Criminology is the scientific study of the causes of crime and criminal activity. The discipline explores the sources of criminal behavior in the individual and in society. It is a multidisciplinary field that incorporates theories from sociology, psychology, anthropology, law, and others. At the bachelor’s degree level, students develop an understanding of criminology theory that is applicable in a professional setting. At this degree level, criminology programs discuss the criminal justice system as well as topics in criminology theory and practice.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
An online bachelors degree in criminology is for you if your career goals include high-level positions in law enforcement. A bachelor’s program provides an in depth look at the criminology discipline, the criminal justice system, criminal law, and research and analysis in order to develop a breadth of skills that are necessary in advanced law enforcement careers. With a bachelor’s degree allows great mobility than an associate degree, as many investigative and management position in law enforcement, as well as positions with certain agencies, require a bachelor’s degree.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Most online bachelor’s degree programs in criminology come with standard undergraduate degree requirements. You should be eligible for most degree programs if you have the following items:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Passing SAT or ACT score
Inside a Criminology Bachelor’s Degree Program
A bachelor’s degree in criminology should require 120 of course credits, which will take four years to complete if you enroll in the program on a full-time basis. Some accelerated programs may also be available, as well as self-pacing programs that may take longer to complete. Online courses will deliver lectures through streaming, video conferencing, or other means and assignments will be delivered through email or class message boards. Class discussions often take place via class chat rooms or online message boards. Offline requirements might include a criminology internship and final exams that may be proctored at a local testing center or campus.
A criminology curriculum at the bachelor’s level will include a combination of criminology, criminal justice, and general education coursework. You can expect to take classes in the humanities, social science, writing and composition, life sciences, and more for a well-rounded education. For the major class, you will explore topics in forensic science, psychology of crime, profiling, ethics, crime analysis, deviance, workplace and home violence, research methods, and more. You may also take a number of classes exploring the operations of the criminal justice and legal systems.
What’s Next for Criminology Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Bachelor’s degrees in criminology often lead to a career in law enforcement. Because the degree imparts sophisticated problem-solving skills and insight into the causes of criminal behavior, many graduate pursue career with federal agencies, like the FBI or DEA. At the local level, a criminology degree can lead to a position as a detective, once you gain the appropriate experience in the field. According to the BLS, salaries for detectives and criminal investigators can vary considerably. However, average mean salary for detectives was $80,975, based on figures reported in May 2011.
In addition to professional opportunities, you can also pursue an advanced degree in criminology. A master’s degree in criminology will focus on research methods, statistical analysis, and research. This graduate degree can lead to teaching career or as a professional career as a criminologist or crime intelligence analyst, depending on your other qualifications and experience in the field.