X

Online Degrees


Full Program Lists


Criminal Justice Careers

Follow Us

Criminologist Degrees and Careers
(found programs from 107 schools)

show all schools

A criminologist degree will train degree holders to understand what makes criminals tick as well as how to circumvent their negative impacts on society. Criminologists utilize many of the same skillsets as detectives, though their job is less hands-on and draws more on the fields of sociology and psychology than on forensic methods. Their job isn't so much to catch criminals as it is to predict criminals' moves and work with local law enforcement to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

With the recent popularity of such shows as "CSI," the field of criminology has become far more fascinating than ever to the general public. As sociologists, criminologists study factors such as when and where crimes are most often committed, the reasons for criminal behavior, and the types of crimes most often committed. They may also research crime's effect on society at large, and the government's response to crime.

Criminologist Job Description

Criminologists usually work closely with both local and federal law enforcement offices, and sometimes may even be employed by such agencies. The idea is to help law enforcement professionals catch criminals more quickly, predict patterns of criminal behavior, and improve agency response to crime. A criminologist may be called on by a small-town police department to help them solve a series of crimes, or may earn a paycheck from the FBI. They may profile a suspect for a specific crime, or help analyze a string of related crimes by several individuals. Some criminologists even end up working as police officers, FBI agents, and state medical examiners, and may leave the field to work as therapists, psychologists, or counselors - in fact, more criminologists leave their area of work to enter law enforcement than those in many other occupations.


Criminologist Requirements

Some criminologists may specialize in a specific field, such as juvenile crime; particular types of crimes, like murder or kidnapping; crime prevention; criminal investigation; litigation; corrections; profiling; or private or government research.

The majority of criminologists, however, work in academic settings like universities, where they conduct research and teach. Most criminologists have an undergraduate degree in psychology, sociology, or criminal justice; many also hold master's degrees in criminal justice or criminology. The amount of education and training you have can mean a great difference in the amount you earn at the beginning and throughout your career. Criminologists with bachelor's degrees have an average entry level salary of $30,000, while those with master's degrees can earn $55,000 or more, as well as landing a higher-level position from the get go.

Work experience can also be a factor in your employability; aspiring criminologists who have previously worked as law enforcement or correctional officers may have a leg up on their competition, and may be able to more easily enter the field with a bachelor's degree. However, those who want to teach at a university level must have their Ph.D. in psychology or sociology. Criminology can be a very competitive field, so it's also a good idea to take courses in statistics, computer science, and writing, thanks to the large amount of work criminologists do in analyzing crime rates and statistics and writing reports. It may also help to have a part-time job or internship in the field.

Also make sure to thoroughly research all requirements in the area you wish to work - some states require a license to practice as a criminologist, while others do not.


Curriculum for a Criminologist Degree

For people with an interest in putting analytic skills and an interest in criminal pathology to use helping keep people safe, a career as a criminologist could be highly rewarding. However, in order to get there, you first must graduate with a Bachelor's or Master's Degree in Criminology.

This degree program will consist of several different types of courses designed to give you the broad-based understanding you need for this career. Here are some topics you may study while earning your degree:

Criminal Law

One of the first courses you will take in your degree program will be focused on criminal law. In order to do your job, you need to know where you fit into the system of law and order. As a criminologist, you will need to be acutely familiar with the laws criminals are breaking and the importance of bringing them to justice. While this course will likely be an introductory-level course and won't go into too much detail, it is still a vital part of your learning experience.

Psychology of Crime

Another course you will likely take near the beginning or middle of your criminologist degree program will focus on the psychology of crime. This will give you a basic understanding of why criminals behave the way they do based on extensive analytic studies over the years. The truth is that many criminals behave the same way and are motivated by the same social or psychological issues. Gaining an understanding of criminal psychology will serve you well as you try to predict criminals' next moves.

Statistical and Computer Applications in Criminal Justice

Likely found in the middle of your criminologist education, statistical and computer applications are used to supplement psychological studies when it comes to finding and predicting the behavior of criminals. Developing a fluency with crime statistics as well as an easy understanding of the computer programs that you will use on the job as a criminologist is necessary if you want to get the most out of your degree program. This course is practical and results-based, and it does a good job of rounding out your psychological education.

Focus on Specific Criminal Justice Field

You will have to choose a focus during your education as a criminologist. This requires you to answer the question of what you want your ideal job to be. Common fields of focus include capital crimes, drug crimes, sex crimes, white collar offenses, domestic violence, gang violence and more. These courses will go in-depth into the psychology and law surrounding your field of choice, and you will get a chance to understand some of the details, practices and legal concerns as they are actually practiced. Focused courses will likely come in the middle or near the end of your degree program, as they will give you a chance to soak in the broad-based learning you gathered closer to the program's beginning.

Research Methods in Criminal Justice

Your research class will likely be one of the last classes you take in your criminologist degree program. Research methods may sound like a dry description, but the truth is that it is closest to what you will be doing on a daily basis. The job of a criminologist is most akin to the job of a researcher, only the research you do is on current criminals and the time frame for your research is far more fast-paced. A class in research methods will teach you the fundamentals of researching a case, writing a report and sharing information with colleagues. It will likely culminate in a final or capstone paper for the course.

