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Criminology and Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

A criminology or criminal justice bachelor's degree program can prepare you for a career in criminal justice or career advancement in the field. The degree can also prepare for further education like law school or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

What Will a Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree Program Teach Me?

Criminal justice and criminology programs combine training in the criminal justice system with psychology, science, research and communications classes. You'll learn about various criminal behaviors, from violent felonies like murder, to white-collar crimes like embezzlement. Courses might analyze both successful and failed crime prevention methods that have been implemented in the United States.

Programs often allow you to choose from a variety of criminology-related elective courses and might end in a capstone project focused on a criminal justice subject of your choosing. The curriculum can include the following subjects:

  • Juvenile justice system
  • Corrections facilities
  • Policing methods
  • Women and crime
  • Criminal justice administration
  • Social psychology
  • Statistics for criminal justice
  • Research methodologies

Degree Subject Areas Juvenile justice system, corrections facilities, policing methods, criminal justice administration, social psychology
Online Availability Online bachelor's degree programs are available.
Advanced Degree Options Master's in criminal justice, law degree, Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Career Options Crime analyst, police officer, security guard, bail enforcement agent, FBI agent
Median Salary (2018)$63,380 (Police and Detectives)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)7% growth (Police and Detectives)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Online Options Are Available?

Bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice and criminology can be taken entirely online through a number of colleges and universities. During an online program, you can expect to participate in video conferences, e-mail correspondences and online discussion forums. Much of the coursework, including assignments and projects, can be completed independently on your own schedule. Online programs typically require a broadband Internet connection, as well as an antivirus system, a microphone, speakers and a DVD-ROM drive. You might also need regular access to a printer.

How Can I Receive Further Education?

Earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or criminology could make you eligible for entry into law school or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. You can also earn a master's degree in criminal justice on campus or online. In fact, some criminal justice bachelor's degree programs allow you to simultaneously earn a master's degree in the same subject. These programs typically take five years to complete and end with a final thesis or paper.

What Kinds of Careers Can I Pursue?

With a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or criminology, you could work at a correctional facility, law office, police station, or private security firm. You might use your criminal justice background to work in the field of criminal law, or you might take on a middle- or upper-level management position at a government agency or corporation. Although a bachelor's degree can academically prepare you for many positions, most of the jobs below require additional training. The following are examples of careers that you could pursue:

  • Crime analyst
  • Police officer
  • Security guard
  • Bail enforcement agent
  • FBI agent
  • U.S. marshal
  • Immigration inspector