Please print this syllabus. Don't count on it being available online.


Faculty information (UPS item 1)

Instructor: Julius (Jay) Wachtel
Office: LH 624
Office hours: F 4-5 pm
Tel.: (657) 278-6740 (only answered while in the office - e-mail greatly preferred)
E-mail: jwachtel (at)

Course information (UPS item 2)

CRJU 330-05, #16698, F 1-3:45p, LH-401A

Objective and learning goals

     A social-scientific perspective is used to examine major theories in the social, behavioral, biological and economic sciences that purport to explain the causes of crime and delinquency. The theoretical basis and practical implications of crime and delinquency-prevention strategies are also analyzed.

Required text, readings and viewings

  • Bernard, Snipes and Gerould, Vold's Theoretical Criminology, Oxford University Press, Seventh edition, 2016.
  • All links on weekly schedule
  • All films specified on the schedule. They will be shown in class, so attendance is important.

Grading standards and policy, exams, paper and panel (UPS items 3, 4, 5)

Grading standards and policy

     100 points can be earned: 20 for each exam, 30 for the paper, slides and presentation, and 10 for attendance (2 points for attending each presentation by another student panel).

     Semester grades will be assigned using the conventional scale (A=90, B=80, C=70, D=60, F=59 or lower), curved if necessary to reflect class performance.

     Failure to complete any component of the course forfeits those points and may result in a term grade of "F".

     No extra credit assignments will be given. The plus/minus system is not used.

     Any instance of academic dishonesty will result in a term grade of "F" and referral to the Dean.


     Three non-cumulative exams worth 20 points each that test comprehension of readings, lectures, class discussions and videos.

     A makeup exam for the first or second midterm may be given for a documented emergency. Students who cannot take either of these exams on the scheduled date should e-mail. They will have one opportunity to take the make-up during the next class session; if they cannot they should drop the course.

     Students cannot make up more than one of the first two exams. There are no makeups for the final. Students who cannot legitimately take the final may at the instructor's discretion be given an "I"ncomplete.

     Each exam is a mandatory component of the course. To earn a grade higher than "F" all must be taken.

Panel, paper, films

     Each student will turn in a five-page paper, prepare a slide show based on the paper, and present their work in class. Participating in a panel is a required components of the course and must be done to earn a passing grade.


     There are sixteen student panels. Each panel is assigned a film and a theory.

     Panels split the first 90 minutes of their assigned film into equal-length segments, one per panelist. For example, if there are three students on a panel, each can take about 30 minutes of the film; if there are two students, each can take half. (For "Hood 2 Hood" each panelist takes a different city.)

     Students go through their film segment and find scene(s) that illustrate or relate to an aspect of their panel's assigned theory (not the entire theory - just a specific, directly applicable part.) Students prepare a paper and deliver an oral presentation that connects their chosen film segment(s) with selected aspect(s) of the theory.

     Members of the same panel should collaborate to insure that they address different scenes.

     Films, theories and assigned panels

     Films will be shown in class. DVD's will as necessary be loaned to panelists in advance. Known alternative sources are indicated in the weekly schedule.

"Deliver Us From Evil" – Panel 1: Biological; Panel 2: Psychological

"Stevie" – Panel 3: Biological; Panel 4: Psychological

"I Am a Promise" – Panel 5: Strain; Panel 6: Neighborhoods & Crime; Panel 7: Control

"Hood 2 Hood: The Blockumentary" (Disc 2, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Compton only) –

Panel 8: Strain; Panel 9: Neighborhoods & Crime; Panel 10: Control

"Latin Kings: A Street Gang Story" – Panel 11: Labeling; Panel 12: Conflict Crim.; Panel 13: Learning

"The Weather Underground" – Panel 14: Labeling; Panel 15: Conflict Crim.; Panel 16: Learning

     Paper (20 points)

     Avoid plagiarism! Click here

     Students prepare a formal, five-page paper that ties in one or two specific scenes from the film segment(s) to specific aspect(s) of their panel's assigned criminological theory, as discussed in the text. Instead of generalities they should cover a narrowly defined area in depth.

     Papers should follow conventional academic format and be structured as follows:

  • One-inch margins all around, double-spaced, 12 point type. No fancy type, no graphics.
  • Page 0 is a cover sheet with the student's name, panel number, assigned film, assigned theory
  • Page 1 includes a summary of applicable parts of theory & a description of the chosen film scene(s)

     A. Crime theory: Students identify the main criminological theory (e.g., biological) and in two or three succinct, well-written paragraphs describe the specific aspect(s) of this theory that will be applied to the film scene(s). Students must summarize using their own words and thoughts. They must not quote or paraphrase from the text or simply substitute words. Endnotes should be used to reference applicable page(s) in the text. (Endnotes go on page 5 - see below.)

     B. Film scene(s): Students summarize the specific film scene(s) in one or two succinct paragraphs. Students must summarize using their own words and thoughts. They must not quote or paraphrase from the text or simply substitute words. Endnotes should be used to reference scene locations in the film.

  • Pages 2-4 connect the specific aspects of the theory with the film scene(s) described in page 1. How do the film scenes serve as an example of the theory? What is/are the connections?
  • Answers should be carefully structured. Students should strive to write clearly and succinctly, avoiding jargon and technical language, and using their own words and sentences. They must not quote or paraphrase the text or any other sources, written or Internet, or mimic what others have written by substituting different words.

    Endnotes should be used to reference page numbers in the text. Spelling, grammar and good composition are crucial.