In addition to taking these courses, most criminology majors also have to take an unpaid internship for class credit with a local police agency or other criminal justice organization. This internship usually comes near the end of your degree program and may prove to be even more educational than some of your courses. However, you will need the benefits of your education to understand the demands of the job.

Depending on the nature of your degree, you may need to take a final "capstone" course utilizing all of the study you've done up to that point and preparing you for the real world as a criminologist. For advanced degrees, this is less of a course requirement and more like a thesis study that will require a dissertation before your college professors.

Criminologist Trends

In the end, criminology can be a rewarding and interesting line of work, especially for those with a natural inclination to analyze trends and criminal behavior and to look at things from a psychological perspective. As a criminologist, you can help end crime sprees and catch criminals at large. Watching shows such as "CSI" may not fully prepare you for this line of work, but with the proper education, training, and inclination, a career as a criminologist can be the perfect fit for many individuals.


Useful Criminologist Resource Links

Criminologist Degree Programs

Welcome to the most complete directory on the Web of Criminologist programs. It contains all the nationally accredited programs, from 107 schools across the country.

Featured Schools Accepting Students from Across the US:




Top >

Alabama

Faulkner University (Montgomery, AL)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Science - Criminalistics
Top >

Arizona

Arizona State University (Phoenix, AZ)
Programs Offered:
BS - Criminology and Criminal Justice (online)
Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science - Interdisciplinary Studies: Criminology and Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice, Master of Science - Applied Criminology
Top >

Arkansas

Arkansas State University (State University, AR)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Arkansas State University-Beebe (Beebe, AR)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Top >

California

California State University-Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
Programs Offered:
Master of Science - Criminalistics
Fresno City College (Fresno, CA)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Science - Criminology, Certificate - Criminology, Certificate of Achievement - Criminology
San Diego State University (San Diego, CA)
Programs Offered:
Master of Criminal Justice and Criminology - Criminal Justice and Criminology
Sonoma State University (Rohnert Park, CA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology
University of La Verne (La Verne, CA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology
Top >

Colorado

Metropolitan State University of Denver (Denver, CO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology
Regis University (Denver, CO)
Programs Offered:
BS - Criminology (online), MS - Criminology (online)
University of Denver (Denver, CO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Top >

Connecticut

Central Connecticut State University (New Britain, CT)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Top >

Delaware

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)
Programs Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology, Master of Arts in Criminology
Top >

Florida

Florida Memorial University (Miami Gardens, FL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Computer Criminology, Combined BS/MS Program - Criminology, Doctor of Philosophy - Criminal Justice and Criminology, Joint Master's Degree - Criminology and Public Administration, Joint Master's Degree - Criminology and Social Work, Master of Arts - Criminology (online)
Gulf Coast Community College (Panama City, FL)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Arts - Criminology / Criminal Justice (Transfer Track)
St. Johns River State College (Palatka, FL)
Programs Offered:
Master of Science - Criminology & Criminal Justice
St. Petersburg College (Clearwater, FL)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Arts - Criminology
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology & Law, M.A./J.D. - Criminology, Law, and Society, Master of Arts - Criminology, Law, and Society, PhD - Criminology, Law, and Society
University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Doctor of Philosophy - Criminology, Master of Arts - Criminology
Top >

Georgia

Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA)
Programs Offered:
PhD - Criminal Justice and Criminology
Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA)
Programs Offered:
Minor - Criminology
Top >

Hawaii

Chaminade University of Honolulu (Honolulu, HI)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Top >

Illinois

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (Carbondale, IL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Law, and Justice, Doctor of Philosophy - Criminology, Law, and Justice, Master of Arts - Criminology, Law, and Justice
Top >

Indiana

Ball State University (Muncie, IN)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Arts - Criminology, Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Butler University (Indianapolis, IN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology and Psychology, Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Grace College and Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, IN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Bachelor of Science - Criminology
Top >

Iowa

Buena Vista University (Storm Lake, IA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology & Criminal Justice
Graceland University (Lamoni, IA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Sociology - coursework in criminology, justice, etc.
Grand View University (Des Moines, IA)
Programs Offered:
Certificate - Paralegal Studies: Criminology
Iowa State University (Ames, IA)
Programs Offered:
Major in Criminology & Criminal Justice
Saint Ambrose University (Davenport, IA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminalistics
Upper Iowa University (Fayette, IA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology
Top >

Kentucky

Morehead State University (Morehead, KY)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Master of Arts - Criminology
Northern Kentucky University (Highland Heights, KY)
Programs Offered:
Minor - Criminalistics
Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Master of Arts - Criminology (online)
Top >

Maryland

University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Princess Anne, MD)
Programs Offered:
Master of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Top >

Massachusetts

Assumption College (Worcester, MA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor Degree - Sociology and Anthropology - Concentration in Criminology
Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
Programs Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy - Criminology and Justice Policy
University of Massachusetts-Boston (Boston, MA)
Programs Offered:
Forensic Criminology (online)
University of Massachusetts-Lowell (Lowell, MA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice and Criminology, Doctoral Program in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Graduate Certificate - Forensic Criminology (online), Master of Arts - Criminal Justice and Criminology (online)
Top >

