St. Bonaventure University

Sociology & Criminology

Are you interested in finding an exciting career that allows you to help people better live their lives? Do you like interacting with others on a daily basis? When you think of a possible career, do you see yourself not sitting all day at a desk when you go to work? Simply put, are you a people person? If so a degree program in either Sociology or Criminology may be a good fit for you.

Sociology Program

Sociology is the scientific study of individuals, groups, and society. As this definition suggests, there are a wide variety of topics covered within this discipline. Some of these include family interactions, poverty, health care systems, human resources, and international relations.

Students within our program are able to tailor their studies to focus on areas that are of particular interest to them personally and professionally. Upon graduation with a sociology degree our graduates have gone on to pursue various employment opportunities, to include social work, human resource representatives, public relations, and as educators. Still others have gone on for additional education, earning their Master of Social Work (MSW) and Juris Doctor (JS) degrees.

Additional information regarding St. Bonaventure University’s Sociology Program may be found at

Criminology Program

Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior. The study of crime is inherently fascinating, which is why criminology regularly ranks within the top 10 most popular majors.

The problem of crime is universal to the human condition. There is no country, state, or town that is immune from this problem.

The study of crime is also very complex. While television and movies often depict criminal events in simplistic “good guy vs. bad guy” portrayals, the reality is quite different. Understanding criminality must take into account social, emotional, situational, financial, structural, personal, and interpersonal factors that typically coincide when law breaking occurs.

This more in-depth understanding of why crime occurs is critically important at both an individual and societal level, as it allows for more effective proactive interventions to minimize the human and economic damage that is the natural result of crime.

Students within our program have a wide range of career interests. Some are drawn to the more traditional careers found at local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Others are interested in the more contemporary careers paths that have emerged in corporate security and investigations, such as with financial and informational businesses.

Still other students go on to work in more specialized areas, such as the forensics, military, or cybersecurity fields.

Additional information regarding the criminology program may be found at

Experiential learning

There is no better way to study individuals, groups and society than by going out into the world around you. Sociology is defined by its engagement with the social world.

We provide many opportunities for sociology and criminology students to enhance their classroom learning by engaging in real-world experiences. These activities provide students with an important emotional connection to their work while sharpening their knowledge and skills.

Here is a sampling of experiential learning opportunities available to sociology and criminology majors:

  • Students experience poverty through direct contact with needy members of the community as volunteers at the Warming House, the student-run soup kitchen in Olean.
  • Students visit a local nursing home, including its memory loss unit, to better understand issues related to the elderly; some students return as volunteers.
  • Students in the Social Media and Society course experience a digital detox, giving up social media for up to 72 hours so as to better understand factors contributing to compulsive internet use.
  • Students learn to use social media as a unifying force, to spread the word and "build capital" for worthy social causes.
  • Students visit the county jail, attend court proceedings and have the ability to serve internships with law enforcement agencies as well as those dealing with child welfare, victims' services, probation, substance abuse and others.
  • Students have the opportunity to present original research at criminological conferences.
  • Students participate in an abstinence exercise and attend support group meetings (typically AA) to gain insight into the recovery process.