Bachelor's Degrees for Criminology Careers

For most careers in criminology, the bachelor's degree is becoming the industry standard, required of applicants for most jobs these days. Of course, for anyone hoping to earn a master's or doctoral degree in the field, a bachelor's degree is the first step toward that goal.

It wasn't that long ago that an associate's degree was the standard required degree. Why did that change? It's because local governments and other agencies that hire criminology professionals want the highest qualified workforce they can get, and so standards have gradually been raised over the years. There are still a few jobs available to holders of associate's degrees, but not many, and the number is getting smaller every year.

Depending on the job sought, the bachelor's degree can be in criminology, forensic science, law enforcement, criminal justice, or one of a number of other official majors. Requirements vary by job, and usually, courses studied over the span of a college degree are more important than the name of the major, but a person should always know the requirements of the career they hope to pursue before choosing a major. Courses in any of these majors include topics such as principles of law, penology, criminal psychology, domestic and family violence issues, and so on.

Getting a bachelor's degree in criminology is a big commitment, taking four or more years to complete in most cases. Although the only formal prerequisites at most schools are a high school diploma or a GED, some colleges and universities are more selective than others, and a diploma or GED is no guarantee of admission. It's best to apply to more than one school to give yourself more options.

Typical Required Coursework for a Criminology Degree (PDF)

Last Updated: 06/03/2014

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