Christopher Purser, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor                                                                                                     cpurser

Director of Graduate Studies

Office:  23 Willingham Hall


Phone:  (256) 765-4535


  • Ph.D.,      Sociology, Mississippi State University, 2010
  • M.S.,       Sociology, Mississippi State University, 2003
  • B.S.,       Psychology/Sociology, University of North Alabama, 1999 

Research Interests: 

  • Criminological Theory
  • Correlates of Criminal Behavior
  • Religiosity and Crime
  • Racial Sentencing Disparities
  • Social Class and Crime    

Courses Taught: 

  • Corrections     
  • Community Corrections
  • Methods  and Statistics in Criminal Justice
  • Theory and Control of Crime
  • Crime in America
  • Contemporary Issues in Corrections
  • Contemporary Issues in Juvenile Justice
  • Management and Policy in Criminal Justice Administration

Dr. Purser has research and teaching interests that primarily lie in the areas of criminological theory, correlates of criminal behavior (e.g., religiosity), and racial sentencing disparities in the American criminal justice system.  His master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation centered on the potential crime-buffering capacity of personal religiosity.  In particular, the former research garnered partial support for the hypothesis that the religiosity/crime relationship is spurious, and is contingent on pre-existing latent personality traits (e.g., self-control).  The latter research found that religiosity exerted minimal moderating effects on the relationship between personal strain and delinquency among a longitudinal, nationally-representative sample of adolescents.  Dr. Purser previously served as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Murray State University (2010-2012), and as instructor/primary academic advisor/instructor for the Criminal Justice/Corrections Certificate Program within the Department of Sociology at Mississippi State University (2007-2009).  As a Research Assistant at Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center, he was part of a research unit that performed a three-year evaluation (2001-2004) of Drug Court Programs within the state of Mississippi, as well as a survey of Mississippi’s Juvenile Detention Facilities.  Professor Purser has co-authored manuscripts published in the Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, and Journal of Criminal Justice.