About Criminology and Sociolegal Studies

The Centre’s faculty and students study crime, order and security from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches and are actively engaged in Canadian and international criminological research.

Criminology includes the study of patterns in crime, criminal behaviour, and the administration of criminal justice.
Subject areas include theories of crime and order, politics and crime, the psychology of criminal behaviour, policing, the criminal process, sentencing, penology, youth crime and justice, criminal justice history, and, more generally, the processes of social order and disorder.

Sociolegal studies includes the study of how various types of law (e.g., criminal, civil, administrative, regulatory) and other mechanisms of social regulation are used to prevent, manage, and sanction harmful conduct and effect security.
Subject areas include theoretical perspectives on law and society; regulation, law, crime, and the economy; and, risk, regulation, and security.

Research by faculty at the Centre covers a wide range of topics and methodological approaches. Some faculty work with large data sets to ask questions about criminal justice. Others work with a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Others are engaged in socio-legal research, which sometimes uses legal materials as well as empirical research but asks different questions than those conventionally asked in law faculties.

These approaches are seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive, and we encourage students to pursue a variety of interests rather than specialize in one method or one theory: unlike some graduate departments, our dissertation committees are not necessarily composed of faculty who share the same training or interests.