Violence in America
CLASS Connections TITLE

Course Syllabus

University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Violence in America: 44.327

Professor: James Byrne, Ph. D. Course Website:
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00AM-12:15PM Location: Coburn 109
Office: Mahoney 200A Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-11am by appointment
Email: Phone: (978) 934-3992

Course Description: The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in-depth analysis of the causes, context, and control of a wide range of violent crimes. Topics covered in this class include: Murder (mass, serial), rape, robbery, assault, violence in the helping professions, violence in the workplace, violence in school, community violence, cult violence, and institutional violence.

Required Reading:

  1. Reidel, Marc, and Wayne Welch (2007). Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention (Los Angeles: Roxbury).
  2. Fox, James Alan, Levin, Jack, and Quinet, Kenna(2012) The Will To Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder ( Boston, Ma: Pearson)

Learning Objectives: This course introduces students to a wide spectrum of violent crimes. By the end of the course, students will have a clear understanding of the nature and extent of the violence problem in the United States, and they will be able to provide profiles of both violent offenders and victims. They will also be able to describe the characteristics of the communities where violence is most likely to occur. Finally, students will gain a detailed understanding of the cause, prevention, and control of violent crime.



Grading: Final Course Grades will be determined as follows:

  1. Midterm exam: Tuesday, Oct.18; essay and short answer format (30%)
  2. Final exam, TBA (30%)
  3. Term paper on selected violence topic area (30%) Detailed term paper description is provided; all papers are to be in APA format, and include a review of available research using major journals in the field. A listing of journals is provided on my UML faculty course web page.
  4. Class preparation/participation. Attendance is recorded and students are expected to complete weekly reading assignments prior to class. (10%)


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