Matthew C. Atherton, Ph.D.
Matthew C. Atherton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Faculty Fellow for Teaching & Learning for the 21st Century Student

Office: SBSB 2242
Phone: 760.750.8571
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Matthew Atherton is Faculty in Sociology and additionally teaches in the Criminology & Justice Studies Major.  He is currently a Faculty Fellow for Teaching & Learning for the 21st Century.  Being a first-generation college student has strongly influenced his research, teaching, and student oriented service at California State University San Marcos.  Other research interests include Latino student populations, innovative pedagogy, popular criminology, courts and criminological theory.  Matthew was recently promoted to Associate Professor. 

Matthew's education began with courses at Palomar Community College where he developed a love for sociology and criminology.  That love of sociology took him to three additional colleges and culminated in a doctorate degree.

The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
Doctorate Degree:  Crime, Law and Justice (December 2005)
Dissertation:  Study of Hispanic Outcomes in U.S. Federal Courts

California State University San Marcos
San Marcos, California
Mater of Arts Degree:  Sociological Practice (May 2000)
Thesis:  Restorative Justice -- The Effects of Race and Gender on the Court Mediation Process

University of California, San Diego
San Diego, California
Bachelor of Arts Degree:  Sociology (1997)
Emphasis:  Criminology, Sociological Theory and Social Problems

Matthew began his CSUSM research career years ago as Field Research Coordinator at the Social Behavioral Research Institute.  His research interests are diverse.  His criminological work has focused on stratification in the court process as well as sentencing outcomes.  Drawing from his experience as a first-generation student, Matthew has a long-standing interest in researching higher education outcomes.  His research has included such areas as financial concerns, educational aspirations, demographics and academic preparedness among non-traditional student populations.  Additionally, Matthew has published pieces about the use of technological innovations in the classroom, including incorporating the use of films, social media and web-based mapping tools.

Recent publications:

2013  - Atherton, Matthew "Teaching Criminological Theory through Film:  Utilizing Popular Criminology in the Classroom" Journal of Excellence in College Teaching.

2012 - Atherton, Matthew "Academic Preparedness of First-Generation College Students:  Two Perspectives" Journal of College Student Development (Forthcoming 2015).

2012 - Atherton, Matthew "Using Web-Based GIS Tools to Evaluate Spatial Aspects of Crime" CSU Geospatial Review, Vol. 10, Spring 2012.

2012 - Atherton, Matthew "Tweeting Criminology:  Using Twitter to Teach Criminological Theory." The Criminologist

2011 - Atherton, Matthew "Narcissistic Youth?  Using Composite Measures to Understand Entitlement."  Teaching Research Methods in Social Sciences ed. Beth Skott


Matthew fell in love with teaching years ago when he was given his first opportunity to teach a course.  He regularly teaches Criminology, White Collar Crime, Morality and the Law, and Quantitative Research Methods.  Additionally, he has taught the Criminological Theory & Practice, and Social Research Process at the graduate level.  He is currently developing a Popular Criminology course based on several special topics courses that focused on the intersection of popular culture and criminological theory.  Check the current schedule for updated information on courses he is teaching.

Please click the button below to view Matthew Atherton's Curriculum Vitae.

Curriculum Vitae