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Best Online Criminology Degrees

By Margaret Wack | Updated 10/14/2022
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Average Tuition: $25,981
Alumni Salary: $34,260

Online criminology degrees are available at a variety of degree levels. Students can pursue online associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, or certificate degrees in criminology. We provide a list of the best online colleges for criminology degrees based on affordability and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.

Accreditation is an important factor to take into account when selecting an online criminology degree. There is no predominant accrediting agency for criminology programs. Therefore, students should prioritize regional accreditation when pursuing online degrees. This will help to ensure the quality of the education as well as the students' eligibility for federal financial aid.

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2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Criminology Degrees

2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Criminology Badge

The following 22 schools offer the best online bachelor's in criminology degrees, based on their low tuition rates and high mid-career salary potentials. Missouri State University is ranked #1, offering a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice for $8,850 per year. Graduates of the school reported a median salary of $126,200. Washington State University, ranked #2, offers an annual tuition of only $11,550 and has a reported alumni salary of $95,000.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Missouri State University $8,850 $126,200
# 2 #2 Washington State University $11,550 $95,000
# 3 #3 Chaminade University of Honolulu $16,500 $96,000
# 4 #4 University of Florida $15,000 $80,300
# 5 #5 Florida State University $20,581 $77,400
# 7 #7 University of Alabama $11,250 $68,100
# 8 #8 University of Missouri at Saint Louis $31,164 $71,900
# 9 #9 University of North Carolina at Wilmington $18,758 $66,700
# 10 #10 Indiana State University $11,656 $62,800
# 11 #11 Portland State University $13,524 $63,300
# 12 #12 Ball State University $15,034 $60,600
# 13 #13 Loyola University New Orleans $13,500 $57,900
# 14 #14 The University of Texas at Arlington $23,703 $61,600
# 15 #15 University of South Florida Online $13,547 $56,500
# 16 #16 University of Nebraska at Omaha $15,600 $55,200
# 17 #17 University of Mount Olive $14,560 $54,200
# 18 #18 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale $9,637 $52,100
# 19 #19 Columbia College $11,250 $51,900
# 20 #20 University of Memphis $15,390 $53,100
# 21 #21 University of West Georgia $5,463 $41,300
# 22 #22 Tiffin University $14,260 $40,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Criminology Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Missouri State University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,850
  • Median Salary: $126,200
  • Locations: Springfield (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program at Missouri State University is designed to give students the skills needed to pursue careers in law, law enforcement, corrections, the justice system, and victim advocacy. In addition to the undergraduate coursework, there are several certificate options in specialized areas, including criminal investigation, conservation law enforcement, and terrorism in national security. Students planning to get their master’s can take the program’s accelerated track, which enables them to earn both undergraduate and graduate credit for some of the same classes. The coursework for this program is delivered using the Blackboard learning management system, which allows students to work independently, whenever and from wherever they choose. Resources for students include online tutoring, disability accommodations, library services, and peer coaching. There is a large transfer student population at Missouri State University, and any student who has completed courses at other regionally accredited colleges or universities can receive transfer credit. Those who have 12 or fewer transfer credits must apply as first-year students, while those who have more than 12 transfer credits can apply as transfer students. Both first-year and transfer students can apply by submitting an online application, their transcripts, and their ACT or SAT scores.

#2 Washington State University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,550
  • Median Salary: $95,000
  • Locations: Pullman (WA)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology program at Washington State University is offered remotely as part of the university’s virtual Global Campus. This online criminology degree focuses on crime policy and criminal justice policy. Coursework covers a variety of social science disciplines, including political science, sociology, and psychology, and includes classes such as Research Methods for Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, and Realizing Justice in a Multicultural Society. The curriculum is delivered through online video lectures, readings, quizzes, and papers, and class materials are accessible through the Blackboard learning management system. There are three program start dates. Students can apply by submitting an online application, high school transcripts, and standardized test scores. Applicants in the top 10% of their graduating class, or with a 3.6 or higher unweighted GPA, are assured admission. Admitted students can take advantage of student resources, such as career counseling, academic advising, tech support, eTutoring, and library services. Graduates of this program have gone on to criminology careers in Washington and throughout the country. Many graduates go on to pursue law degrees or careers in corporate security.

#3 Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Annual Tuition: $16,500
  • Median Salary: $96,000
  • Locations: Honolulu (HI)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program at Chaminade University of Honolulu is part of the largest and oldest criminal justice program in the state of Hawaii. This program offers a flexible-schedule approach to preparing for careers in law enforcement and criminology. Students complete coursework in crime scene investigation, witness interviewing, and evidence procedure. Students can also engage in internships and programs in career development. Support resources for online students include academic advising, tutoring services, library access, and IT support. Coursework is available 24/7 through the Canvas learning management system. Students are required to complete a total of 120 credits to graduate. These credits will include both general education coursework and major-specific coursework. Classes are offered on a ten-week schedule specially designed to meet the needs of students balancing many professional or personal responsibilities. To apply, students can complete an application and submit at least one official transcript. There are two program start dates.

