Criminology Program

2024 Spring Senior Comprehensive Exam

Senior comprehensive exams are scheduled for Saturday, March 30th, 2024. Students can register for the comprehensive exam by signing up online. Though sign-up technically begins on February 1, students can do it sooner if they wish.  

Criminology Senior Comprehensive Exam Sign-up

Please note, the deadline date for registering for the Senior Comprehensive Exam is Friday, March 8, 2024. Students who fail to register by this date will **not** be allowed to take the comprehensive exam this Spring semester.  

Please contact the Criminology Program Director, Dr. Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya ( 


Sign Up Now


Successful careers in the justice field require broad basic educational preparation in the humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. Our Criminology major offers a liberal arts education while providing career-specific educational training.

We combine theory and practical experience to give students more comprehensive knowledge of: 

  • the criminal justice system and its linkages to the larger institutional structure;
  • the complexities of human conduct; and
  • some of the problems associated with human social life.


As a historically Black institution of higher learning, Howard University's Criminology program places special emphasis on examining relationships between people of color and components of the criminal justice system.


Originally referred to as Administration of Justice, the undergraduate major in Criminology was part of a comprehensive effort at Howard University to examine various institutions that impacted the African American community.

The interface between minority offenders, crime causation factors and treatment strategies designed to deal with criminal and delinquent behavior, represents the central theme in the program’s development and implementation.


Dr. Reynaldo Ortíz-Minaya 
Assistant Professor 
Director of Criminology Program

Jay Stewart
Undergraduate Criminology Advisor
Department of Sociology & Criminology

Primary Objectives

Criminology’s primary objectives are to:

  • Introduce students to an integrated core of sociological and criminological knowledge and  concepts related to the criminal justice system;
  • Provide students with a thorough grasp of knowledge relevant for the Criminology field, as well as an appreciation for the careful analysis of the structure of the criminal justice system;
  • Provide students with the educational background necessary to assume important decision-making roles in criminal justice and in related service areas;
  • Encourage students to understand, apply, and revise where necessary, the variety of approaches designed to deal with problems of the administration justice in society and
  • Provide students with the analytic and conceptual skills necessary to understand and to formulate solutions to the unique problems of minorities in relation to the criminal justice system.

Goals & Objectives

The following goals are related to these key purposes:

  • Offer a curriculum that provides extensive opportunities to ground students in 
    Criminological theories and scientific methods, and prepares them for research in academic and applied settings
  • Provide a diverse program of conceptual and experiential learning to prepare them for graduate school, law school and careers in administration of justice
  • Offer a curriculum that provides scientific training and substantive coursework within and outside of the Department, along with research and teaching experience in academic and applied settings
  • Increase the graduation rate of Criminology majors
  • Strengthen the research and publication capability of research faculty and students

Consistent with Howard University’s mission “to assist, through full utilization of its research resources, in the development of solutions to human and social problems,” the Criminology program has the following goals:

  • Bring together teaching and research capabilities of the Department, College of Arts and Sciences and University, which enhance understanding of complex interrelations within the criminal justice system and between it and the community;
  • Apply scientific and practical knowledge to bear on the preparation of students for careers in the criminal justice system;
  • Instill in students a love for research, teaching and practice;
  • Prepare students for leadership positions in both domestic and global communities;
  • Increase the numbers of African Americans in administration of justice, sociology, anthropology and other professional fields;
  • Ground all students in these disciplines by requiring them to progress through a series of introductory, middle-level and practical courses, as well as courses in statistical and qualitative methods;
  • Develop in students a high level of writing proficiency;
  • Develop in students a critical perspective and provide opportunities for in-depth analysis of issues and methodologies;
  • Encourage students to synthesize and integrate information gained from other departmental courses, other disciplines, and topics and issues that are personally meaningful;
  • Offer practical experience in field schools, out-of-classroom projects and internships; and
  • Recruit and maintain a faculty who remain at the cutting edge in research in their respective fields and transmit that knowledge to students.

Program Coordination

As a major program in the College of Arts and Sciences, ultimate coordinating responsibility rests with the Dean of the College. More specifically, however, operational decisions concerning the program fall to the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology, and the Program Coordinator, whom the Chair may designate. 

Policy matters affecting the program are funneled through appropriate departmental committees and to the departmental faculty. Like other departmental major programs, recommendations pertaining to various facets of the Criminology program may originate with any faculty member and/or committee of the Department. 

The role of Program Coordinator is defined primarily in terms of the following responsibilities:

  • Coordination of student counseling and advisement;
  • Monitoring student progress through the program;
  • Establishing and directing procedures for the smooth operation of an internship program; and
  • Making recommendations to the Chair concerning overall program structure and operation.

Together with the Departmental Chair, the Program Coordinator will have responsibilities for systematic evaluation of progress, development and implementation.