Criminology (CRIM)

CRIM 100 Criminology

This introductory course examines the multi-disciplinary science of law-making, law-breaking, and law-enforcing. It reviews theories and data predicting where, when, by whom and against whom crimes happen. It also addresses the prevention of different offense types by different kinds of offenders against different kinds of people. Police, courts, prisons, and other institutions are critically examined as both preventing and causing crime. This course meets the general distribution requirement.

For BA Students: Society Sector

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 200 Criminal Justice

This course examines how the criminal justice system responds to crime in society. The course reviews the historical development of criminal justice agencies in the United States and Europe and the available scientific evidence on the effect these agencies have on controlling crime. The course places an emphasis on the functional creation of criminal justice agencies and the discretionary role decision makers in these agencies have in deciding how to enforce criminal laws and whom to punish. Evidence on how society measures crime and the role that each major criminal justice agency plays in controlling crime is examined from the perspective of crime victims, police, prosecutors, jurors, judges, prison officials, probation officers and parole board members. Using the model of social policy evaluation, the course asks students to consider how the results of criminal justice could be more effectively delivered to reduce the social and economic costs of crime.

For BA Students: Society Sector

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 240 Forensic Analysis

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 250 Statistics for the Social Sciences I

Statistical techniques and quantitative reasoning are essential tools for properly examing questions in the social sciences. This course introduces students to the concepts of probability, estimation, confidence intervals, and how to use the statistical concepts and methods to answer social science questions. The course will require the use of R, a free, open source statistical analysis program. This course has been approved for the quantitative data analysis requirement (QDA).

Taught by: Ridgeway

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 251 Statistics for the Social Sciences II

In this course, students learn to conduct quantitative data analyses for social sciences, with an emphasis on identifying causal relationships in data. Many social science analyses aim to answer causal questions: Do longer prison sentences reduce crime? Do tougher gun laws reduce homicides and suicides? Can summer jobs help keep youth safe? Students will learn about research designs and data analysis methods to answer these kinds of questions, and especially to learn to implement them in practice. The goal of this class is to help students conduct their own analyses, and to become critical readers of statistical analyses, both in social science publications and in public discourse. The focus will be on what to compute and how to interpret the results. The emphasis is on the intelligent use of statistics. We will be using R, an open-source programming language.

Course usually offered in spring term

Prerequisite: CRIM 250

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 260 Crime and Human Development

One of the central research problems in criminology is the relationship between human development and the likelihood of committing crime. This course will examine the tools for measuring the onset of crime, its persistence, intermittency, and desistence. These tools include the study of birth cohorts of everyone born in a certain time and place, life course studies of juvenile delinquents and non-delinquents, trajectory analysis of people studied from pre-school through middle age, and interviews with 70 year old former delinquents who reflect on how their life-course affected the crimes they committed. This course will also examine the research findings that have been produced using these tools. Students will be asked to consider what these findings imply for major theories of crime causation as well as policies for crime prevention.

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 270 Biopsychosocial Criminology

Is there a "natural-born killer"? Why don't psychopaths have a conscience? And is it morally wrong for us to punish those who are biologically-wired for a life of crime? This interdisciplinary biosocial course argues that answers to these inscrutable questions can be found in the fledging field of "neurocriminology". This new sub-discipline brings together the social, clinical, and neurosciences to help us better understand, predict, and prevent future crime. We will explore the biosocial bases to crime and violence, analyze controversial neuroethical, legal and philosophical issues surrounding neurocriminology, and take a field trip to prison. This interdisciplinary course presents perspectives from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, criminology, sociology, law, business, public health, psychiatry, anthropology, neuroimaging, neuroendocrinology, forensics, nutrition, and pediatrics. It is suitable for those without a background in biology or criminology. It is particularly relevant for majors in Criminology, Psychology, Nursing, and Biological Basis of Behavior.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 280 Neighborhood Dynamics of Crime

Crime varies in time, space and populations as it reflects ecological structures and the routine social interactions that occur in daily life. Concentrations of crime can be found among locations, with antisocial activities like assaults and theft occurring at higher rates because of the demographic make-up of people (e.g. adolescents) or conflicts (e.g. competing gangs), for reasons examined by ecological criminology. Variation in socio-demographic structures (age, education ratios, and the concentration of poverty) and the physical environment (housing segregation, density of bars, street lighting) predicts variations between neighborhoods in the level of crime and disorder. Both ethnographic and quantitative research methods are used to explore the connections between the social and physical environment of areas and antisocial behavior.

