Department of Law and Society

School of Humanities


Department of Law and Society
School of Humanities
Houston Baptist University
7502 Fondren Road
Houston TX 77074-3298
Phone: (281) 649-3600
Fax: (281) 649-3601

Department of Law and Society Faculty:

Christopher Hammons, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Humanities; Professor of Government
Marie A. Mater, PhD
Associate Professor of Speech Communications
Robert Stacey, PhD
Associate Provost; Associate Professor in Government
John O. Tyler, Jr. , PhD
Associate Professor of Government
D.R. (Randy) Wilson, PhD
Chair, Department of Law and Society; Professor of Sociology
Lisa Carroll-Davis, PhD
Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies
Craig Ferrell, JD
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

The Department of Law and Society offers a variety of programs that will prepare you for careers in law, public service, social work, law enforcement, public policy, and business.  Our goal is to provide you with an education that draws on Great Texts and big ideas while providing you with the job skills that will enhance your resume no matter what field you choose to pursue. 

  • A Criminal Justice minor will help you prepare for vocations in the criminal justice field (local, state and federal government, police, penal system, the court system, etc.). This minor will provide you with an understanding of crime, the criminal justice systems, and terminology utilized in the field. Your study will highlight the complexities of the criminal justice discipline and encourage you to think critically about real examples faced by criminal justice practitioners. This program will start Spring 2015.

  • The Family Studies program (minor only) can provide you with a fundamental understanding of the essential dimensions of family life. You will study the theories, contexts, and processes used to understand the dynamics of family interaction related to communication, sexuality, childhood, economics, and family roles. The family studies minor will help prepare you for careers in fields such as marketing, counseling, ministry, social work, public administration and community service.

    Check out our Family Studies Blog!
  • Our Government program (major or minor) can help to launch you into a variety of careers in the public and private sector. You'll study some of the great thinkers of ancient and modern politics, develop a strong understanding of the US Constitution and the American political system, and apply what you've learned to modern social issues.  We'll teach you how to analyze social issues, develop solutions, and present them in a clear and coherent manner.  Graduates of our Government program have gone on to careers in non-profit organizations, law enforcement, government service, and law. We even have a recent graduate who is the deputy regional director for a United States Senator!
  • A minor in Latin American Studies (offered as a minor only) provides experience in interdisciplinary inquiry through a curriculum that emphasizes area-specific knowledge of political, economic, and historical movements, as well as linguistic understanding of the language of these movements. If you have interests in the Latin American region, the minor in Latin American Studies can prepare you for graduate studies, for careers in international business with operations in Latin America, in politics, and for work in ministries that serve individuals from the region.
  • Interested in going to law school or a career in law? Our Legal Studies program was designed by practicing attorneys to provide you with an education that will help you get into and succeed in law school.  The program is a combined major and minor and you'll take classes from a variety of different areas related to the study and practice of law including government, history, economics, and communications.  You'll also develop an understanding of the different areas of law such as trial law, business law, and criminal law.  Legal Studies is a perfect fit for students who want to go to law school and pursue a career in law, but it would also be valuable to anybody interested in a law related career.
  • Studying Sociology (offered as a minor only) will help you to understand fundamental questions about the human experience, society in general, and human dynamics.  It's a scientific discipline that studies human social behavior from casual and short interactions on the street to all-encompassing institutions like the economy, religion, marriage, and family.  It is a great minor if you are interested in social work, law enforcement, public policy, or missionary work.  Many of our students who minor in Sociology are interested in graduate social work programs and related careers in that field.  It's also a great minor if you are interested in serving low-income communities as a teacher, pastor, or public servant.
  • The Speech Communication program (offered as a minor only) provides you with a strong foundation in the theory, practice, and art of successful communication. The ability to speak effectively, successfully argue a position, and persuade a listening audience is a skill that will benefit you in any career. Because so many of our students are interested in law and business, we'll help hone your mediation skills, provide you with a strong background in argumentation and advocacy, and develop your ability to be an effective communicator, problem-solver, and advocate no matter what your chosen career path. Speech Communications is a great minor if you are looking at a career in law, business, teaching, or any career that requires you to speak in public or small groups.

Regardless of which program you decide on, all of the courses offered in the Department focus on five common elements:
  • Great Texts
  • Research / Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • Effective Communication (written and oral)
  • Ethics

Studying in these fields can prepare you for careers in:
  • Advertising
  • Public Service
  • Demography
  • Family Services
  • Foreign Service
  • Government (leadership, legislation, campaigns, etc)
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Intelligence Field
  • Law Enforcement
  • Law School
  • Lobbyist
  • Mission Work
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Public Relations
  • Research Analyst
  • Sales
  • Social Work
  • Urban Planning


Charles A. McClelland, Jr. is the police chief of the Houston Police Department (HPD).

"I am very pleased to hear that HBU is starting a Criminal Justice Program that is based in ethics. Ethics in law enforcement is one of the necessary core values that are needed to build trust and confidence with the public. In order words, men and women in the Criminal Justice profession must always do the right thing."

Allen Fletcher is the State Representative from Texas House District 130. Representative Fletcher serves as the Vice Chair of Homeland Security and Public Safety, the Chairman of the Law Enforcement Subcommittee, and is the only member of the 25 person Harris County delegation serving on the Transportation Committee.

“A Criminal Justice minor is an excellent degree to prepare students for vocations in the criminal justice field (local, state and federal government, police, penal system, the court system, etc.). As the only retired peace officer in the Texas House of Representative and as a member of the Homeland Security and Public Safety committee - I have a unique understanding for upholding the rule of law and protecting the public. These are core responsibilities of any government representing a free society. The opportunity to attain a HBU degree in Criminal Justice is one that would be respected in the Criminal Justice community, and to have someone like Professor Ferrell to oversee the program is a bonus."

Lee P. Brown had a long-time career in law enforcement, leading police departments in Atlanta, Houston and New York over the course of nearly four decades. During this time he helped to implement a number of techniques in community policing that appeared to result in substantial decreases in crime. In 1993 Brown moved to Washington, DC for a national appointment as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (or "Drug Czar") under President Bill Clinton. The Senate unanimously confirmed his appointment. Then in 1997 Brown was the first African American to be elected mayor of Houston, Texas. He was reelected twice to serve the maximum of three terms from 1998 to 2004.

“Best wishes to you in your exciting assignment to establish a criminal justice program at HBU. I have had the opportunity to establish such programs at two universities. My experience showed me students will find the program to by both interesting and beneficial in their lives. Many students will appreciate the program because it will prepare them for rewarding careers in the criminal justice system. Others will take classes because the criminal justice system impacts all of us in one way or another. Learning about crime and society's response to crime will benefit all students as they enter into their chosen careers in the community. I commend HBU for the decision to establish a criminal justice program and choosing you to develop it."