Criminology | Navigating Your Undergraduate Studies

It can be challenging to navigate CRIM’s many program options. We’ve prepared a few plans to help you decide which courses to take and when to take them, along with some resources to help you succeed in your university career.

The guide below references a Major in Criminology taken over four years using SFU's three-term system.

Our criminology academic advisors are available to help you adapt this plan to your goals. You can request guidance from one of our advisors by booking an appointment, and by using our contact form to ask a specific question. Remember, it’s best to see an advisor early in your studies, ideally in your first year, to make sure you are on the right track.

First Year (0 to 30 units)

CRIM lower division required courses (100 and 200 level courses)

  • CRIM 101 – Intro to Criminology (3)
  • CRIM 103 – Psychological Explanations of Criminal and Deviant Behaviour (3)
  • CRIM 104 – Sociological Explanations of Criminal Deviant Behaviour (3)
  • CRIM 131 – Intro to the Criminal Justice System (3)
  • CRIM 135 – Intro to Canadian Law and Legal Institutions (3)
  • SA 150 – Intro to Sociology (4)
  • One of POL 100 – Intro to Politics and Government (3), or
    POL 151 – The Administration of Justice (3)
  • PSYC 100 – Intro to Psychology 1 (3)
  • PSYC 102 – Intro to Psychology 2 (3)
  • One additional 100 or 200 division PHIL course

Writing, Quantitative and Breadth (WQB) requirements must be completed for graduation and general electives should be considered for that purpose.

Our sample course plans help you decide what courses to take over the duration your degree. Select from three options: two terms or three terms per year, or opt for a lighter course load.

Be sure to look for required courses early to avoid delaying degree completion.

Other courses you might take are your breadth requirements where you can choose from a variety of SFU disciplines.

Start thinking about taking courses that lead to a minorcertificatejoint plan or double major for your degree.  

Use electives to explore topics of interest like international studies, languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, etc.), Indigenous Studies and other options

Research questions? Seek assistance from the Liaison Librarian Yolanda Koscielski and visit SFU Library's Criminology Resources for tips.

Visit the Student Learning Commons for expert and friendly help with academic writing, learning and study strategies - in an environment of collaboration, discussion, and peer learning.

Adjusting to university can be challenging. Don't forget to take care of yourself by using SFU Health and Counselling for access to a health clinic, counselling, psychiatrist, chiropractor, and physiotherapist. 

Meet your classmates by joining the Criminology Student Association.

Second Year (30 to 60 units)

CRIM lower division requirements

  • CRIM 220 – Research Methods in Criminology (3)
  • CRIM 230 – Criminal Law (3)

  • STAT 203 - Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences (3) recommended

  • One additional 200 division CRIM course such as CRIM 210, 241 or 251

To complete the balance of the first 60 units, choose other 100-200 division courses.

Writing, Quantitative and Breadth (WQB) requirements must be completed for graduation and general electives should be considered for that purpose.

Be aware of courses that are pre-requisites for upper division CRIM courses of interest.

Although STAT 203 is recommended, other options include PSYC 210, STAT 205, STAT 201 OR BUS 232.

Start thinking about potential minors, certificates, and programs outside of CRIM. For example, take a look at a minor in dialogue or some of the options available in FASS.

Get involved on-campus with a wide variety of programs and activities.

Visit the Student Learning Commons for expert and friendly help with academic writing, learning and study strategies - in an environment of collaboration, discussion, and peer learning.

Be aware of your responsibilities as a student, including academic honesty, conduct and rights to privacy. 

Third Year (60 to 90 units)

CRIM upper division requirements (300 and 400 level courses)

At least 30 upper division units in Criminology are required, including

  • CRIM 300W – Current Theories and Perspectives in Criminology (3)*
  • CRIM 320 – Quantitative Research Methods in Criminology (3)
  • CRIM 321 – Qualitative Research Methods in Criminology (3)
  • CRIM 330 – Criminal Procedure and Evidence (3)

*You must take one upper divsion W course from within your major, CRIM 300W fulfills this university requirement.

Contact a criminology academic advisor to request declaration in order to take upper division CRIM courses.

Writing, Quantitative and Breadth (WQB) requirements must be completed for graduation and general electives should be considered for that purpose.

You should not take all core courses in one term.
We recommend that you spread out the courses over years 3 and 4.

We encourage students not to take more than one or two required courses in the same term. The required courses are typically more intense so it is best to spread them out over a number of terms.

Use upper division requirements to explore topics of particular interest to you.  

See a CRIM academic advisor about declaring a minor, certificate or program outside of CRIM.

Consider applying for admission to the CRIM honours program. Start planning your application a few months before it's due on February 28.

Can't register for upper division classes? Remember students with more credits get priority registration. You may not get into classes right away if you just reached the 60 credit threshold.

Plan to take some electives early in your third year (e.g. CRIM 315, CRIM 355 and CRIM 356 can be good choices because you don't need 60 credits to enrol in them).

Remember to look at potential upper division classes early to ensure you have pre-requisites. 


Fourth Year (90 to 120 units)

Upper division elective courses

  • At least fifteen 300/400 division credits from any subject (excluding CRIM 301)

To complete the balance of 120 units, complete any remaining requirements for graduation including mandatory WQB requirements, CRIM courses and electives.

Meet with a CRIM academic advisor to do an official graduation check.

Ready to graduate? You must apply to graduate during the final term you are enrolled.

Students who complete their degree requirements in December or April will convocate at the June ceremony. Those who complete in August convocate in October.  

Considering applying to graduate or law school? Be sure to research program options and the application process early.

Don't leave your request for reference letters to the last minute. When asking for a reference be prepared to provide your transcript, your resume, and your statements of interest to your referees.  

Visit SFU Career Services for resources to get your job hunt off to a successful start. Schedule an appointment to meet with a professional career advisor for free.

When you graduate you become one of the 135,000 SFU alumni living in over 130 countries. Explore the SFU Alumni Association for benefits and privileges, and how you can get involved.

Review How to Ask for a Reference Letter for helpful tips and resources before requesting a letter from your referees.

Student Responsibility: It is the responsibility of each student to be aware of faculty regulations as stated in the Academic Calendar. Departmental faculty advisors and staff are available to give advice and guidance. However, the ultimate responsibility for completeness and correctness of course selection, for compliance with and completion of program and degree requirements and for observance of regulations and deadlines rests with the student.