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A sub-discipline of Sociology, Criminology focuses on the scientific study of the non-legal aspects of criminal behavior and, in general, crime. Criminological research integrates the psychological and sociological understandings of crime. This is why most (if not all) students earning a Criminology degree often minor in Psychology.
Additional article to check out: Best Schools with Online Bachelor’s in Corrections
Regardless of focus, Social Science is also systematically used in developing an understanding of crime and deviance. Through this, the military, political leaders, and law enforcement agencies come up with scientifically informed directives and policies to minimize and prevent crime.
Criminologists consider various perspectives on the causes and effects of crimes. This multidisciplinary approach of criminologists explores the lack of definite reasons people commit them while psychological, biological, social, or economic motivations come into play.
As a career, criminology requires a thorough navigation of the underlying concepts of Sociology, Social Sciences, and Psychology. An online Bachelor’s in Criminology sets the foundation for competence in this field.
Are you looking for an excellent online Bachelor’s in Criminology program? We compiled your 10 best options and picked each online degree or school with these criteria in mind:
- Combines lecture-based teaching, hands-on practice, and online discussion boards, providing students with a convenient way to complete the program,
- Features a curriculum that presents an array of specializations and core courses in specific areas of Criminology and general education courses, readying students for graduate study or entry-level jobs,
- Offers a certain form of student support throughout the program, such as on-campus mentoring and tutoring, 24/7 tech support, and student counseling services,
- Taught by professionals who hold terminal degrees in Criminology, and other related fields,
- Offers financial aid to qualified online students,
- Holds regional and programmatic accreditation demonstrating their commitment to delivering the program according to the highest academic standards.
Check out our Methodology for an in-depth look at how our ranking process works.
The 10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminology Degrees
Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona State University offers more than 800 degree programs in a wide range of studies, including the online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program. It explores the impact of crimes and the strategies to effectively curb crime incidents.
- This is a 120-credit program offered 100% online and considered one of the nation’s top online Criminology and Criminal Justice programs.
- This bachelor’s degree is handled by the same college professors who teach on the ASU campuses.
- Core courses in this online criminology program include:
- Introduction to Criminal Justice
- Research Methods
- Statistical Analysis
- Crime Control Policies and Practices
- Introduction to Corrections
- Courts and Sentencing
- Introduction to Policing
- This criminology major can be completed as part of an Accelerated Master’s Degree program. When qualified, students can earn their master’s degree in just one year after they complete their undergraduate degree.
- In the accelerated master’s degree program, applicable master’s degrees include a Master of Science in Crime Analysis and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.
- A maximum of 64 credit hours may be accepted as lower-division credit when transferred from a regionally accredited two-year, community, or junior college.
Arizona University is a Higher Learning Commission-accredited college.
SNHU popularly offers one of the country’s lowest online tuition rates. One of its more than 150 affordable and accredited online bachelor’s programs is the online BS in Criminal Justice – Criminology and Crime Analysis.
- This concentration gives students the opportunity to use criminological theory in developing crime reduction and prevention strategies.
- Through this online criminology degree, students will study the crucial roles that crime analysts and criminologists play in the development of data-based policing strategies and crime prevention policies.
- All the classes in this online bachelor’s degree are 100% online with no set class meeting times.
The core courses include:
- Policing in the United States
- The United States Judicial System
- The United States Correctional System
- Technology in Criminal Justice
- Criminology and Public Policy
- Prevention of Crime
- Data-Based Policing Strategies
- Crime Analysis and Solutions
- Problem-Solving for Criminal Justice Professionals
SNHU holds the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc. accreditation. It has been hailed as one of the most innovative schools in the nation.
Regis University is a private nonprofit Jesuit University in Denver, Colorado that offers 120 degrees through its five colleges in a variety of subjects delivered online and on campus, including its online bachelor’s in criminology program. Classes in this criminology program include a series of foundational courses and upper-division major requirements.
