In 1980, Sonoma State University established the Department of Criminal Justice Administration. The department offered a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration that quickly became one of the most popular programs on campus. In 2007, it changed its name to the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies to reflect the shift to a more interdisciplinary academic approach that focuses on the contemporary and historical diversity of perspectives in theory, social policy and practice, research methods, ethics, and decision-making as these relate to major institutions and processes, including law and social control, the exercise of discretion, police, court, corrections, and media.
The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies serves a broad service area within the North Bay region, but also draws students from counties throughout the state. As one of the nine academic departments housed within the School of Social Sciences, its mission and values align closely with the school’s goals of preparing its graduates “to live richly rewarding personal, professional, and social lives while understanding and appreciating human complexity in a global society.” Its core values also align with Sonoma State University’s themes of diversity, social justice, sustainability, and community engagement. These core values form an integral part of its curriculum and are reflected in the CCJS faculty research projects and service commitments.