Mark Frost wrote in his 1993 famous novel ‘The List of Seven’ that “crime has always been a regrettably consistent element of the human experience.” Although many dread the occurrence of crimes in their society, it’s a fact that’s always present in every society. Hence criminology emerged as a subject in the 20th century as a special branch of behavioral science that deals with the explanation and solution of crimes. The increase in the popularity of crime based TV series and movies has certainly attracted more interested people towards a criminology career. The first step of becoming a professional criminologist is by getting a criminology degree.
Criminology in the simplest terms can be defined as the study of crimes. The subject studies about the social and human aspects that are involved with crime. It includes the study about the origin of crimes, its nature, its consequences and the solutions to it. The subject borrows concepts from a variety of subjects like sociology, psychology, law, etc.
The Criminology Degree
The undergraduate course in criminology typically requires 3 to 4 years of study. In the BA or BS course, students can make a specialized choice among several aspects of the subject like corrections, victimology, forensic behavior, etc. The course encompasses programs like logic, statistics, psychology, law, etc. in addition to specialized courses focusing on the history, consequences and mitigation of crime.
When pursuing a degree in criminology, the prospective students need to produce the required academic documents like diploma certificates and transcripts. Since the subject deals with sensitive matters which are prone to be abused, most colleges have sought character references and a letter of intent. English proficiency is also a must when studying criminology.
Students need to have a strong character. As a challenging discipline, the students have to be ready for a lot of psychologically strenuous activities in which they need to be patient and disciplined.
A good education in criminology opens the door to a lot of interesting and challenging occupations for the student. Students can choose among options like
- Corrections: where students can work in corrections institutions, community services, probation, etc. which primarily deals with positively changing the mindset of criminals.
- Law enforcement: where students can work with law enforcement agencies of the state or consultancies in the private sector.
- Victimology: where students can opt for careers in non-governmental and governmental agencies working in programs related to legal and psychological support of victims.
- Forensic behavior: where students work to know about the causes and evidences of the crimes in government or private agencies.
- Consultants: where students may work to give legal and advisory information to parties needing them.
Top colleges for studying the course
According to rankandreviews.com these are among the top universities teaching criminology.
- University of Maryland – College Park
- University of Albany – Suny
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Missouri – St. Louis
- Pennsylvania State University – State Park
- University of California – Irvine
- Florida State University
- Michigan State University
- Rutgers – the State University of New Jersey – Newark
- CUNY – John Jay College
Choosing your school
Criminology can be considered a relatively less popular subject. Although avenues of jobs are slowly opening up, the demanding nature of jobs and relatively limited scope compared to popular subjects make a degree in criminology a less sought after course. Hence huge investment in the subject might not be beneficial in the long run. Students should opt for the course according to their interest and proximity.
Besides this, the budget must be carefully considered before opting to study the course. An even more important consideration should be the internship opportunities that universities provide after finishing the course. Experience and practical knowledge are of more importance in the field of criminology than others. Thus keeping the career variable in mind, students should opt for institutions that focus on quality internships.
Thus if you are planning to make a sustainable career in criminology having a good criminology degree is important. Thus choose wisely.