Bachelors degrees in criminology are unusual, and you should keep in mind that these programs probably will not qualify you for a job in the field. Most people who enroll in bachelors degree programs in criminology do so in order to advance their careers in fields like law enforcement, where you often do not need a bachelors degree to qualify for a job.
You need to consider your career goals when you decide whether or not to earn an online bachelors degree in criminology. For instance, if you are pursuing this degree in order to advance your career in social work or law enforcement, earning a bachelors degree in criminology online is a viable option. For these careers, you do not need to develop lab skills or research methods, so an online program will provide you with valuable knowledge.
On the other hand, if your goal is to go to graduate school so that you can work as a criminologist, an online bachelors degree in criminology may not be a good idea. Masters degree programs in criminology are competitive and the best applicants have solid research skills and experience with applied sociology. If you want to go to graduate school in criminology, you should only pursue a bachelors degree in criminology online if the program includes an internship component where you can develop hands-on skills.
If you want to earn a bachelors degree in criminology or a combined degree in criminology and criminal justice, you should look for programs that offer internships. An internship will provide you with practical experience in the field, which may boost your career opportunities or enhance your graduate school prospects. And remember that you do not have to earn a bachelors degree in criminology in order to study it at the masters level. Most masters in criminology students earn their bachelors degrees in sociology or psychology.
You will probably not find a job working in criminology with only a bachelors degree, but you can find a job in a related field like criminal justice or social work. A bachelors degree would qualify you to work as a social worker, police officer, criminal investigator, corrections officer and corrections counselor. Keep in mind that most of these positions require additional training.
To earn a bachelors degree in criminology or criminology and criminal justice, you will take a number of social science classes in areas of study including sociology, psychology and social deviance. You will also take classes on subjects that will teach you about how the criminal justice system functions, like juvenile delinquency, victimology and the legal process. Finally, you are likely to take classes in research and investigative methods like statistics and forensic science.
A bachelors degree in criminology or a combined degree in criminology and criminal justice typically requires students to complete between 120 and 180 credit hours. It takes about 4 years to complete a bachelors degree in this field.
BACHELOR OF ARTS BA
A BA degree in criminology will allow you to explore other disciplines outside of sociology. A BA is a good choice for students who are not interested in pursuing criminological research at the graduate level.
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE BS
A BS degree in criminology offers more classes with a scientific and mathematical focus. You will spend time learning research methods and applied sociology. This option is best for students who want to pursue a graduate-level education that leads to a career in criminology.