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 300 Law and Criminal Justice

This course explores constitutional criminal procedure or the law of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Topics included the laws and rules associated with search and seizure, arrest, interrogation, the exclusionary rule, and deprivation of counsel. Social science evidence that supports or raises questions about legal doctrine will be examined. No prerequisites are required.

One-term course offered either term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 315 American Death Penalty in Theory and Practice

Over the past forty years, in response to controversy over the American death penalty, the Supreme Court has created a framework of rules designed to make the death penalty conform to current societal standards. In this course, we will identify the critical issues identified by the courts (and the critics) in light of the practical realities of capital litigation, and we will ask whether the efforts to address these issues have been successful. The class will use specific case examples to identify the critical points in a death penalty case- for example, the decision to designate a prosecution as "capital", the performance of defense counsel, the penalty decision, and the method of execution. These critical stages will provide a platform for discussing critical issues like the proper limits of discretion; bias; cruelty; and the decision to disqualify certain groups of people from capital punishment (the mentally disabled, minors).

Taught by: Dolgenos

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 402 Criminal Justice Data Analytics

This course covers the tools and techniques to acquire, organize, link and visualize complex data in order to answer questions about crime and the criminal justice system. The course is organized around key questions about police shootings, victimization rates, identifying crime hotspots, calculating the cost of crime, and finding out what happens to crime when it rains. On the way to answer these questions, the course will cover topics including data sources, basic programming techniques, SQL, regular expressions, webscraping, and working with geographic data. The course will use R, an open-source, object oriented scripting language with a large set of available add-on packages.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 410 Research Seminar in Experiments in Crime and Justice

This seminar focuses on examining data from experiments in criminology including: randomized controlled trials of criminal justice policies, "natural" experiments in crime, and other quasi-experimental studies. A series of experiments conducted by Penn scholars and elsewhere will be examined. This seminar also guides criminology majors in writing a research proposal for their thesis. Students will learn about how to formulate a research question, develop a review of the literature, and how to apply necessary empirical methods. The final paper for this course will be a research proposal that can serve as the basis for the student's senior thesis and to satisfy the senior capstone requirement. Readings will come from the disciplines of criminology, sociology, psychology, economics, and urban planning.

Course usually offered in fall term

Prerequisites: Any statistics or research methods courses leading to familiarity with Excel, SPSS, R, Stata, SAS, Matlab, or NumPy.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 450 Senior Research Thesis

Senior Research Thesis is for senior Criminology majors only. Students are assigned advisors with assistance from the Undergraduate Chair.

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Senior Thesis

1 Course Unit

Notes: CRIM:410

CRIM 474 Modern Regression for the Social, Behavioral and Biological Sciences

This course covers supervised learning: various forms of nonparametric regression and machine learning. It assumes at least one solid course in conventional linear regression, although that framework is discarded the first week of class. Intuitive explanations for key statistical concepts are provided with little dependence on formal mathematics. Grades are based on research reports in which modern statistical procedures are applied to real and challenging datasets. Some might call these excercises "analytics". All class demonstrations are done with the programming language R, and R is required for the research reports.

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 535 Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis

This course provides an introduction to applied statistical techniques in the social sciences and is tailored, in particular, to students pursuing the master of science degree in the Depsartment of Criminology. It is taught as a basic course in statistics and presumes minimal mathematical or statistical background. We'll begin with a brief introduction to the research process. We'll then cover the computation, interpretation and understanding of basic descriptive statistics, distribution, hypothesis testing, measures of association and finally regression analysis. Depending on how much time we have, we will cover several more advanced topics in regression analysis at the end of the semester.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 600 Pro-Seminar in Criminology

This course provides an overview of the leading criminological theories of crime. The central focus is on the major theories of crime developed over the past century from the disciplines of economics, psychology, and sociology. The course will focus on the application of social science research as a way to evaluate theories of crime. Special attention is devoted to the issues of measurement of crime and what is known from the available empirical data. In addition, the course will focus on how these theoretical perspectives relate to public policy responses to crime.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 601 Pro-Seminar in Criminal Justice

This course provides and overview of what we know about the criminal justice system in the United States and other developed nations. The central purpose of the course is to increas your knowledge about how the U.S. criminal justice system works but we will also spend a great deal of time thinking about the quality of the available evidence and how we know what we know. Topics covered will vary from year to year; recent topics have included police use of force, capital punishment, pre-trial detention, the use of predictive algorithms in the criminal justice system and the relationship between immigration and crime in the United States.

