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Criminology Degrees and Courses

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Criminologists study violent crime, violent offenders, and the victims affected by these crimes. Their work involves analyzing the behavior of criminals for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Improving the identification of violent offenders
  • Increase the apprehension of violent offenders
  • Predict patterns and motives of violent offenders
  • Assess the legal and moral strategies of the criminal justice system

Criminology, which is a subdivision of sociology and contains many components of psychology, anthropology, psychiatry, biology, statistics, and economics, is a broad discipline that works to explain the causes of criminal behavior to better develop preventative measures.

Criminology may include the study of:

  • Correctional administration and policy
  • Corrections
  • Criminal ethnography
  • Juvenile justice and delinquency
  • Models of criminal behavior
  • Policing and police administration and policy
  • Radical criminology
  • Theoretical criminology
  • Victimology

A degree in criminology or a related field should focus on the complex social phenomena of crime and its causes, effects, and prevention. It should also include study in:

  • Computer science
  • Criminal justice
  • Law and criminal procedure
  • Professional writing
  • Research design
  • Statistics

Criminology Degrees and Courses

A degree in criminology from an accredited school or college examines how crime is defined, why people commit crimes, and how society responds to crimes. A criminology program also investigates the culture of crime, how the criminal justice system works, and how criminal behavior relates to any number of factors, including mental health, drug use, ethnicity, and family relationships.

Typical degrees in criminology through accredited colleges and universities include:

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology

A Bachelor of Arts in Criminology focuses on the causes and consequences of crime and crime control policies through the examination of a number of perspectives, approaches, and social disciplines. Individuals with bachelor’s degrees in criminology often pursue work in criminal justice agencies at the federal, state, and local government levels, in social work, counseling, or other human service programs, or graduate work in criminology or criminal justice.

Core courses in a bachelor’s degree in criminology program typically include:

  • Advanced criminal justice
  • Advanced criminology
  • Corrections
  • Crime and justice policy
  • Criminal law
  • Criminal prosecution and court processes
  • Juvenile law
  • Police and society
  • Social statistics

Master of Science in Criminology

A Master of Science in Criminology provides a multidisciplinary course of study in theoretical and applied research and focuses on the study of crime, public policy analysis, and evaluation research. Graduates of master’s degrees in criminology often go on to pursue research, analytical, and managerial positions throughout a number of criminal justice sectors.

Typical coursework in a master’s of science in criminology includes:

  • Crime and justice policy
  • Etiology of crime and criminality
  • Quantitative methods
  • Research design
  • Seminar in criminology

Students who want to be considered for admission into a doctoral program in criminology are usually required to complete an analytical paper, while those on a terminal track may take additional credits for graduation.

Ph.D. in Criminology

A Ph.D. in Criminology is a research-oriented, interdisciplinary program that emphasizes research methodologies in criminology, the theories of criminal behavior, and society’s response to crime. Students of a Ph.D. program in criminology prepare for academic, analytical, or administrative appointments, such as university professors or research and development managers within a criminal justice organization or policy institution.

Typical courses in a Ph.D. in Criminology program include:

  • Descriptive and interferential statistics
  • Evidence-based crime prevention
  • Extent of crime and measurement
  • Professional development in crime
  • Regression and multivariate analysis
  • Research design

Students in a criminology Ph.D. program must also complete a course of independent study, a qualifying exam, s seminar in criminology research, and a dissertation.

Criminology Degrees: Related Majors and Careers

Individuals pursuing a career in criminology may also seek degree programs or study in:

  • Criminal justice
  • Emergency management
  • Homeland security
  • Police science
  • Law/pre-law studies
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Sociology

Common degrees in these areas may include:

  • Master of Arts in Social Science, Applied Criminology
  • Master of Science in Legal Studies, Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Leadership and Executive Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Law
  • Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Science in Forensic Psychology, Psychology and Legal Systems
  • Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling, Forensic Counseling
  • Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology/Forensics
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security

Criminologists often find work as:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Criminal investigators
  • Lawyers
  • Political scientists
  • Anthropologists
  • Mental health professionals
  • Social workers
  • Research psychologists

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