Criminology degrees are offered at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels. This degree will prepare individuals for entry-level positions in crime labs as forensic specialists, private investigators, law enforcement officers, and various other criminal justice related careers.
Criminology Degree Training and Courses
The curriculum in a criminology program is designed to help students learn about the criminal justice system and its processes, the roles played by individuals in the system, and the fundamentals of crime scene investigation and processing. There are many specialty areas within criminology, such as ballistic analysis, fingerprint analysis, and trace evidence processing. Criminology students learn how to solve crimes according to the scientific method and gain skills in analyzing suspect behaviors.
Examples of courses in a criminology degree curriculum include:
- Theories of Social Order
- Culture and Crime
- Economics of Crime and Social Problems
- Criminal Justice System
- Criminal Procedures and Evidence
- Police and Society
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Drugs and Crime
- White Collar Crime
- Psychology of Criminal Behavior
- Punishment and Corrections
- Criminal Investigations
- Crime Analysis
- Criminal Justice Administration
- Crime and Public Policy
- Constitutional Law: Criminal Process and Rights
- Surveillance and Privacy in Contemporary Society
- Criminal Justice Theory
Profiles of Criminology Degree Programs
Loyola University Chicago confers a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology that prepares students to assume positions of leadership in criminal justice-oriented organizations. To earn the degree students complete 31 credit hours of coursework divided between 5 required courses and 5 electives. Courses in the core program of study include Theories of Criminal Behavior, Program Evaluation and Research Methods, and Applied Data Analysis and Interpretation. The program may be pursued under a thesis or a non-thesis option; students on the non-thesis track complete a comprehensive examination in lieu of the thesis. Loyola University Chicago established its first criminal justice and criminology degree program in 1975, and students have been benefitting from the university’s proximity to and partnership with Chicago and Cook County criminal justice agencies since that time. Students who do not hold an undergraduate degree may also be interested in the school’s five year bachelor’s/master’s program in criminology and criminal justice.
The University of Texas at Dallas offers a Master of Science in Criminology program through its School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences. The multidisciplinary curriculum covers theoretical and applied research in the causes and control of crime as well as variations in the patterns of crime over time and geography. Students enrolled in the program complete a 15 credit hour core of courses such as Etiology of Crime and Criminality, Crime and Justice Policy, and Research Design. Students additionally complete 21 credit hours of electives, of which 6 graduate level credit hours may be taken from programs outside Criminology and of which a further 6 credit hours may be faculty-supervised independent study. Graduates are prepared to assume advanced roles in criminal justice, to teach as adjunct faculty at the college level, or to pursue terminal degrees in criminal justice-related areas. An online completion option for the Master of Science in Criminology is also available.
Arizona State University’s well-regarded School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice for students interested in post-graduate study. This program incorporates two core areas of study, theory and research, as well as research methods and analytical techniques. To meet the graduation requirements, students must write a thesis for a total of 6 credit hours that involves independent and original research, thought, and contributions to criminal justice knowledge. Fundamental courses in the program include Research Methods in Criminal Justice, Statistical Tools for Criminal Justice, and Advanced Statistical Analysis. The criminal justice program at Arizona State University has been highly ranked by US News and World Report and its faculty have been recognized for their contributions to research in the fields of criminal justice and criminology. A five-year program for a combined bachelor’s/master’s in criminal justice and criminology is also offered at the school.
Career Outlook for Criminology Degree Program Graduates
A bachelor’s degree in criminology can be completed in four years, with an additional two years typical for completing a master’s degree. Job growth for most positions law enforcement has slowed, but employment opportunities are abundant as experienced professionals retire or seek other careers. While employment data for criminologists is not available, the average annual salary for detectives and criminal investigators, who perform similar work, was reported at $77,210 as of 2015.1
Online Criminology Degree Program Info, Courses, and Criminal Justice Schools
What Jobs Can You Get With a Degree in Criminology?
Some possible job titles for criminology graduates include:
- Correctional Officer
- Correctional Treatment Specialist
- Criminal Investigator
- First-Line Supervisor of Police and Detectives
- Homicide Detective
- Police Officer
- Probation Officer
1. O*Net OnLine, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.00