- This course will teach criminal justice and emphasizes real-world case studies and tangible skills.
- Just like a criminal justice program, this degree provides students the experience and knowledge they need to understand criminal motives and gives light on the dark side of society.
- This criminology program is packed with hands-on experience, including an internship, experiential capstone, or research capstone to conclude the program.
- This bachelor’s degree in criminology is offered 100% online, on-campus evening, and hybrid classes in 5- or 8-week terms.
- What’s unique about this degree in criminology is that it follows a scholar-practitioner model that sets it apart from other criminal justice and criminology programs. The faculty members are all industry experts, having worked as police officers, law enforcement officers, criminal investigators, parole officers, substance abuse experts, and security consultants.
- Instead of textbook learning, online students get to gain the type of skills and wisdom that come from decades of professional experience.
Regis University is HLC-approved.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a private Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Indiana, offers more than 40 academic programs both online and on-campus. SMWC’s Bachelor’s in Criminology is offered entirely online.
- This online criminology degree has two available concentrations: Psychology and Sociology, allowing students to tailor their program toward their specific area of interest.
- There is an emphasis in this program on research methods, critical writing, and reading.
Some of the required Criminology courses include:
- Juvenile Justice
- Criminal Law & Procedure
- Criminal Interviewing and Investigations
- Ethical Administration of Justice
- American Criminal Justice System
- State and Local Government
Students in this criminology degree are encouraged to add another major in any social science area so they will gain a more extensive understanding of the content.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has obtained accreditation from HLC.
Florida State University is a reputable research and learning institution and degree-granting university delivering more than 200 programs on-campus and online. One of its top programs is an online Bachelor’s in Criminology.
- This online Bachelor’s in Criminology degree prepares students to think critically and strategize in problem scenarios across different settings.
- Through this bachelor’s degree, students can build a solid foundation of knowledge so they can pursue graduate school or law school.
- On-campus classes or visits are not required, and students will receive the same diploma awarded to criminology graduates who complete the program on campus.
While the course offerings are varied, and core courses are generally similar in most criminology degrees, there are a few at FSU that is extra fascinating:
- The Social Reality of Black Males
- Crimes Against Humanity
- Religion and Crime
- Crime Victimization and the Media
- Crime Hotspots
- Minorities, Crime, and Social Policy
- Women, Crime, and Justice
- Violence in America
- Communities and Crime
Florida State University has obtained the approval of the Commission on Colleges – Southern Association of Colleges & Schools.
Arkansas State University offers more than 160 degree programs, including its online Bachelor in Criminology degree. This is a 120-credit program that may be completed entirely online and taught by the same college professors handling the school’s Jonesboro campus.
While a criminal justice degree major focuses on the after-effect of crime like law enforcement, correctional institutions, and the court system, a bachelor’s degree in criminology goes beyond those and study the science of crime.
By studying the connection between social justice and crime, students will gain critical insights into inequalities– from socioeconomics and race to sexuality and gender to criminal behavior– contribute to crime and its effect on communities
- This Bachelor’s in Criminology degree only costs $269 per credit hour. Plus, students are given the chance to reduce their tuition costs further.
- Through this program, students gain industry-relevant skills and knowledge employers seek, including negotiation, criminal law, relationship-building, social research methods, and recruiting.
Arkansas State University is HLC-accredited.
Based out of in Springfield, Missouri State University offers more than 400 programs of study across 17 degree-granting colleges, including a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice and Criminology on campus or online.
These online BS/BA criminology and criminal justice classes are highly customizable so that students can tailor their degrees to fit their specific career goals. Students in this online program can earn a specialized certificate in Terrorism and National Security, Conservation Law Enforcement, or Criminal Investigation.
Students can choose from courses that encompass areas, including:
- Serial Killers
- Crime Prevention
- Global Criminology
- Forensic Science
Missouri State University also offers its Accelerated Master’s Degree Option. Qualified undergraduate degree majors in criminology can apply for preliminary acceptance into MSU’s Master of Science program in Criminology after completing their admission requirements.
