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Best Undergraduate Criminology Programs: List of Top Schools

The article names three of the best schools in the nation to offer bachelor's degree programs in criminology. Learn about the schools to offer such programs and their rankings, as well as program curriculum and details.

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School Overviews

The following two schools represent some of the best programs in the nation for students seeking bachelor's degree programs in criminology. Both universities have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among top schools in the nation. While the University of Pennsylvania's program lends itself more towards research and crime prevention, the program offered by the University of California incorporates instruction on varying types of law. A senior thesis may be required of criminology students. Read on for more details about these programs.

1. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

School Highlight: Criminology students can apply for the department's honors program, which requires a senior thesis to graduate.

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is the only Ivy League school to offer an undergraduate program in criminology. In 2015, Penn was ranked the eighth best national university by U.S. News & World Report. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Criminology is research-based and spotlights the causes and prevention of criminal behavior. Coursework includes studying the effects of drugs on the mind, bio-social criminology, deviance, and constitutional law. Students in the program develop a senior project prior to graduation.

2. University of California - Irvine

School Highlight: The Department of Criminology, Law, and Society participates in the activities of five research centers, including the Center for Psychology and Law and the Center in Law, Society, and Culture.

The University of California - Irvine (UCI) was named by U.S. News & World Report as the 42nd top national university in 2015. UCI offers a B.A. in Criminology, Law, and Society program that focuses on understanding crime and socio-legal theory. Coursework includes criminal law, crime measurement, and constitutional law. Graduates of the program may go on to work in public policy, social service and legal services or pursue graduate studies.

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Top Undergraduate Criminology Schools

College/University Name Distinction Location
Central Connecticut State University The B.A. in Criminal Justice program can be completed in 3.5 years New Britain, CT
Stonehill College Qualified juniors and seniors may become members of the Edwin H. Sutherland Criminology Honor Society Easton, MA
University of Denver Criminology majors seeking undergraduate research opportunities can apply to the Partners in Scholarship program Denver, CO
University of Florida The Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Law program is offered online Gainesville, FL
University of Maryland - College Park The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers undergraduate research opportunities through independent study and the Departmental Honors Program College Park, MD
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Faculty research interests include crime, punishment, and social control Minneapolis, MN
University of South Florida The Department of Criminology is home to three journals: Journal of Crime and Justice, American Journal of Criminal Justice, and Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Tampa, FL
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