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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Criminology

Majors Overview February 2, 2015

Get information about a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Criminology and its coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Criminology

Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminology program learn about numerous topics, including crimes against women, the role of drugs in crime, theories of deviancy, and the sociological patterns of crime, among other subjects. They also learn about the legal system, human rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the history of the U.S. penal system.

The students gain a firm grasp of the causes and effects of crime through education about sociology and psychology, in addition to criminology courses. Additionally, students are given instruction on practices and theories in the determent and prevention of crime and meeting of punishment to criminals.


A broad range of subjects is included in the coursework within a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program. Core coursework typically includes:

•Criminal psychology
•Drugs and crime
•Juvenile justice
•Capital punishment

Career Choices

Those that complete a bachelor’s degree program can choose from numerous professions in the criminal justice system. A criminologist can expect to become adept at performing functions within a crime scene investigation team or in reporting research findings on crime statistics to federal, state, or local government agencies. There are many behavioral specialists, private consultants, and professors among criminologists.

U.S. Customs, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the U.S. Marshall Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are among the agencies that employ criminologists as law enforcement officials. These professionals may also seek jobs such as:

•Forensics expert
•Criminal psychologist
•FBI agent
•Police officer
•Corrections officer

Job and Wage Outlook

A slower-than-average job growth rate of 7% has been predicted for law enforcement workers over the 2010 – 2020 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, correctional officers and jailers brought home an average annual wage of $38,970, while police and sheriff’s patrol officers banked $55,270 per annum, on average (BLS).

Continuing Education Options

Those that complete a bachelor’s degree program may opt for continuing education by earning a graduate degree, such as a Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminology, whereby they can gain advanced knowledge in their field and enhance their job and career prospects.

Advanced degrees are also suitable for those seeking jobs in academia or research. Some states have made certification mandatory for parole, probation, police, and corrections officers; they can obtain the same by taking state exams.

Many criminologists seek membership in organizations that support research in their field. The American Society of Criminology (ASC), whose members can attend annual meetings and get employment support, publishes newsletters and scholarly journals. The ASC offers workshops and conferences devised to support professional development.

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