Criminology: What Does It Entail and Is It Right for Me?

If you are passionate about public safety, forensics, social work, criminology or the court systems, then a degree in criminology may be right down your street. Before choosing a degree, it is good to know what the degree will cover, where and how you can study, as well as if the degree will be right for you. Here we take a quick look at what a criminology degree entails, what careers you may get into following your degree, and if you can combine criminology with another course.

Criminology Explained

Criminology in its most basic form is the study of crime. During a criminology degree you can expect to learn why crime occurs, including the sociology and psychology behind crimes, as well as how you could work in a role that can prevent crime. It is a combination of both sociology and psychology, mixed with history. If you enjoyed any of these subjects previously or have a keen interest in crime, criminology may well be your calling. 

What Can You Expect to Learn?

Exactly what is involved with any curriculum will depend on the university that you choose to study with. You could cover anything from organized crime, to youth crime, how crime can be prevented, and how prisons have been developed. For more information on what you may cover and if it may interest you, check out this great video on  

What Admission Requirements Are There?

Usually you do not need any prior experience in criminology or law as you will gain this knowledge and skill set during your degree. Most universities look for someone who is passionate about the subject, excited to learn, and has a good grade in English. 

How Can You Learn Criminology?

As with most degrees, you will learn through seminars, lectures, and workshops. When you study for a degree, you are expected to do a lot of your own self learning on the subject, and your university may provide you with a reading list of books that will help with your course, assignments and in your future career.

Be sure to do as much reading on the side as you can if you want to get far in your course, earn a good grade, and land your dream role following the end of your degree course. Those who put in the extra time and effort are more likely to be noticed by employers. It can be difficult at times gaining a job in your chosen degree field, so do all that you can do stay ahead of the competition. You can also choose to study in person or online, with many students now selecting online courses to work around their busy work and family lives. 

Combining Criminology with Other Courses

Many criminology courses are already combined with other relevant courses that can aid you further in getting a career within your chosen field. If you are really keen on the policing side of criminology, this online criminology degree Canada is combined with policing, preparing those who study for a job within public safety, law enforcement or criminology. Not only is this course combined, but it is taught solely online, meaning that you can work around other commitments, study when you want, and do not have to worry about taking time off work to attend classes. For those who cannot travel far to university, this is a great option too. 

How Long Is the Course?

The course length depends on where you study and if you choose to do a part-time or full-time course. Most degrees of this type can be completed within three to four years.

What Skills Do You Need?

There are many vital skills that you will need in order to make a great criminologist and these include:

  • A keen interest within human nature and different behavioural patterns
  • Great written English skills
  • Good Mathematical skills including understanding and interpreting statistics and computer science
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • The ability to multi-task and prioritize tasks as appropriate
  • Great analytical and research skills
  • Be able to think outside the box

All the above skills are necessary components to becoming an expert within your chosen field. As well as acquiring these essential skills that can all be developed through the degree program, other traits or experience that may get you noticed include: 

  • Being able to speak two or more languages
  • A background in Corporate Governance
  • Understanding and carrying out risk assessments
  • A background in Cyber Security

Career Prospects Following Criminology

There are many career fields that span from a degree in criminology, and it all depends on your interests or whether you choose to take a combined course. For those who are interested in the policing field, some of the jobs that you may want to apply for include:

  • Youth/Probation Officer
  • Criminal Justice Faculty
  • Private Investigator
  • Animal Cruelty Investigator
  • Forensic Analyst

There are many career ladders you can follow once you have gained your degree, and you may even want to gain work experience while studying to see if the role is right for you. The average salary for those who study a criminology degree and go into a relevant career start from around $52,000 a year and can reach as high as $85,000. 

Is Criminology the Right Choice for Me?

Only you know what interests you, and if any of the above has sparked your interests, you are off to a great start. There are no certain qualifications that you need, although having some or all of the skills above will aid you in doing well within your course, and you can go on to become a professional within your chosen field. With many interesting and rewarding career options out there and the chance to earn a great salary, criminology could be your calling. 

This article should have given you a better insight into the world of a criminology degree and what you can expect during and after your studies if you were struggling to make up your mind. Do your research and be sure to attend open days, request brochures and ask what other students thought of the course to help come to your final decision.