  • Page 5 is for endnotes. List references, giving page numbers from the text and minutes from the film scenes (e.g., 32-34 mis., 56-62 mis.)

     SPECIAL NOTE: This is not an exercise in applying "common sense" or material to which students may have been exposed to in other classes. It's an exercise in using criminological concepts discussed in the assigned text to explain or comment on specific film scenes.

     PowerPoint slides (5 points)

     Students reduce key aspects of the paper to concise bullet points that are placed on three or four PowerPoint slides. Black lettering on a white background, NO graphics. For example:





     Presentation (5 points)

     Slides are used as a basis for presenting the key aspects of the paper in class. Students will of course go into more detail, but presentations should be kept to no longer than five minutes. The same sequence is followed as on the paper:

1. Brief description of the specific aspects of the theory being used (no analysis yet.)

2. Specific scenes from the film are described in some detail (no analysis yet.)

3. Analysis of how the chosen aspect(s) of the theory relate to these film scenes.

     Students should rehearse their presentations, using the slides as prompts. Reading from the paper or from notes is excruciating for the audience and will cause a loss of points.


     Each student is graded separately based on their unique contribution.

     Papers and presentations are graded on clarity, coverage, conciseness, accuracy, quality of thought, execution and following instructions.

     Everything must be a student's own original work for this class. Students may not use a paper or project from another course.

Accommodations, academic integrity (UPS items 6-7)

Accomodations for documented special needs:

Academic integrity:

Emergency Instructions (UPS item 8)

Emergency instructions homepage:

Active shooters and hostage-takers – escape and shelter in place information:

  • Depending on the suspect's proximity, quickly decide whether to stay or run.
  • Either way, spread out.
  • If shelter in place, lock or barricade the door.
  • Take whatever cover is available. Use furniture to your advantage.
  • Quietly plan what to do if suspect gets in. Confronting the shooter is an option.
  • If run away, keep spread out. Use multiple routes.
  • Don't charge into arriving officers. Keep both arms visible.
  • Call 911 asap. Don't wait for others to do it.

Earthquakes and fires

  • In case of earthquake, drop and cover.
  • In case of a fire, leave immediately. Use the stairs.
  • Assembly point is the adjacent faculty parking lot.

Classroom management

Cell phones, pagers and laptops

       Please set cell phones and pagers to silent mode.

       Absolutely no use of laptops or other electronic devices in class. NO recording. Laptops and other devices are distracting to users, other students and the instructor. Students with special needs are exempt for certain rules (please bring your form on the first day of class.) Please take notes the old-fashioned way and plan your online activities accordingly.

       Why the rule?  For an illustrated reason, click here.

Schedule, including assignments and topics (UPS item 5)

Note: This schedule lacks links and is always "out of date."
For the most current schedule with live links see the homepage.

Week 1 - 8/25: Criminology as a science

Slide show
Text chapter: 1
Online: Research process Research designs

Week 2 - 9/1: Biological theories

Slide show
Text chapter: 4
Online: NAS effects of marijuana   NIH/NIDA effects of marijuana   NIH/NIDA effects of cocaine  News article effects of cocaine

Week 3 - 9/8: Psychological theories
Slide show
Text chapter: 5
Online:  Prisoner mental health problems

Week 4 - 9/15 - First half: "Deliver Us From Evil"
Second half: Panels 1 & 2 present
Online: IMDB  Oliver O'Grady Oliver O'Grady's confession
 (Film shown in class. Can be rented on YouTube and Amazon Video and purchased on DVD.

Week 5 - 9/22 - First half: "Stevie"
Second half: Panels 3 & 4 present
Online: IMDB  Kartemquin films
(Film shown in class. Can be streamed on Netflix, rented on YouTube and Amazon Video and purchased on DVD.)

Week 6 - 9/29 - First half: EXAM 1 (weeks 1-5)
Second half: Strain theories
Slide show
Text chapter: 8

Week 7 - 10/6: Neighborhoods and crime
Slide show
Text chapter: 7
Online: "Location, Location, Location" "Getting out of Dodge"

Week 8 - 10/13: Control theories
Slide show
Text chapter: 10

Week 9 - 10/20 - First half: "I Am a Promise"
Second half: Panels 5, 6 & 7 present
Online: Docurama
(Film shown in class. Can be streamed at  Sundance Now)

Week 10 - 10/27 - First half: "Hood 2 Hood: The Blockumentary"
Second half: Panels 8, 9 & 10 present
Online: Rich Kid Entertainment  PBS on Crips and Bloods  "Crips and Bloods: Made in America" on YouTube
(Film shown in class. Available from online sources for purchase on DVD)

Week 11 - 11/3 - First half: EXAM 2 (weeks 6-10)
Second half: Labeling theories & conflict criminology
Labeling slide show Conflict crim. slide show
Text chapter: 11

Week 12 - 11/10: No class (Veteran's Day

Week 13 - 11/17: Learning theories
Slide show
Text chapter: 9

Week 14 - 11/24: Fall recess - no class

Week 15 - 12/1 - First half: "Latin Kings: A Street Gang Story"
Second half: Panels 11 & 12 present
Online: Wikipedia
(Film shown in class. Available free on You Tube

Week 16 - 12/8 - First half: "The Weather Underground"
Second half: Panels 13 & 14 present
Online:  PBS film website
(Film shown in class. Available to rent on Amazon video and YouTube

Week 17 - 12/15 - 2:30-4:20 pm: Final exam (Weeks 11-16)