The undergraduate program in Criminology is an interdisciplinary program which provides students with a sound foundation for the understanding of crime, the administration of justice in Canada, and, more generally, the processes of social order and disorder. Criminology incorporates theory, research methods, and knowledge from a wide range of other disciplines such as history, political science, sociology, law, psychology, economics, and philosophy.
In 1963, the Centre of Criminology and Sociolegal Studies and Sociolegal Studies was established as a research and graduate teaching institution at the University of Toronto, the first of its kind in Canada. Faculty members from the Centre began teaching undergraduate Arts and Science courses in Criminology at Woodsworth College in 1976. The major program was organized in 1981, and the specialist program was added in 1999. The program has evolved over the years, and now there are twenty undergraduate Criminology courses taught by fifteen instructors, with the support of teaching assistants who are graduate students at the Centre of Criminology or the Faculty of Law. There are more than 500 undergraduates enrolled in the program, many of whom register in two or three Criminology courses each year.
The undergraduate program in Criminology provides students with a sound foundation for the understanding of crime and the administration of justice in Canada and abroad, and, more generally, the processes of social order and disorder. Criminology incorporates theory, research methods, and knowledge from a wide range of other disciplines such as history, political science, philosophy, sociology, psychology, law and economics.
The courses in the program examine, to varying degrees, issues of social and ethical responsibility. The courses frequently challenge the student's perception of how the interests of various groups shape the manner in which society responds to unwanted behaviour. The examination of issues of social and ethical responsibility is an inherent component in the Criminology program.
The program explores the nature of crime and the complexities in how society responds to it and the conflicting values inherent in the criminal justice system. Areas of study will include crime and criminal behaviour, theories of crime causation, criminal justice, principles and themes of Canadian criminal law, and an introduction to the criminal justice system. Students in the major and specialist programs will have an opportunity to choose 300 and 400 level courses based on their areas of interest, for example, youth, gender, mental disorders, and law. Students in the Specialist program will gain in depth knowledge of theories and research methodology used in the field of criminology in addition to further examining major criminal justice institutions and processes for law enforcement and punishment.
In the introductory courses (WDW205H1 Introduction to Criminology, WDW210H1 Criminal Justice, and WDW225H1 Criminal Law) students will learn how to think critically about the material and set the tone for advanced courses in the program.
In third-year courses, students are encouraged to think critically about the assumptions behind the various views of crime and the criminal justice system that are part of our everyday discussions. The focus is on going beyond simple views about crime and the justice system toward a more critical - and evidence-based - understanding of the general phenomena that relate to crime.
In fourth-year courses, students have an opportunity to study a number of specialized topics in a seminar setting. These courses examine in depth topics that were covered in lower level courses. The seminar courses are often connected to the instructors' research interests. Students in 400-level courses will be required to complete extensive readings, research and writing assignments in addition to actively participating in seminar discussion.