Dr. Bianca E. Bersani joined the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice as an associate professor in the fall of 2019. She earned her PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, MA in Sociology and BA in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln

As a life course criminologist, her research interests involve the study of patterns and predictors of offending from adolescence through adulthood. Key themes include the investigation of desistance and persistence in offending, the factors that faciliate and hinder desistance from criminal offending, divergence in offending across race/ethnicity, gender, and immigration status, and the application of innovative methodologies to understanding the mechanisms of behavioral change. 

Dr. Bersani is the Director of the Maryland Crime Research and Innovation Center (MCRIC). The Center offers academic expertise, conducts research, integrates data, builds partnerships between government, academia, and industry, and develops and evaluates innovative criminal justice strategies aimed at preventing and reducing crime. 

She directed the CCJS Honors Program from 2019-2024, a unique 2-year opportunity for undergraduate CCJS majors to challenge themselves academically, interact with departmental faculty, and gain hands-on research experience. Dr. Bersani was awarded the Winston Family Faculty Honors Award in 2023. This award is the highest teaching honor that the Honors College at UMD bestows, established by alumni Roger and Karen Winston, to recognize outstanding faculty advising, mentorship, and supervision of Honors students at the university.

Areas of Interest

  • Life Course Criminology
  • Desistance and persistence
  • Family and Marriage
  • Immigration and crime
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Mechanisms of behavioral change


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University of Maryland
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University of Nebraska
Course Name Course Title Semester Syllabus
CCJS418L Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice; Crime over the Life Course Spring 2020

Current Students

Former Students

  • Alyse Sherrick

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Sydney Hsin Jaw
  • Jane (Jae Eun) Lee
Bersani Image
2141 LeFrak Hall
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
bbersani [at] umd.edu