About the Department
Welcome to Penn State’s Department of Sociology and Criminology. I am pleased and honored to be the Head of this illustrious department—widely recognized as amongst the best worldwide. In the most recent National Research Council ranking (2010), Penn State Sociology placed among the top 10 in the nation.
Our distinguished faculty are leaders in their fields who provide an exceptional education for our undergraduate and graduate students. We have nationally recognized strengths in the areas of criminology, demography, family sociology, social inequality, and quantitative methods. We also offer advanced training in the sociology of education, urban and community studies, aging and the life course, sociology of religion, social movements, and theory. Faculty and students study topics ranging from the causes of growing levels of obesity in America to the relationship between employment and juvenile delinquency to trends in global gender inequality.
Because of our renowned expertise, our faculty are frequently consulted by various organizations (e.g., National Academies of Sciences, the National Institute of Justice) seeking to understand and address social issues of broad concern. Our research findings are likewise often highlighted in the national media, such as in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune, among many other national and local outlets.
We have over 9,000 alumni living and working around the world. Currently there are approximately 800 undergraduate majors and over 70 graduate students in our department. The mentoring relationships they enjoy with our 50 full-time faculty prepares them for a wide variety of careers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
In short, we are a department committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service. We serve our undergraduates by offering a top-notch liberal arts education. We serve our graduate students by providing the teaching and mentoring they need to become independent and productive researchers and teachers. We serve our alumni by providing an engaged sociology and criminology community. Finally, we serve the public by helping them become better informed about the society in which we live.
Head, Department of Sociology and Criminology