BS in Criminology & Criminal Justice: Degree Overview

Mar 28, 2021

Essential Information

Bachelor's programs in criminology/criminal justice tend to focus their curricula around components of the criminal justice system, like correctional facilities and the courts. Depending on the school a student chooses, completing curriculum requirements online may be available. Students might specialize by choosing elective courses that are aligned with their professional goals.

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for admission, with some schools requiring a minimum GPA. Students typically need to complete a capstone project before graduating.

Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Criminology and criminal justice programs offer studies in criminal and deviant behavior, as well as government response to such behavior. Students in a B.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice program tend to study and gain knowledge in areas related to the prevention, causes and control of criminal activities. Students may learn theories, policies, practices and laws associated with criminal behavior. Students have the ability to learn about controversial issues in criminal justice from experts in a variety of related fields, including policing, fraud or court systems.

Many programs introduce students to legal norms and various ways agencies try to control deviant behavior. Students usually have the opportunity to gain skills in critical analysis, problem solving, research and communication as they develop understanding of issues at individual, community and social levels. Students may study topics that relate to:

  • American courts
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • White-collar crime
  • Criminal procedure
  • Corrections
  • Control strategies

Popular Career Options

Individuals who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree could be prepared to work in areas of local and federal law enforcement, corrections, human services, investigation and security. Graduates can find positions as:

  • Social workers
  • Juvenile correctional officers
  • Correctional treatment specialists
  • Police officers

Career and Salary Outlook Information

Data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that in 2019, the average annual wage for family, child and school social workers was $51,030. Correctional officers saw a mean yearly income of $50,130 that year, and correctional treatment specialists made an annual average of $59,910. Police officers averaged a yearly wage of $67,600.

The BLS additionally predicts a 13% employment increase for social workers during the 2019-2029 decade. Correctional officers are expected to undergo a 7% decline in employment during that time, correctional treatment specialists will see a 4% rise, while police officers are projected to see job growth rates of 5%.

Continuing Education

Graduates may opt to pursue advance degrees in areas related to criminology and criminal justice. Individuals have many options when choosing a graduate degree, including programs in social work, public administration, urban planning and law.

Students interested in criminology can consider bachelor of science degree programs examining the court system, criminal procedure, different forms of crime, and other aspects of criminal justice. These programs can prepare students for more advanced degrees in the field or entry into related careers.

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