerment and resilience
  • victim rights movements
  • law enforcement-victim investigative interactions
  • involvement of victims in the judicial process
  • relationships between victims and offenders
  • victimization risks and patterns; intersectionality
  • adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • crime and harm prevention
  • Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons
  • social and system responses to victimization
  • transnational crimes (e.g., human trafficking, cyberstalking, identity theft, organized crime, environmental pollution)
  • globalization; the influence of culture, governmental structures and international organizations; international criminal court
  • restorative justice
  • healing harms to victims, as well as the larger community; while supporting accountability and reintegration into society for offenders and those who have harmed others

Career Options

  • Victim/witness coordinator (in county attorney offices across Minnesota)
  • Safe Harbor navigator and related positions (sexual exploitation, trafficking)
  • Restorative justice coordinator/circle facilitator (peacemaking, healing, victim-offender dialogue)
  • Victim advocate; crisis response/intervention (personal and legal advocacy, court support person)
  • Truancy prevention and social & emotional learning programs within schools; suspension and school-to-prison pipeline avoidance
  • Emergency services advocate; family violence shelters; homeless shelters; safe houses; Statewide crisis & crime victim support hotlines
  • Community advocate; community crime/violence prevention coordinator
  • MMIW advocacy and coordination
  • Social justice organizations
  • Vulnerable adult protective services; child protective services (non-licensed)
  • Refugee and immigration services
  • Human rights advocate
  • Various public, private and non-profit sector positions, including social and criminal justice agencies (courts, corrections, non-licensed law enforcement and public safety)
  • Pre-Law degree; graduate school preparation; research

For more information on the courses in this program, visit the course catalog.