Alumni Worldwide
Graduate Students
Undergraduate Students
Full-Time Faculty

Welcome to Penn State’s Department of Sociology and Criminology, one of the nation’s best.

In the latest rankings, Penn State’s Sociology program placed among the top twenty-five graduate programs in the United States, while our Criminology program is ranked 5th in the nation and the Demography dual-degree program ranks 3rd in the nation. The 2022 Shanghai Global Rankings of Academic Subjects also ranked Penn State Sociology as #7 in the world, based on objective indicators of scholarly publication productivity and citations.

We currently have approximately 650 undergraduate majors and over 70 graduate students in sociology and criminology. The mentoring relationships they enjoy with our 55 full-time faculty prepare them for a wide variety of careers. We have over 9,000 alumni worldwide.

Our department has widely recognized strengths in the areas of criminology, demography, gender, family, health, inequality, institutions and culture, and communities and environments. Faculty and students study topics ranging from racial and ethnic health disparities, to the causes of juvenile delinquency and drug use, to family relationships and gender inequality.

Our internationally renowned faculty have penned award-winning books, are leaders in the profession, and their research is frequently highlighted in the national media.

Our Ph.D. students teach at some of the top universities in the nation, including Cornell, UCLA, Indiana, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Dartmouth or have research positions at prestigious institutions, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Meta.

Our undergraduates build careers in business, public service, non-profit organizations, and the professions. Penn State has one of the largest and strongest alumni networks, reflecting the pride our former students have in their Penn State education and the impact they are

Michelle Frisco

Michelle Frisco
Head, Department of Sociology and Criminology