Michigan

Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, MI)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Lake Superior State University (Sault Ste Marie, MI)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice - Criminalistics (online)
Top >

Minnesota

Central Lakes College-Brainerd (Brainerd, MN)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Science - Criminalistics
University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
Programs Offered:
B.A. - Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance
Top >

Mississippi

Jackson State University (Jackson, MS)
Programs Offered:
Master of Arts - Criminology and Justice Services
Mississippi State University (Meridian, MS)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
Top >

Missouri

Avila University (Kansas City, MO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology and Justice Studies
Columbia College (Columbia, MO)
Programs Offered:
Minor - Criminology
Drury University (Springfield, MO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Maryville University of Saint Louis (Saint Louis, MO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminal Justice / Criminology
Missouri State University (Springfield, MO)
Programs Offered:
BA in Criminology, BS in Criminology, MSAS Criminal Justice, Master of Science in Criminology (Accelerated, Traditional, or Online) (online)
Saint Louis University (Saint Louis, MO)
Programs Offered:
Master of Arts - Public Sociology and Criminology
University of Missouri-Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminal Justice and Criminology
University of Missouri-St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor Degree - Criminology and Criminal Justice, Master of Arts - Criminology and Criminal Justice, PhD - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Top >

Montana

The University of Montana (Montana, MT)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Sociology - Criminology Option, Master of Arts - Sociology - Criminology Option
Top >

Nebraska

University of Nebraska-Omaha (Omaha, NE)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice, Doctor of Philosophy - Criminology and Criminal Justice, Master of Arts - Criminology and Criminal Justice, Master of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice - Counseling, Master of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice - Public Administration, Master of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Top >

New Jersey

Centenary College (Hackettstown, NJ)
Programs Offered:
Certificate - Criminalistics
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Teaneck, NJ)
Programs Offered:
Minor - Criminology
The College of New Jersey (Ewing, NJ)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology
Top >

New Mexico

University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
University of New Mexico - Valencia Campus (Los Lunas, NM)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Arts - Criminology
Top >

New York

Cazenovia College (Cazenovia, NY)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology & Homeland Security
CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice (New York, NY)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Keuka College (Keuka Park, NY)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Niagara University (Lewiston, NY)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology and Criminal Justice
St. Joseph's College New York (Brooklyn, NY)
Programs Offered:
Bachelors in Criminal Justice - Law and Justice
Top >

North Carolina

Barton College (Wilson, NC)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology
Johnson C Smith University (Charlotte, NC)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Mount Olive College (Mount Olive, NC)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice and Criminology
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Wilmington, NC)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology - Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Master of Arts - Criminology and Public Sociology
Top >

Ohio

Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor Degree - Criminology
College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati, OH)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology / Sociology
Top >

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City University (Oklahoma City, OK)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Justice Studies: Criminology, Master of Science - Criminology
Top >

Oregon

Portland State University (Portland, OR)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology (online), MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Rogue Community College (Grants Pass, OR)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Science - Criminology
Southern Oregon University (Ashland, OR)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology & Criminal Justice (CCJ), Bachelor of Science - Criminology & Criminal Justice (CCJ)
Top >

Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania (California, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology, Master of Arts in Applied Criminology (online)
Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Science - Criminology
Immaculata University (Immaculata, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology/Sociology
La Roche College (Pittsburgh, PA)
Programs Offered:
Certificate - Criminalistics
Mount Aloysius College (Cresson, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Saint Joseph's University (Philadelphia, PA)
Programs Offered:
MS - Behavior Analysis (online)
Slippery Rock University (Slippery Rock, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Wilkes University (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Top >

Puerto Rico

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico (Mayaguez, PR)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Master in Social Sciences - Criminology
Top >

South Carolina

Coker College (Hartsville, SC)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Top >

Tennessee

East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology, Master of Science - Criminology
University of Memphis (Memphis, TN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology and Criminal Justice, Master of Arts - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Top >

Texas

Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX)
Programs Offered:
Master of Arts - Criminology
St Edward's University (Austin, TX)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Texas A&M University Commerce (Commerce, TX)
Programs Offered:
Masters in Applied Criminology (online)
The University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, TX)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology and Criminal Justice
The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (Brownsville, TX)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa, TX)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
University of Houston-Clear Lake (Houston, TX)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology, Master of Arts - Criminology
Top >

Virginia

Hampton University (Hampton, VA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice/Criminology
John Tyler Community College (Chester, VA)
Programs Offered:
Associate of Applied Science - Criminology
Longwood University (Farmville, VA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts - Criminology
Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA)
Programs Offered:
PhD - Criminology and Criminal Justice
Top >

West Virginia

West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology and Investigations
Top >

Wisconsin

Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Criminology and Law Studies
University of Wisconsin-Platteville (Platteville, WI)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science - Chemistry - Criminalistics