With this option, students are allowed 12 hours of graduate credits that will count towards both the prerequisites for the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in criminology. However, of the 12 credit hours, only 6 of these will count as electives in the criminology undergraduate program. The remaining 6 will count as free electives toward the 120-credit-hour undergrad requirement.
Online students at MSU can take advantage of the school’s wide range of support services like virtual research assistance, writing assistance, and one-on-one tutoring. HLC granted Missouri State University accreditation.
The University of Florida has at least 300 graduate and undergraduate degree options, both on-campus and online, including the BA Criminology Degree. Through this program, students can open their doors to different rewarding careers in criminal justice.
- All classes are delivered online with core courses including criminal justice systems, criminological theory, law and society, criminal justice sciences, juvenile justice, and law and legal process.
- This Criminology degree also requires students to include any of six criminal and law elective courses including:
- Introduction to Law Enforcement
- Race and Racism
- Skeleton Keys: Forensic Science and Identification
- The Legal Environment of Business
- Medicine and the Law
- Law of Mass Communication
- Introduction to Public Administration
- Legal Issues in Sport
- Media and Crime
- Juvenile Justice
The SACSCOC recognizes the top-quality higher education programs of the University of Florida.
Indiana State University has 100 undergraduate and over 75 graduate and professional programs. Its online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program is designed to teach online students both theoretical and applied aspects of Criminology.
Courses in this online program cover:
- Criminal Behavior
- The Criminal Justice System
- Criminal Justice Administration
- Criminal Law
This is a practical program as well wherein all students are required to join internships with different criminal justice agencies. Since this is a multidisciplinary program, students will receive liberal arts education to give them the communication skills required in the field.
All classes are handled by faculty members who have their own relevant experiences working in criminal justice.
The required courses include:
- Introduction to Corrections
- Introduction to Law Enforcement
- Introduction to the Court Systems
- Criminal Justice Report Writing
- Introduction to Research Methods in Criminal Justice
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Dynamics of Criminal and Delinquent Behavior
- Ethics in Criminal Justice
- Internship in Criminology
This program is open to incoming freshmen with no previous college experience, as well as transferees. Those who have previously earned college credits can use these toward the completion of the program.
Indiana State University has earned the HLC approval.
Portland State University’s 200 programs for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels are offered through its 10 schools and colleges. Those who seek a degree in criminology can earn the school’s Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice offered entirely online.
This is a comprehensive study of crime, crime prevention, justice, and the factors contributing to criminal behavior. The online program has the same faculty and the same focus as its on-campus contemporary on building the skills and knowledge of every student to become successful in leadership positions in various criminal justice and crime prevention-related careers.
Depending on the path students choose, the major courses may be different. Still, students need 180 credits for each path. The elective courses for both programs include:
- Crime, Grime, and Fear
- Women, Crime, and Justice
- Race and Criminal Justice
- Juvenile Justice Reform
- Crimes of the Powerful
- Offender Rehabilitation
- Courts, Prosecution, and Justice
- Correlates of Criminal Behavior
- Geographic Criminology
- Applied Crime Mapping
- Criminal History
- Human Trafficking
All online Criminology students will receive the same academic quality from the same award-winning PSU faculty that teaches on campus.
Portland State University Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities-accredited.
Jobs for Criminology Graduates
For those who have online bachelor’s degrees in criminology, prepare yourself for exciting career options. Criminology professionals, whether they earned their degree on campus or thru online learning, can work in various environments, including prisons, police stations, courtrooms, universities, and government agencies.
The best jobs for graduates with a degree in Criminology include the following:
Aside from earning a criminology degree, forensic scientists also have a background in forensic psychology. These professionals play very crucial roles in the criminal justice field. They study physical evidence and crime scenes so they can assist crime detectives in catching criminals.
