Criminology is the study of criminals, crime, and delinquency. As part of a broader criminal justice program, the discipline will also incorporate studies in policing, the courts, corrections, and juvenile justice. Online criminology degrees equip students with key skills in evaluating various responses to criminal and deviant behavior by law enforcement, examining trends in criminal behavior and the motivations behind such behavior, and how to gather and process data in criminology research.
Criminology is interdisciplinary in that it tends to incorporate the social and behavioral sciences as students explore the socioeconomic and biological factors that contribute to criminal activity. For example, criminology students will research the connection between growing up in impoverished, broken homes and the likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior. Core courses in criminology will explore crime control policies and practices, criminal law, and criminological theory and research, while interdisciplinary courses might include social psychology, human development, social change, and racial justice.
While law enforcement is a common career choice for many in the field, others may pursue careers as a caseworker or case manager, crime intelligence analyst, victim advocate, private detective, risk prevention specialist, or fraud investigator. Some criminology graduates become criminologists or criminal profilers who analyze the behavior of criminals in order to predict their next move and hopefully prevent them from committing future crimes. Those who pursue graduate degrees may enter university-level teaching and research careers.