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Criminology programs teach people about crime and criminal behavior.

Criminology programs teach people about different types of crime, the criminal justice system, and how the public responds to crime. Students learn about criminal laws and the penal system.

Criminology programs include topics such as:

A degree in criminology prepares people for work as:


A few community colleges offer associate degree programs in criminology. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in criminology. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years of full-time study to complete.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in criminology. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

For this program, schools recommend that you know how to use a computer and the Internet.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Fieldwork and internships that deal with criminal justice issues are often required. You can work for a police department, juvenile detention center, parole office, or even your city's public defender for a term.

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate study in criminology typically includes:

Things to Know

Criminology is often called criminal justice. Some programs differentiate themselves by focusing more on the theories behind crime rather than how crime is punished.

Some schools combine criminology and sociology into a single bachelor's degree program.

Programs in criminology can be used as preparation for future study in law, criminal justice, public administration, or social work.

Most employers will perform a criminal background check before you are hired.


East Side Area

Big Bend Community College

Central Washington University

Walla Walla University

King-Snohomish Area

Seattle University

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Gonzaga University

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

West Side Area

Peninsula College

Saint Martin's University

Yakima Area

Yakima Valley College