This study examines societal perspectives on the use of torture. The investigation was to determine whether people's perceptions of torture change based on the context within which it occurs and if gender impacts those perceptions; whether recent historical events reduce people's reservations about torture; and whether there is a statistically significant correlation between respondents' program of study and their perceptions of torture. The study relied on the results of a self-administered survey where participants were asked to define both what qualifies as torture, and in what context it is acceptable. The study subjects were students earning a Juris Doctor at California Western School of Law, and M.S.W. students at San Diego State University. The survey was anonymous requiring only age, gender, and program of study for statistical purposes. The total sample was comprised of 29 J.D. students and 42 M.S.W. students (N = 71). The data was analyzed using inferential statistics including chi-square, t tests, and correlation tests. The findings of the study indicate that there is a statistically significant correlation (p < .05) between program of study and perceptions of torture. The results also demonstrate that those perceptions are contingent upon the circumstances. This study furthers current research by determining what constitutes torture in the minds of highly educated individuals and by providing a starting point to address misconceptions about it. Note that while torture is not restricted to use by the United States, the focus of this study is on the American experience, and perceptions of torture based on the events of the last decade.