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What Are the Best Undergraduate Criminology Degree Programs?

Read about three schools with bachelor's-level programs in criminology, based on national rankings of their graduate criminology departments. Explore the criminology program offerings at each of these schools.

What Are Some Characteristics of the Best Undergraduate Criminology Programs?

Criminology is the study of the causes and prevention of crime and how the criminal justice institutions function. You may want to seek out schools that offer resources like criminal justice institutes and placement opportunities for field work. You might find good undergraduate options in schools that are highly-ranked for their graduate criminology programs. You could find a dual bachelor's and master's program attractive for launching your career.

Three Good Undergraduate Criminology Schools

University of California-Irvine

UC-Irvine was tied at #33 among U.S. News & World Report national universities rankings for 2019, and its graduate criminology program tied for third in 2018. The School of Social Ecology (SSE) hosts the interdisciplinary Department of Criminology, Law and Society, one of only two such programs in the UC-Irvine system. Majors explore criminal and juvenile justice, causes of crime, policy and socio-legal theory. Field study options are available with Field Study Partners that participate with UC-Irvine in this program. The Criminology Outreach Program allows undergraduates to mentor middle and high school students in nearby school districts. This degree is available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law and Society

University of Florida in Gainesville

UF was ranked 19th in graduate criminology in 2018 and is also tied at #35 among U.S. News & World Report's 2019 ranking of national universities. The Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law supports undergraduate, graduate, and joint degree programs. The school's faculty is involved in interdisciplinary research projects that involve the majority of all the university's colleges and academic programs. Students may be admitted to the Criminology & Law Honor Society. These degrees are offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Law
  • Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Criminology and Law

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

The University of Pennsylvania was ranked 8th among national universities in 2019 and was tied for 11th in criminology in 2018, according to U.S. News & World Report. It's the only Ivy League school with a criminology major. Undergraduates could join the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program or access resources of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships if you wish to conduct research and apply for fellowships. The following program is offered:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Criminology

More Schools with Criminology Degree Programs

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition*
Missouri State University - Springfield4-year, Public Springfield, MO$7,000
Stockton University 4-year, Public Galloway, NJ$14,000
Regis University 4-year, Private Denver, CO$37,000
Northern Arizona University 4-year, Public Flagstaff, AZ$11,500
Auburn University 4-year, Public Auburn, AL$11,000
Bethany College 4-year, Private Lindsborg, KS$28,000
Texas A&M University - Commerce 4-year, Public Commerce, TX$9,000
Ohio State University - Main Campus 4-year, Public Columbus, OH$11,000
Concordia University - Chicago 4-year, Private River Forest, IL$32,000
Johnson C. Smith University 4-year, Private Charlotte, NC$18,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education