Course usually offered in spring term

Prerequisite: CRIM 600

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 602 Criminal Justice Data Analytics

This course covers the tools and techniques to acquire, organize, link and visualize complex data in order to answer questions about crime and the criminal justice system. The course is organized around key questions about police shootings, victimization rates, identifying crime hotspots, calculating the cost of crime, and finding out what happens to crime when it rains. On the way to answer these questions, the course will cover topics including data sources, basic programming techniques, SQL, regular expressions, webscraping, and working with geographic data. The course will use R, an open-source, object oriented scripting language with a large set of available add-on packages.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 603 Research Methods/Crime Analysis

This course provides an overview of the application of social science research methods and data analysis to criminology. Students will learn research design principles and statistical techiques for the analysis of social science data, including how to interpret results as part of the rigorous practice of evidence-based criminology. M.S. students will conduct a semester-long, data-intensive crime analysis project using quantitative methods to address a specific research question. Student projects culminate with a poster presentation, an oral defense, and the submission of a written research paper.

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 604 Criminology in Practice

In this capstone course, students will meet weekly with guests who work on or close to the front line of the criminal justice system. Past guests have included police chiefs, forensic scientists, lobbyists for gun rights and lobbyist for gun control, formerly incarcerated individuals, crime analysts, directors of sentencing commissions, prosecutors and defenders, politicians, and researchers at research organizations working closely with criminal justice agencies. Guests share their career paths, the roles of their organizations in the justice system, and key justice system challenges. Students interact with all guest speakers.

Two terms. student must enter first term.

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 634 Evidence-Based Crime Prevention

This course considers the use of evidence to identify effective crime prevention policies. The course will teach students to think critically about what constitutes convincing evidence, use benefit-cost analysis in comparing policy alternatives, and write effective policy memos that can translate research into practice. We will develop these skills by studying the effects of different policy approaches to crime prevention including incarceration, policing, gun control, drug regulation, and place-based interventions, as well as education, social programs, and labor market policies. Emphasis will be on the methodological challenges to identifying "what works" and the empirical methods to overcome those challenges.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 671 Violence: A Clinical Neuroscience Approach

Developed for both Psychology and Criminology graduates in particular, this interdisciplinary course outlines a clinical neuroscience approach to understanding violence in which the tools of neuroscience- neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurocognition, neuroendocrinology, neuropharmacology, molecular and behavioral genetics- are used to help inform the etiology and treatment of violence. Clinical components include psychopathy, proactive and reactive aggression, homicide domestic violence, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, antisocial personality disorder, crime, and delinquency as well as their comorbid conditions (schizophrenia, drug abuse, hyperactivity). The interaction between social, psychological, and neurobiological processes in predisposing to violence will be highlighted, together with neurodevelopmental perspectives on violence focusing on prospective longitudinal and brain imaging research. Key implications for the criminal justice system, neuroethics, forensics psychology, and intervention will also be outlined.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Lecture

1 Course Unit

CRIM 700 Advanced Pro-Seminar in Criminology

This second year doctoral course is a weekly discussion group designed to help students integrate their coursework from different disciplines around the unifying perspectives of criminology. It focuses on preparation for the doctoral comprehensive examination, detailed critiques of published research reports, and colloquia by leading guest lecturers presenting new research results. Students preparing for dissertation research on the causes and prevention of crime will report on their developing research ideas.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 701 Advanced Pro-Seminar in Criminal Justice

This second year doctoral course is a weekly discussion group designed to help students integrate their coursework from different disciplines around the behavior and operation of criminal law systems. It focuses on preparation for the doctoral comprehensive examination, detailed critiques of published and unpublished research reports, and colloquia by leading guest lecturers presenting new research results. Students preparing for dissertation research on the behavior of criminal law will report on their developing research ideas.

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Seminar

1 Course Unit

CRIM 800 Thesis Research Project

One-term course offered either term

Activity: Independent Study

1 Course Unit

CRIM 999 Independent Study and Research

Primarily for advanced students who work with individual faculty upon permission. Intended to go beyond existing graduate courses in the study of specific problems or theories or to provide work opportunities in areas not covered by existing courses.

One-term course offered either term

Activity: Independent Study

1 Course Unit

Notes: Both terms.