Correctional Treatment Specialists
Also known as correctional counselors or case managers, correctional treatment specialists advise parolees and probationers and create rehabilitation plans for them to strictly adhere to. For example, they may design and implement education programs and training to improve work skills.
A correctional treatment specialist also assists parolees with finding housing, jobs, and counseling services.
Loss Prevention Officers
These officers focus on apprehending thieves and preventing theft. They are usually hired by retail companies to keep an eye on their premises to deter and detain shoplifters. Although one can become a loss prevention officer with just a relevant associate degree, those who hold a criminology degree are eligible to pursue higher positions with high-paying and high-end businesses.
Also called parole officers, probation officers are officials appointed to investigate, report, and supervise the conduct of convicted officers on probation or those who are released from prison. They help offenders realize their probation by monitoring techniques and arranging more services as deemed necessary.
In its simplest definition, a probation officer acts as the intermediary between offenders and judges, tracks the progress of a probationer, and makes recommendations.
Community Corrections Officers
Community corrections officers supervise criminals and white-collar crime offenders referred by the courts to undertake community supervision. This usually includes offenders on home detention or bail. These professionals are very visible in the criminal justice field and play a huge part in the successful reintegration of released inmates into the general public.
Concentrations Offered For a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology
This concentration is designed to train students to work with troubled youth and juvenile offenders. The coursework will introduce students to the juvenile justice system in the US. Careers in this concentration include juvenile correctional counselors, juvenile parole and probation officers, adolescent substance abuse counselors, and social service caseworkers.
This concentration studies ethnic, racial, gender inequality, and class in crime rates. Core courses include arrest and sentencing disparities, the school-to-prison pipeline, and juvenile waivers to adult courts. This specialization also provides a solid foundation for advanced degrees and careers in law, social work, and social science.
Some of the potential careers in this criminology program concentration include legal advocates, attorneys, juvenile caseworkers, and counselors.
This concentration prepares technologically efficient graduates for better career opportunities in intelligence, security, and computer forensics. Students will learn a lot about computer-based and analytical skills to quickly respond to data breaches and stay away from hacking, fraud, and other threats to national security.
Careers in this criminology degree concentration include intelligence security analysts, forensic technicians, cyber and fraud investigators, and forensic technicians.
Law and Society
This concentration is chosen by students who are interested in law school. It focuses on the judicial process, judicial law, criminal law, constitutional law, the criminal court system, and family law.
Students in this concentration can have great careers as paralegals, attorneys, legal assistants, legal advocates, and postsecondary educators.
This is an alternative approach to crimes that strongly focuses on victim needs. Students in this concentration learn about models that bring together victims, offenders, and affected family members to seek restitution and solutions.
In this concentration, one can have a career as a restorative justice coordinator and coach, a conflict mediator, or a victim advocate.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What college completion timeline are Criminology majors looking at?
The undergraduate Criminology degree has about 120 credit hours. Students need to decide if they will attend classes part-time or full-time. Those who maintain continuous enrollment until graduation can complete the program within four years. For the online modality, the program can be completed in two years.
There are also accelerated programs where students can earn their degree in just 18 months. This can be done either by earning AP credit or transferring credits from other colleges.
What professional organizations promote the advancement of Criminology?
Some of the professional organizations in criminology include:
- American Society of Criminology (ASC)
- American Correctional Association (ACA)
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS)
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)
- National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)
Key Points to Ponder
- A Criminology degree equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to apply a theoretical perspective to practical applications.
- While an associate degree in Criminology does lead to criminal justice work, a bachelor’s degree is required for some of the most lucrative careers in criminal justice policy, criminal investigation, and law enforcement positions, as well as government, public affairs, or social and community services.
- An online bachelor’s degree in Criminology is suitable for working professionals or for those who are switching careers but can’t find the luxury of time to enroll in traditional brick-and-mortar schools.
Check this out before you go: Best Schools with Online Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement