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Online Criminology Degrees by Program Level

Research online criminology programs. Find out what you can learn in these programs and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

Essential Information

Students can complete criminology degree programs fully online or through a blend of online and campus-based courses at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Students may study criminal behavior associated with family crimes, sexual crimes and terrorism.

Graduates from bachelor's degree programs are typically prepared to find entry-level work in the criminal justice and protective services fields. Individuals earning a master's degree in criminology are usually already employed in the criminal justice or law enforcement sectors and are seeking career advancement. Master's degree programs can typically be completed on a part-time basis, and they often require a final capstone research project.

Criminology Bachelor's Degree

Students can take courses entirely online while earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminology or Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. These programs include in-depth study of criminal behavior, violence, justice system practices, law enforcement and criminal rehabilitation. Skills are acquired in leadership, professional ethics and communication. Upon graduation, students will have a firm understanding of criminal justice theories, policies and laws.

Program Information and Requirements

Programs are available entirely online and in a hybrid format. Students can expect to graduate in 2-4 years, depending on both the program and the rate at which students complete coursework. Online criminology bachelor's degree programs are generally 120 credit hours in length. Students communicate with instructors and other students via message boards and e-mail.

It is necessary that students have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. It is also helpful if the computer has an updated web browser and operating system.

Course Topics

Some degree programs offer courses in an accelerated online format that can be completed in as little as five weeks. Coursework includes electives.

Theory of Criminology

This course covers topics such as the psychology of criminal behavior, potential consequences and prevention methods. Students learn about socio-economic, gender and psychological issues in relation to criminal behavior.

Criminal Justice

Students learn a basic overview of the justice system, including court and correctional procedures. The roles of various levels of law enforcement are also covered. Additionally, students study the theory and philosophy of crime and punishment.

Crime Analysis

Students learn to apply criminology theory when assessing criminal behavior. The course covers the technology used and the history of and practices in modern criminal analysis.


Criminology Master's Degree

Criminology master's degree programs are designed for working professionals who are seeking leadership and management positions within their respective fields. Students will gain advanced knowledge of criminal behavior and a more in-depth understanding of the justice system. Students can earn a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Criminology. In these programs, students acquire advanced leadership, communication and management skills.

Program Information and Requirements

Students can expect to be enrolled for about two years. In general, coursework is around 30 to 40 credit hours in length. The programs are offered entirely online, and courses are often delivered in an asynchronous format, which is helpful to working professionals. Some programs require that students have access to a television with a DVD player, so that students may view course-assigned videos.

Course Topics

Depending on the program, curricula is made up of half core courses and half elective courses. Coursework is often finished with a capstone research project.

Criminal Justice Administration

Students gain the administrative and management skills needed to effectively hold an administrative position in various criminal justice fields, including law enforcement, the court system and correctional facility administration.

Delinquent Crime Prevention

Students learn standard theory behind punishment and prevention of criminal behavior in juvenile delinquents. This course emphasizes prevention through community programs with the use of technology.

Criminal Justice Computer Applications

Students learn various uses of computers, including database management, spreadsheets and graphics. Students also learn how to utilize the Internet for communication and researching crimes and criminal history.


Career Information

Many careers fields within the justice system offer entry-level employment for graduates of bachelor's programs, including corrections, private security, law enforcement and probation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 87,950 probation officers and correctional treatment specialists were employed nationwide in 2015, with the number expected to increase 4% from 2014-2024. In May of 2015, the median wage of a probation officer was $49,360 annually.

Upon graduation from master's programs, students are eligible to hold advanced administration positions in the fields of law enforcement, corrections and probation. In some states, students are eligible to teach criminology courses at local colleges. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May of 2015, there were 14,560 postsecondary criminal justice teachers nationwide. The largest number of teachers in this field taught at the college, university, and professional school level, where the annual wage was $67,160

Continuing Education Information

Students are able to pursue advanced degrees in criminology at the doctoral level. One common degree program is the Ph.D. in Criminology. This degree is rarely, if ever, available online due to the intense research involved and the need to have access to applicable literature.

Online criminology degrees are commonly found at the bachelor's and master's levels. Graduates of these programs may seek careers in probation, law enforcement, corrections, or even teaching criminal justice at the college level.


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