Tampa Programs in Criminal Investigation
There are three institutions -- including two four-year universities and one community college -- that are in or near central Tampa and offer criminal investigation programs. These schools' options range from undergraduate degrees and certificates to doctoral degree programs. This article provides info on these schools' requirements for criminal investigation students. There's also a table that highlights pertinent facts like costs and retention rates. Info on a fourth school located about 20 miles from Tampa is mentioned at the end of the article as well.
- Students at the University of Tampa, located less than a mile from the city's center, can focus on criminology or forensic science at the undergraduate level. The school offers bachelor's degrees in these majors as well as a minor in criminal investigation.
- Located under two miles from downtown, Hillsborough Community College in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood offers two associate's degree programs related to criminal investigation, one of which offers four specialization options. The school also has two certificate programs available.
- Those seeking undergraduate or graduate degree programs can find both at the University of South Florida's main campus in Tampa. Less than a 20-minute drive from central Tampa, the school is about 10 miles from downtown and offers criminology bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree programs.
Comparison of Schools
Degree requirements aren't all there is to consider when choosing a college. Factors like tuition, graduation rates and campus setting can play a role as well. This table gives some details on such factors for the three discussed Tampa schools.
|University of Tampa||Hillsborough Community College||University of South Florida - Main Campus|
|School Type||4-year; private, not-for-profit||2-year; public community college||4-year; public university|
|Total Enrollment (2014)||7,683*||27,298*||41,938*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Large city|
|Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)||$27,044*||$2,506 in-state;
| $6,410 in-state;
|% of Full-Time Beginning Undergraduate Students Receiving Financial Aid (2013-2014)||94%*||84%*||97%*|
|Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2013-2014)||52%*||N/A - Open admissions||53%*|
|Retention Rate (2014)||72% full-time||61% full-time||89% full-time|
|Graduation Rate (2014)||62%*||29%*||67 %*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
University of Tampa
The University of Tampa offers two bachelor's degree programs and a minor relevant to criminal investigations. Criminal justice or forensic students can also take advantage of the school's Criminology Scholars Program, the Criminology Club and the local chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, a national honor society for criminology.
Criminal Investigation Minor
Students with majors other than criminal justice or criminology can add a minor in criminal investigation to their studies at the University of Tampa. The 28-credit minor, which is offered by the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education, includes six mandatory courses on crime scene investigation, law enforcement, criminal investigation, law and procedure, criminology and criminal justice. Students have a choice among courses on psychology, sociology or critical thinking to meet final course requirements.
Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
Aspiring forensic chemists or forensic toxicologists can earn the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science offered by the University of Tampa's College of Natural and Health Sciences. Eight separate chemistry courses and accompanying labs are a large part of the curriculum, but biology, physics, genetics, criminal investigation and crime scene investigation courses round out the 89 core credit requirements. Humanities, social science and other general education topics fulfill the remaining 39 credits needed for this degree.
Bachelor of Science in Criminology
Criminal justice/criminology is the sixth most popular major out of the school's 150 programs. Courses taken to meet the 125-credit requirement for the criminology major include general education, writing and humanities courses in addition to the required criminal justice and criminology courses. Students then choose courses from behavioral, organizational and law categories. Classes that meet those requirements could include drugs, deviance and crime; violence; corrections; juvenile delinquency; ethics; and victimology. Students can participate in 'working tours' at local hospitals, correctional facilities and forensics labs. An internship, thesis or independent study can be completed during senior year.
Hillsborough Community College
Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus houses the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice Studies. Students can complete programs leading to an Associate in Arts with a criminal justice major or an Associate in Science (AS) in Criminal Justice Technology. Specialized tracks related to criminal investigations - including criminal justice, criminology, police work and crime scene technology - are available within the AS program. Graduates of a police academy can structure their degree as an Associate of Applied Science. A certificate in crime scene investigation is offered, as are 6-credit certificates in fingerprinting and crime analysis.
Certificate of Completion in Fingerprinting or Crime Analysis
These 6-credit certificates are open to students whether or not they are enrolled in another degree or certificate program at Hillsborough. The certificates acknowledge completion of designated courses, but stop short of being College Credit Certificates. The fingerprinting certificate requires completion of courses in fingerprint classification and in latent fingerprint development. The crime analysis certificate calls for the crime analysis and intelligence course along with the advanced crime and intelligence analysis course.
College Credit Certificate in Crime Scene Technology
This certificate can be completed in conjunction with an associate degree or as a standalone credential. The 28-credit curriculum includes introductory and advanced courses in crime scene technology, as well as latent fingerprint development, fingerprint classification, forensic photography and evidence presentation.
Associate in Arts in Justice Administration with a Criminal Justice Emphasis
HCC students can pursue an Associate in Arts (AA) with a criminal justice major. The requirements include 36 credits of general education courses plus 24 credits of criminal justice topics. Choices for courses that apply to the major include criminal investigation, criminology, crime scene technology and crime and intelligence analysis.
Associate in Science in Criminal Justice Technology - General Criminal Justice Track
This broad curriculum is an option for individuals who haven't yet identified a specific criminal justice career goal. Students pursuing this general track complete introductory courses in criminal justice and criminology as well as classes that discuss career choices, criminal law and directed research. An internship or field study is required. Students then choose six electives from a list of more than three dozen courses covering topics ranging from domestic violence and drug abuse to court procedures and corrections.
Associate in Science in Criminal Justice Technology - Criminology Track
Students in this track take the same general education and same nine core criminal justice courses as those in the general criminal justice track. The list of electives to choose from, however, is more focused on the study of crime and criminals. Students choose six from a pool of 15 possible elective courses that address topics such as human behavior, deviant behavior, forensic psychology and research methods.
Associate in Science in Criminal Justice Technology - Crime Scene Track
Students interested in forensics, crime lab or crime scene work can pursue this specialized associate degree. A criminalistics course is added to the required core curriculum described above. Five designated courses addressing crime scene technology, criminal investigations and evidence take most of the elective slots. Students choose one additional course for the sixth elective.
Associate in Science in Criminal Justice Technology - Police Track
As with the other AS programs, the police track option calls for the same general education courses and required core courses dedicated to criminology, law enforcement, criminal justice, juvenile delinquency, evidence and procedure, constitutional law, criminal law and an internship or field experience. However, an introduction to law enforcement course is an added requirement. Students then choose six electives relevant to their career goals. Possibilities include the investigative cycle from crime scene to court, police administration, criminal investigations or police community relations.
University of South Florida - Main Campus
The College of Behavioral and Community Services at the University of South Florida was established in 2008, but the Department of Criminology has offered degree programs since 1972. Today, students can pursue criminology degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
Undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminology, which includes coursework in criminal behavior patterns, statistical research methods, policing issues and intervention techniques. Students also have the opportunity to earn credit through a professional internship with a local law enforcement agency.
Master of Arts in Criminology
The criminology master's program is available in a thesis or non-thesis track. Most of the core courses are the same for both options, but the non-thesis option leaves room for an additional elective and requires an independent study in place of the thesis. Graduate coursework includes topics such as qualitative and quantitative research methods, as well as theoretical approaches to criminology.
Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology
Designed for students to complete a high-level of specialized criminology research, the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Criminology program includes extensive graduate coursework. Doctoral candidates must complete a prospectus, comprehensive examinations and a doctoral dissertation with oral defense.
Located 20.4 miles (30 minutes) from downtown Tampa, St. Petersburg College offers an AS in Criminal Justice Technology: Public Safety Services.