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Criminology Degree Programs
(found programs from 160 schools)


Welcome to the mostss complete directory on the Web of Criminologist programs. It contains all the nationally accredited programs, from 160 schools across the country.

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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.

How to Become a Criminologist

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 $33,160, 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.



Criminology Course Requirements

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 Masters programs in criminology 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 completing your criminology major:

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.

studying to be a criminologist

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.



Useful Criminologist Careers and Resources Links

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.

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