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Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice


Brent Klein

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Criminology and Criminal Justice
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-6503
Office: Currell College, room 210
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Bio [pdf]
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Image of Brent Klein


  • Ph.D. 2020, Michigan State University, Criminal Justice
  • M.S. 2015, University of Arkansas, Sociology
  • B.S., 2013, University of Arkansas, Sociology & Criminal Justice


Brent R. Klein, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina. He specializes in generating refined explanations of violence and producing empirical evidence to guide public policy. His interdisciplinary approach combines elements from sociological criminology, developmental and life-course studies, situational theories, and decision-making processes to foster comprehensive insights into the emergence, causes, and prevention of various types of violent actions.

 Professor Klein's primary areas of study extend to a range of urgent societal issues. This work has focused on school and firearms-related violence, mass shootings, homicide, domestic terrorism, and bias-motivated crimes. His research findings have been featured in peer-reviewed publications such as JAMA Pediatrics, Justice Quarterly, Criminology & Public Policy, Crime & Delinquency, Homicide Studies the Journal of School Violence, and the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, among others.

 Dr. Klein remains the principal investigator for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded longitudinal study on the pathways to school shootings. Moreover, he has co-developed two additional NIJ-funded projects: The American School Shooting Study (TASSS) and the Comparative Gun Violence Project (CGVP). Dr. Klein's research affiliations extend to the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), the American Terrorism Study (ATS), and the Rockefeller Institute of Government’s Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium (RGVRC), where he serves as an affiliate scholar.

 In the past, Klein has provided his expertise as a research consultant to the Michigan State Police (MSP) for their task force on school safety. In addition, he was the inaugural student board member for the ASC's Division on Terrorism & Bias Crimes (DTBC). Dr. Klein is currently recognized as a Fellow of both the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) Doctoral Summit and the NIJ's Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF).


  • Nature, emergence, causes, and prevention of violent behavior
  • School, mass, community, and firearms-related violence
  • Domestic terrorism, extremism, and ideologically motivated violence
  • Firearm policy
  • Violence prevention
  • Quantitative and mixed methods
  • Criminological theory

Recent Publications

Klein, BR, Trowbridge J., Schnell C, Lewis K. Characteristics and Obtainment Methods of Firearms Used in Adolescent School Shootings. JAMA Pediatr. 2024;178(1):73-79. doi:10.1001/jamapediatics.2023.5093.

Current External Grants

Principal Investigator. Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Leakage, and Social Networks: The Legislative, Behavioral, and Social Contexts Surrounding Mass Public Shooting Incidents and Plots. National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Award no. 15PNIJ-23-GG-02408-BSCI, Washington, D.C. ($985,776 awarded).

Principal Investigator. Trajectories of Targeted Violence: Mobilization Trends and Interdiction Opportunities. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate, Award No. 23-STFRG-00026-01-00  ($751,842 awarded).

 Principal Investigator. Investigating Root Causes of School Violence: A Case Control Study of School Violent Offenders, Non-School Youth Violence Offenders, and Non-Offending Youths. National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Award no. 2020-CK-BX-0003, Washington, D.C. ($797,256 awarded).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.