Bachelor's Degree Programs in Criminology

If you're interested in understanding, investigating or preventing crimes, a criminology degree program may be ideal for you. Find out more about degree programs, coursework, online options and what jobs you can get after graduation. Schools offering Criminology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Bachelor's Degree Program in Criminology?

Enrolling in a criminology bachelor's degree program will provide you with a full education in the foundations of crime and criminals. You'll learn about crime prevention and investigation methods, as well as the judicial and correctional systems, law enforcement procedures and criminal law. You'll also become educated in the social, cultural and psychological foundations of criminal behavior and the various social institutions designed to apprehend and rehabilitate criminals.

Because of the heavy emphasis placed on the social sciences in criminology bachelor's degree programs, such degrees are generally granted in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) format, but Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees are also available. You may also earn a B.A. or B.S. by enrolling in a criminal justice program; these programs generally allow you to take most of the same courses as criminology studies do.

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Common Courses Sociology, abnormal psychology, juvenile delinquency, criminal law, civil liberties
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and online degree programs are available
Possible Careers Parole officer, private investigator, rehabilitation counselor, police officer, detective

What Kinds of Classes Will I Take?

While exact course requirements vary depending on the school and program type, most criminology and criminal justice bachelor's degree programs are structured similarly. As a student in such a program, you'll start by completing core courses in the social and operational foundations of criminals and criminal justice. You'll also have to complete numerous elective courses in criminology and criminal justice.

You may be able to earn credits towards graduation for completing an internship in the criminal justice field. The topics that may be covered in courses commonly required in criminology and criminal justice programs include:

  • Criminal law
  • Law enforcement and society
  • Foundations of corrections systems
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Sociology of crime and criminals
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Civil liberties
  • Criminal surveillance
  • Economics of criminology

How Do Online Programs Work?

If you want to earn a bachelor's degree in criminology but can't commit to the scheduling or obligations of an on-campus program, you're in luck. Numerous accredited institutions offer B.A. or B.S. programs in Criminal Justice or Criminology that can be completed online. As a student in an online program, you'll earn the same degree and take almost all the same courses you would in an on-campus program. Instead of an internship program, some online programs offer an applied senior project in a relevant area of criminal justice.

You'll complete all your course requirements through interactive teaching and learning platforms like Blackboard Vista or WebCT. These programs allow course instructors to post lecture notes, readings and assignments, which you can then access, download and submit once you've completed them. You can also use your course delivery system's e-mail, message board or chat functions to communicate with your professors and fellow students. Other than a computer with an Internet connection, all you'll need is software like Adobe Reader and Microsoft Word to view and complete assignments.

What Are My Career Options After Graduation?

As a graduate of a bachelor's degree program in criminology, you can pursue a career in law enforcement, corrections or the judicial system. Potential job titles in these professional areas include police officer, rehabilitation counselor, detective, private investigator, municipal services official and probation or parole officer.

You will need to meet additional qualifications to obtain some of these positions. For example, police and corrections officers often face rigorous background checks, physical examinations and training programs. If you're interested in working in criminal law or conducting sociological research into criminal justice, you may consider continuing on to a graduate-level degree program in criminology or a related field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Kaplan University

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  • University of Miami

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