Criminology is the social science of crime and deviance. It is an academic specialty with an emphasis on criminal research and analysis. Criminologists are the thinkers behind the criminal justice system. Some work in pure research, conducting social and behavioral studies to help resolve crime- and justice-related problems and advance criminological scholarship. Others have an applied orientation, working in specialized areas like high-level criminal investigations, justice system policy analysis, or legal administration.
Multidisciplinary criminology lies at the cross-section of sociology, psychology, policy analysis, public administration, and the law. Practitioners investigate quantitative and qualitative evidence to identify criminal motivations and the best preventative approaches. They may study DNA evidence, drug crimes, political reform, or police brutality. No matter the topic, criminologists spend a lot of time writing reports and interpreting statistics.
Most criminologists work in research and are qualified at the doctoral level. Although there is no prevailing organization that accredits criminology programs, the best criminology schools are accredited by an entity recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
To become a criminologist, it's necessary to first earn a bachelor's degree after finishing high school. At schools without a criminology major, students usually study a related area like sociology, psychology, anthropology, or criminal justice. For future criminologists, any of these majors can be a ready, topical springboard toward graduate criminological research. Regardless of the major, bachelor students are advised to establish a broad-based liberal arts foundation, taking classes in statistics and the behavioral and social sciences.
There are undergraduate programs with specialized criminology tracks in areas such as Corrections, Law Enforcement, or Forensic Behavioral Science. Where programs lack formal specialized tracks, students can tailor their courses towards an anticipated specialization, although it is not required. For those planning a career in forensic science, for example, courses in cognitive neuroscience or clinical psychopathology would prove useful.
Bachelor-level coursework in Criminology typically includes:
What can you be with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology?
Professional criminologists are usually expected to have a graduate criminology degree. Almost a third, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), have a terminal master's degree. Others earn a master's en route to a doctoral program, gaining valuable research experience that will shine on doctoral program applications. Aspiring criminologists often earn a degree in criminal justice or criminology at this level.
The main concern of graduate school is mastery of the research process, especially population-level data analysis. Students also learn practical skills in technology applications, human resources and management, and behavioral intervention. Master criminology programs may be general in nature or highly specialized. Common areas of specialization are biocriminology, feminist criminology, penology, criminal psychology, and environmental criminology.
Dual master programs are available at many of the top criminology schools, pairing criminology with areas like public administration or psychology. There are also programs combining a Master of Science in Criminology with the Juris Doctor (J.D.) from law school or the Master of Business Administration (MBA) from business school. Others offer an accelerated '4+1' path for those who know early on they will ultimately go on to graduate school.
To get into graduate school, students will need a bachelor's degree and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Applicants usually need to write a personal statement discussing their interest and intentions in the field. Once admitted, many programs let students choose whether or not they will complete a thesis for graduation.
Master-level coursework in Criminology might include:
What jobs are available to master-qualified criminologists?
More than 60 percent of criminologists have a doctoral degree, according to the U.S. BLS. Why? As theorists and researchers, criminology experts are most commonly employed by government, nonprofits, think tanks, and universities. In these settings, the doctorate is the standard, qualifying one to conduct independent research and earn optimal pay and benefits.
Doctoral candidates generate high-quality research on the measurement, causality, and consequences of criminal behavior and crime-related public policy. They become immersed in sophisticated research methods, statistical analyses, and theories of criminology for modern populations. Many doctoral candidates work while they finish school, since advanced positions open to professional criminologists frequently require prior work experience.
Doctoral programs typically require a lengthy dissertation approved by a committee. They may administer comprehensive or 'preliminary' exams to students before they can be admitted to candidacy. Students usually need to complete core coursework in areas like:
A Ph.D. in Criminology can lead to a career as a:
We found 67 schools offering criminology degree programs in the U.S.
|Arkansas State University - Main Campus||State University||AR||10429|
|Auburn University Main Campus||Auburn University||AL||21860|
|Barber - Scotia College||Concord||NC||543|
|Bridgewater State College||Bridgewater||MA||8839|
|California State University - Fresno||Fresno||CA||19056|
|Central Connecticut State University||New Britain||CT||12252|
|Chapman University - University College||Orange||CA||6145|
|Cuny John Jay College Criminal Justice||New York||NY||10612|
|Delaware State University||Dover||DE||3103|
|Dominican University||River Forest||IL||2317|
|Eastern Michigan University||Ypsilanti||MI||23561|
|Grace College and Theological Seminary||Winona Lake||IN||1331|
|Indiana State University||Terre Haute||IN||11051|
|Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus||Indiana||PA||13410|
|Lees - Mcrae College||Banner Elk||NC||712|
|Midamerica Nazarene University||Olathe||KS||1717|
|Midland Lutheran College||Fremont||NE||1025|
|Mount Aloysius College||Cresson||PA||1297|
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh||Raleigh||NC||28619|
|Oglala Lakota College||Kyle||SD||1174|
|Ohio State University - Main Campus||Columbus||OH||47952|
|Ohio University - Main Campus||Athens||OH||19920|
|Old Dominion University||Norfolk||VA||18969|
|Saint Edward's University||Austin||TX||3824|
|Saint Josephs University||Philadelphia||PA||6961|
|Saint Leo University||Saint Leo||FL||8720|
|Sam Houston State University||Huntsville||TX||12358|
|Suny College at Buffalo||Buffalo||NY||11399|
|Suny College at Old Westbury||Old Westbury||NY||2995|
|Texas A & M University - Commerce||Commerce||TX||7508|
|Texas A & M University - Kingsville||Kingsville||TX||5948|
|The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey||Pomona||NJ||6312|
|The University of Tampa||Tampa||FL||3452|
|The University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson||TX||10945|
|The University of Texas of the Permian Basin||Odessa||TX||2224|
|University of Central Oklahoma||Edmond||OK||14099|
|University of Delaware||Newark||DE||19072|
|University of La Verne||La Verne||CA||6603|
|University of Maryland - College Park||College Park||MD||33189|
|University of Minnesota - Duluth||Duluth||MN||9087|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minneapolis||MN||45481|
|University of Missouri - St Louis||Saint Louis||MO||15397|
|University of Nevada - Reno||Reno||NV||13149|
|University of Northern Iowa||Cedar Falls||IA||14106|
|University of Southern Maine||Portland||ME||10820|
|University of St Thomas||Saint Paul||MN||11288|
|University of the District of Columbia||Washington||DC||5358|
|University of Utah||Salt Lake City||UT||24948|
|Upper Iowa University||Fayette||IA||4859|
|Valley Forge Military College||Wayne||PA||214|
|Virginia Union University||Richmond||VA||1538|
|Western Michigan University||Kalamazoo||MI||28657|
|Wharton County Junior College||Wharton||TX||4571|