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List of Free Online Criminology Courses and Classes

See our list of the top free online criminology courses. Learn about what courses are available, what topics they cover and whether you can use them to get college credit.

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Online Criminology Courses for Credit

Students can find free courses in criminology online that don't require registration or tuition, though these classes do not provide college credit. The courses found on Study.com offer a way for students to attain credit for school at a relatively inexpensive rate, with simple-to-follow video lessons accompanied by free lesson transcripts and interactive practice quizzes.

Students can take a look at Criminal Justice 101: Intro to Criminal Justice, which covers relevant topics such as:

  • Theories of Crime - Some of the topics in this chapter include the rational choice theory, biological theories of crime, and individual trait theory of criminology.
  • The Criminal Justice Field - Looks into victims rights, issues of equity and fairness, as well as the U.S. criminal justice process and history.
  • The Role of the Police Department - This chapter examines different types of policing, ethics involved with police work, the arrest process, and racial profiling.

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Free Online Course Info and Requirements

The Open University in the United Kingdom and the University of California - Irvine offer free online courses in criminology and related topics. Students can use the course materials available through these schools without registering. These free online courses don't award credit; however, the non-credit, free courses offered by the University of California - Irvine are also available for credit through the school's online Master of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law and Society program.

The Open University

The Open University provides accessible credit-based online courses and degree programs to students inside the United Kingdom and several other countries, including the U.S. The school makes many of its course materials available for free through OpenLearn, iTunes University and YouTube.

  • The Meaning of Crime is an introductory social sciences course that explores several key questions related to criminology, including social perceptions of crime and explanations for criminal behavior. Course materials include written lessons and a list of reference materials.
  • Welfare, Crime and Society is a more advanced course that features video lessons accompanied by written transcripts, which explore topics such as anti-social behavior, poverty and hate crimes.

University of California - Irvine

The University of California - Irvine has an OpenCourseWare system, which includes two criminology courses that feature printed online lessons with reading lists and links to additional online sources.

  • Criminology, Law and Society: Hate Crimes is a graduate-level course focused on the political and social context of hate crimes. The class also takes a look at the way society prosecutes and investigates these crimes.
  • Criminology, Law and Society: White-Collar and Corporate Crimes is another graduate-level course in the university's criminology series, which focuses on crime in the corporate sector. The class takes a look at what causes these crimes and how the law can be enforced.
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