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Crime, Psychology, and Public Policy Certificate


The undergraduate certificate program in Crime, Psychology, and Public Policy (CRIMBC) at Behrend College provides students an overview of the causes of crime and criminal behavior, the legal and criminal justice processes, and public policy toward crime-related issues.  Students receive an in depth understanding of the social and psychological causes of crime, policies to fight and prevent crime, the use of psychology to analyze and investigate criminal behavior, and the legal processes that involve accused and convicted criminals.  The certificate program is intended for those who are interested in learning more about the criminal justice system and the causes of crime.  Knowledge of the causes of criminal behavior and the criminal justice system are important to careers in the police, security, the correctional system, social work, law, psychology, journalism, and government or politics.

Students who are not enrolled in a Penn State degree program are eligible to receive the certificate through completion of the required coursework and credits. Courses taken to complete the certificate can also be used to complete a Penn State degree in majors such as Psychology, Political Science, and General Arts and Sciences if non-degree students decide to continue their education after completing certificate requirements. The certificate may also be of use to a student who has already completed an undergraduate degree, but who wishes to add a credential to their educational background that demonstrates knowledge in the five areas of focus in the program. A grade of C or better must be earned in each certificate course.

The CRIMBC certificate program maintains a listserv to announce upcoming courses and special events programming for students interested in criminal justice careers. To receive such announcements about the certificate program, you can subscribe to the listserv by clicking on the following link (no subject or message text is required):


Take 3 credits in each of the following subject areas from a program list of approved courses:

  1. Abnormal Psychology
    Approved list of courses:
    PSYCH 270 - Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
  2. Crime and Psychology
    Approved list of course:
    PSYCH 243 (GS) - Introduction to Well-being and Positive Psychology
    PSYCH 256 (GS) - Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
    PSYCH 261 (GS) - Introduction to Psychology of Learning
    PSYCH 412 - Adolescence
    PSYCH 445 - Forensic Psychology
    PSYCH 473 - Behavior Modification
    PSYCH 476 – Child Psychopathology
  3. Crime and Society
    Approved list of courses:
    CRIMJ 423 - Sexual and Domestic Violence
    PL SC 123 (GS, US, IL) - Ethnic and Racial Politics
    PL SC 439 - The Politics of Terrorism
    PSYCH 221 (GS) - Introduction to Social Psychology
    PSYCH 232 (GS, US, IL) - Cross-Cultural Psychology
    SOC 012 (GS) - Criminology
    SOC 013 (GS) - Juvenile Delinquency
    (SOC 001 and SOC 005 can be accepted in this category through fall 2012.)
  4. Crime and Public Policy
    Approved list of courses:
    PL SC 002 - American Public Policy
    PL SC 177 (GS) - Politics and Government in Washington, DC
    PL SC 419 - The Bureaucratic State
    PL SC 482 - American State and Urban Politics
    PL SC 489 - Public Administration
  5. Crime and Law
    Approved list of courses:
    PL SC 197A - Organized Crime, Law, and Politics
    PL SC 471 - American Constitutional Law
    PL SC 472 - The American Legal Process
    PL SC 473 - American Judicial Behavior
    PL SC 474 - Civil Liberties and Due Process
    PL SC 487 - International Law and Organizations

To apply for this certificate, complete the Application for Certificate Completion Form.

Dr. Nicole Shoenberger

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