Criminal Justice


Western’s Criminal Justice studies are an emphasis within our Sociology program. When you study Sociology at Western, you are choosing a major that challenges your critical thinking skills. Expect to be interested, and likely, inspired.

Western’s Sociology program boasts a dedicated faculty committed to undergraduate teaching in the classroom. The Sociology faculty is diverse, both in terms of expertise and in their approaches to teaching. This diversity provides students with remarkable, hands-on training across a wide swath of sociology specialties.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

As a Western Sociology major, you'll build a holistic perspective of the social world around you. You'll expand your understanding of social issues and problems, while integrating topics such as religion, crime, race and gender, drugs, social inequality, medicine, and even rock and roll.

You'll also learn analytical skills, and come to understand how sociologists collect data and conduct research.

Beyond the Classroom

The Sociology program sponsors two student-directed organizations, Alpha Kappa Delta and the Sociology Club. These groups sponsor activities, such as movie nights, field trips to prisons and service opportunities, and forums on graduate school, careers in sociology and housing issues in Gunnison.

Students also join an annual undergraduate conference to present their research in a professional, academic setting. Additionally, students have traveled with faculty to professional meetings to present academic papers.

The program also sponsors internships that enable students to work in the local community, applying their training to real-world experiences. Research has shown this makes Western’s Sociology majors more marketable for jobs when they graduate.

After Graduation

Recent graduates of the Sociology program have found careers in law enforcement, within the prison system, with social-service agencies and with large corporations in managerial positions. 

Others have gone on to graduate degrees and professional training programs, and still other graduates have pursued careers in politics and the law.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Criminal Justice Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
  1. Email this to your friends or family    Share on LinkedIn    Share on Google+    Twitter    Share this on Facebook

  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.
Area of Interest: 
Program Intro: 
Major in Sociology


Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Western Presidential Scholars Award

The Western Presidential Scholars Award is a full tuition scholarship available to Valedictorians of Colorado high schools (residents only) aimed at increasing the number of high achieving students attending Western State Colorado University.  The scholarship is renewable for eight consecutive semesters (four years) and will cover full in-state tuition charges after the COF stipend is applied.  The Western Presidential Scholars Award would replace any other merit scholarship that may have already been awarded to the student.  The Western Presidential Scholars Award is a competitive scholarship (application is required) as there are a limited number of awards available each year.  Below are some details you should know:

Minimum Criteria

  •          3.80 cumulative High School GPA 
  •          25 ACT score/1200 SAT combined score
  •          Be ranked #1 on high school transcript or certified as ‘valedictorian’ by high school official

Application Process

To apply students must submit a letter of application, one letter of recommendation, and provide verification of Valedictorian status.  Completed applications must be received by April 1st of each year.

Renewal Criteria

  •          Must enroll in and successfully complete 12 credits each semester (24 credits each year)
  •          Must maintain a 3.0 GPA at Western 

Faculty & Staff


Assistant Professor of Sociology
B.A., University of Montana (Native American Studies and Sociology), M.A., Colorado State University (Sociology), Ph.D., Colorado State University (Sociology)
Phone: 970.943.7126
Office Location: Kelley Hall 220
Assistant Professor of Sociology
B.A., University of Iowa (Sociolgy), M.A., University of Nebraska at Omaha (Sociolgy), Ph.D., Colorado State University (Sociology and International Political Economy)
Phone: 970.943.2289
Office Location: Kelley Hall 221
Chair, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Professor of Sociology
B.A., M.A., Louisiana State University; Ph.D., Colorado State University.
Phone: (970) 943-2070
Office Location: Kelley 218
Dave Pinkerton
Lecturer in Psychology and Sociology
B.A., University of Northern Colorado, Chemistry, Ph.D., University of Denver, Curriculum and Instruction, M.S. Colorado School of Mines, Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering
Phone: (970) 943-2098
Office Location: Kelley 203
Assistant Professor of Sociology
PhD Kansas State University, Criminology and Gender, M.S. Mankato State University at Mankato, Sociology and Higher Education, B.A., Adams State University, Sociology/Psychology with emphases in Criminology and Social Welfare
Phone: 970.943.2059
Office Location: Kelley Hall 213