About the school

The School of Social Research and Justice Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno combines the research expertise and scholarly interests of faculty in the Departments of Communication Studies, Criminal Justice and Sociology. It also houses the Grant Sawyer Center for Justice Studies, a state-wide program for research and public service. Additionally, the school includes the Judicial Studies and Justice Management degree programs. Faculty members in the school enjoy national and international reputations in their fields, publishing in the most prestigious professional journals and presenting papers at national and international conferences. The departments in the school provide a range of stimulating courses, undergraduate programs and graduate programs for students with an interest in understanding the dynamics of our complex world. The School brings together faculty with expertise in a wide range of related areas, pursuing the intersections between our social structures, the interactions in which we engage and the identities we develop. The school is particularly focused on research in communication, social processes, social structures and justice issues.

What we offer

Students majoring in any of the departments are encouraged to study across boundaries to broaden their academic experience. Students can either major or minor in any of the three academic areas represented in the school (communications, criminal justice, or sociology). The school includes several graduate programs, including an M.A. in Criminal Justice, an M.A. in Sociology and a Master's in Justice Management (offered online). The school also offers a Master's and Ph.D. program in Judicial Studies designed for sitting judges.

Situated within the College of Liberal Arts, the school benefits from relationships among a wide range of faculty. Furthermore, faculty members remain accessible to students because of small class-sizes campus-wide. Students in the school may seek careers in policy-making, social services, non-profit and government agencies, research and analysis positions, public service, public relations, human resources and in the legal system at various levels, from police officers to court manager. Many majors continue on to law school or professional/graduate school.


The School of Social Research and Justice Studies is an interdisciplinary collaboration that strives to support individuals, families and communities through rigorous research, effective teaching and community engagement. The School’s scholarship gives voice to diverse perspectives, informs policy and practice, and addresses the complex social issues faced in the 21st century. The School devotes itself to disseminating its research and scholarship to challenge students, practitioners and community members to think critically about social inequality and injustice and become agents of social transformation.

Stand For It: Advancing social movements with informed research

This series is dedicated to hearing directly from professors and researchers about how to solve the challenges we face as a society.

Check out the Stand for it Series
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Graduates dressed in regalia hold up diplomas during commencement outside

Degree programs

View a list of undergraduate and graduate degrees in communication studies, criminal justice and sociology.

Social Research faculty group together for a photo in the conference room


Our faculty have a diverse range of interests and areas of expertise. Faculty members offer change-oriented curriculum and intriguing research agendas.

Faculty areas of expertise include the following areas:

Family and gender; work and family; gender and sexualities; juvenile offenders; identity, attitudes and experiences
Panoramic view of campus from the Pennington building during summer
Mental health and illness; relationships between psychological characteristics; experiences of and attitudes toward Vietnam veterans
Front of Pennington Achievement Center building during summer
Rhetoric and social movements; economic development in Africa; political corruption; attitudes across the globe; globalization
Manzanita Lake
New religious movements; ethnicity and identity; class and inequality
Front of Knowledge Center building in the evening