Best Undergraduate Criminology Programs: List of Top Schools

Aug 11, 2018

This 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 curricula and details.

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  • 0:03 School Overviews
  • 0:45 University of Pennsylvania
  • 1:24 University of California
  • 2:06 Central Connecticut…
  • 2:38 Other Criminology Schools

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School Overviews

Students can earn undergraduate degrees in criminology from several top schools in the country. Get information about a few of those top schools and the special programs they offer students. The following three schools represent some of the best programs in the nation for students seeking bachelor's degrees in criminology. All of these universities have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top schools in the nation. While the University of Pennsylvania and Central Connecticut State University programs lean more towards research and crime prevention, the program offered by University of California - Irvine incorporates instruction on varying types of law. A senior thesis may be required of criminology students.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania, or Penn as it is sometimes called, is the only Ivy League school to offer an undergraduate program in criminology. In 2017, Penn was tied as the eighth best national university by U.S. News & World Report. The school's 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. Criminology students can apply for the department's honors program, which requires a senior thesis in order to graduate.

University of California - Irvine

The University of California - Irvine (UCI) was named by U.S. News & World Report as tied for the 39th top national university in 2017. 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. 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. Graduates of the program may go on to work in public policy, social services, and legal services or pursue graduate studies.

Central Connecticut State University

U.S. News & World Report ranks Central Connecticut State as tied for 35th among top public schools in the North for 2017. The school offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology that looks at the criminal justice system and crime theory. Students participate in an internship that allows them to gain real-world experience with a criminal justice-related organization. The program requires 39 credits in criminology, with coursework in criminal procedures, corrections, law enforcement, and society, as well as research methodology.

Other Criminology Schools

Here we discuss some additional top undergraduate programs in the field and what makes them stand out.

College/University Name Distinction Location
Stonehill College Allows qualified juniors and seniors to become members of the Edwin H. Sutherland Criminology Honor Society Easton, MA
University of Denver Lets criminology majors seeking undergraduate research opportunities apply to the Partners in Scholarship program Denver, CO
University of Florida Offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Law online Gainesville, FL
University of Maryland Houses the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice that 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 school's 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

Bachelor's degree programs in criminology are available from some top institutions in the country, including the University of Pennsylvania, and vary greatly in the specializations and unique learning experiences that they offer students.

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