What Is Criminology?

Criminology is the study of the effect of crime on individuals and society. This article provides an in-depth description of the criminology field, as well as education and career options. Schools offering Criminology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Definition of Criminology

Criminology involves analyzing illegal human behaviors and crime prevention methods. The field of criminology blends social science and psychology with criminal justice. As a criminologist, you'll explore the many causes of criminal activity among different groups of people.

Additionally, you'll investigate how factors such as race, ethnicity, education and socioeconomic status can influence crime incidences. Often, you'll look at the history and success rates of different law enforcement methods. Examination of how individuals react to specific types of crimes, along with the overall effect of crime on American culture as a whole, is also included in criminology. Crime affects more than just the perpetrator; it can also have severe consequences for the victims, families and other citizens.

Important Facts About Criminology

Online AvailabilityFull coursework online
PrerequisitesBachelor's required for master's and doctoral degrees
Possible CareersParole officer, criminal investigator, lawyer, forensic psychologist
ConcentrationsCorrections, law enforcement, human relations, law and society

Education Opportunities

Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs are offered in the field of criminology. Undergraduate criminology programs are more common, but many careers in this field require an advanced degree. During your classes, you'll study topics like criminal public policy, white-collar crime, corrections and juvenile crime. Graduate programs emphasize statistical research and include a final project, thesis or dissertation.

Career Options

Entry-level criminology careers that require a bachelor's degree involve work with corrections, police services and law enforcement. You generally need a graduate degree to pursue a career as a criminologist specifically. Criminologists may research crime behavior in various settings, like crime scenes, courtrooms and prisons, through a mix of ethnographic and statistical methods. They may focus on specific issues surrounding corporate environmental crimes, terrorism or gangs.

According to PayScale.com, the majority of criminologists earned a salary ranging from $28,893-$65,250 annually as of September 2015, and the median annual salary was $44,855. A doctoral degree in criminology prepares you for advanced research and postsecondary teaching in the criminology and criminal justice field. The BLS stated that postsecondary criminal justice and law enforcement teachers earned a median salary of $57,200 per year as of May 2014, and sociology professors earned $67,880.

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.

Popular Schools

  • Johns Hopkins University

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    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master

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  • Saint Joseph's University

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    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    • Master
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  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

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  • Colorado State University Global

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
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  • Capella University

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    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

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  • Utica College

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    Popular programs at Utica College:

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  • Argosy University

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  • Centenary University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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