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Sociology

Study Abroad

There is a strong interest among students at Merrimack College to participate in various Study Abroad programs. While the Department of Sociology & Criminology seeks to maintain a relatively liberal policy in regards to courses that it will accept as open sociology and criminology electives so as not to constrain students in what courses they take and transfer back to Merrimack, the Department also seeks a policy that is not simply an open door approach.


Students who are considering participation in a Study Abroad Program are advised to visit Merrimack College’s Study Abroad web page where policies governing the program are identified.

One of the Study Abroad policies is that students are required to have a minimum GPA of 2.8, and in some instances, institutions may require a higher GPA. In addition, it is required that students provide an academic rationale to support their request to study abroad. Specifically, students are required to demonstrate the following: 
  • A coherence of the proposed courses with those already taken at Merrimack 
  • A proven level of preparation for the study abroad experience 
  • The extent to which the program offers solid courses that are not available at Merrimack but are compatible with Merrimack College’s liberal arts curriculum 
  • The contribution of the study abroad program to the strength of your proposed major(s)
The Study Abroad Program at Merrimack identifies approved programs by country or affiliated organizations on their web site. If a student wishes to study abroad at another institution, a PETITION must be submitted to their academic advisor and to the Study Abroad Office.

In some instances, study abroad institutions do not have Sociology/Criminology Departments or programs. John Cabot University in Rome, Italy and Bond University in Australia, for example, do not have Sociology/Criminology Departments or programs. However, Bond University does offer courses in Criminology, some of which the department accepts as transfer courses. It is important that BEFORE students leave Merrimack to study abroad they receive approval of courses they will be taking at the host institution.

The Department of Sociology & Criminology at Merrimack College will generally accept courses in sociology, anthropology, criminology, social policy, or social work from Study Abroad Programs that are sponsored by reputable and accredited institutions. As a general rule, when there is a Sociology Department at the university or college where the Study Abroad Program is sponsored, students are urged to select courses in sociology to transfer back to Merrimack College. 

The Chair of the Department of Sociology & Criminology at Merrimack College will consider on an individual basis courses that are related to sociology. Where possible, a syllabus of the course should be submitted with the student’s request for transfer approval. If a syllabus is unavailable, students are asked to submit a course description and any other additional information about the course that is available which will serve as a basis for deciding on the transfer credit request.

In the event that there is no Sociology/Criminology Department at the Study Abroad Program, then students are restricted to courses that are academically related to the discipline of sociology. For instance, though Bond University in Australia does not have a program in Sociology, it does have a Law and Criminology program. Four of these courses would be acceptable as transfer courses back to Merrimack College:

CRIM 11-100 Crime and Deviance in Australia. Prerequisite: None This subject adopts a critical perspective on contemporary issues (pornography, stalking, prostitution, illicit drug use, capital punishment), examines the role of the justice system and some more recent alternatives (sentencing circles and family group conferencing), and explores profiles of offenders and offending (domestic violence, cults, white collar crime, Aboriginal violence).

CRIM 12-205 Alcohol, Drugs and Crime. Prerequisite: None The empirical evidence confirms that alcohol and drugs play a central role in the commission of certain crimes. This subject will take a criminological and sociological look at the factors that contribute to crime and criminality where alcohol and drug use is an issue. This will include an examination of data on what is currently known about the link between illicit and licit drugs and specific offence categories. The subject will also address recent criminal justice innovations like supervised orders from drug courts and rehabilitation programs available in corrections settings. It will also touch upon matters of law and law reform with respect to drug usage.

CRIM 12-209 Theories of Crime. Prerequisite: None This subject introduces most of the major theories of crime within their social and historical contexts. It also compares the various ideological perspectives of criminological theories and demonstrates some contemporary applications of crime theories. The subject provides a critical appraisal and foundational knowledge for crime and criminology, for if we do not have an appreciation of the ’causes' of crimes then we are unable to formulate policies to prevent or control them.

Law13-121 Contemporary Issues in Law & Society. Prerequisite: None Contemporary Issues in Law & Society is not a technical law subject. It has been designed for students from all Schools as part of the University's CORE program. It explores some of the political controversies which surround law, such as euthanasia; abortion; pornography; the new reproductive technologies; native title; government regulation of corporations; criminal investigations and trials; discrimination and affirmative action. The plan of topics may be varied if new controversial issues emerge during the course of the semester. All Bond Bachelor degree students must complete either this subject or CORE11-120 Cultural and Ethical Values.