#4 University of Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Median Salary: $80,300
  • Locations: Gainesville (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminology program at the University of Florida teaches students about the theories and techniques behind the study of crime, law, and society. This online program is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and it covers crime and the justice system and how both are affected by society and politics. In addition to the core classes, students can choose electives about topics like crime in the media, juvenile crime, and law enforcement. Students are required to complete a total of 120 credits to graduate. Online coursework is delivered through eLearning, an extension of the Canvas learning management system, and may include written papers, quizzes, interactive assignments, video lectures, and participation in online discussion forums. Student services include technical assistance, access to the career connections center, free tutoring and writing support, and virtual library access. To be qualified for this program, students must have graduated from high school with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or have earned their GED. Additionally, students must meet the minimum score requirements for either the SAT or the ACT. The application process requires students to submit an online application, transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores.

#5 Florida State University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,581
  • Median Salary: $77,400
  • Locations: Tallahassee (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Florida State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminology degree. The program’s part-time format helps students balance their studies with other responsibilities. All coursework is delivered online using Canvas, a learning management system that is accessible 24/7. Students can use Canvas to submit assignments, communicate with instructors and classmates, and organize lesson materials. Program participants are required to earn a minor or second major from another department; however, some internships are acceptable substitutions for this requirement. FSU is dedicated to delivering course content with some of the best technology available. Students have access to resources like the career center, testing services, mental health counseling, academic advising, and tutoring. There are three program start dates to choose from. To apply, students must have earned an associate degree or have completed all general education courses required of FSU undergraduate students. Those who are eligible can submit an application through FSU’s website or the Common Application. Prospective students must also submit supporting documents, which may include transcripts, test scores, a resume, and a personal essay. Program graduates can go on to become detectives, crime intelligence analysts, victim advocates, private investigators, and social services case managers.

#7 University of Alabama

  • Annual Tuition: $11,250
  • Median Salary: $68,100
  • Locations: Tuscaloosa (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Alabama offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The program provides students with a comprehensive study of the legal system as it relates to criminal justice and emphasizes research and theory, which are crucial to investigating and preventing criminal behavior. Coursework covers areas such as law enforcement, juvenile delinquency, social inequality and crime, hate crimes, and drugs and crime. Students must earn 120 credits to graduate. Courses are taught by the same faculty that teaches the on-campus program. Students do not have to follow the on-campus schedule; they may continue to take classes until all the program requirements are met. Those applying to the program as first-year students who graduated from high school less than four years before applying should submit high school transcripts and high school class schedules as well as ACT or SAT scores. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Transfer students must have a minimum of 24 transferrable credits and submit transcripts from previous college coursework with a minimum overall GPA of 2.0. Distance learners at UA have access to online library resources, tutoring, technical support, writing assistance, and career support.

#8 University of Missouri at Saint Louis

  • Annual Tuition: $31,164
  • Median Salary: $71,900
  • Locations: St. Louis (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Missouri – St. Louis offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice that integrates practice and theory to give students a comprehensive study of the criminal justice system. It is specially designed for those seeking careers in the juvenile court system, parole, probation, and policing. A total of 120 credits are required, with 37 in the major. Additionally, an online Bachelor of Liberal Studies is available with an emphasis in Criminology and Criminal Justice. This is a 120-credit program with 45 credits in upper-level coursework. A capstone course must be completed. Students must declare their major at the beginning of the program. Those applying as first-year students must have a minimum total of 17 high school credits in English, math, science, social studies, fine arts, and foreign language. Math and foreign language credits can come from middle school studies. Applicants are also evaluated by high school rank and SAT or ACT scores. Missouri residents who have at least 17 credits and graduated in the top 10 percent of their class are automatically admitted. UMSL provides support to distance learners through career services, counseling services, library services, math and writing assistance, technical support, and tutoring.

#9 University of North Carolina at Wilmington

  • Annual Tuition: $18,758
  • Median Salary: $66,700
  • Locations: Wilmington (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington is available fully online, but students can choose to take some classes on campus or at a local community college. Online classes are often a mixture of fully online students and students who take some classes on campus. The curriculum provides students with an in-depth study of the American criminal justice system in areas such as corrections, policing, parole, probation, criminal law, white-collar crime, juvenile justice, evidence law, and more. Students with an associate degree can complete the program in about two years, or even less if they take summer classes. Those applying to UNCW as first-year students must meet minimum course requirements that include a specific number of units in English, foreign language, math, social studies, and science. Transfer students must meet minimum high school requirements and have at least 24 credits of transferrable college coursework with a minimum overall GPA of 2.5. Those with fewer than 24 credits must submit ACT or SAT scores. UNCW provides distance learners with academic advising and support, technical support, career assistance, and counseling.

#10 Indiana State University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,656
  • Median Salary: $62,800
  • Locations: Terre Haute (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Indiana State University includes both theory and application. Coursework covers areas such as criminal behavior, criminal law, the justice system, and criminal justice administration, and the program aims to show how these various aspects are related to one another and society in general. Students are required to participate in an internship with a criminal justice agency. All courses in the major are available online, and foundational courses can be completed online through ISU or at a local institution. A total of 42 credits are required in the major. Additionally, a Bachelor of Science in Cybercriminology and Security Studies is offered with two concentrations: Cybercrime and Physical Security. Students study both the theory and practice of cybersecurity at both the corporate and national levels. The 121-credit program is offered over eight semesters and can be completed in four years. Those applying as first-year students must complete the Indiana Core 40 high school curriculum (or equivalent for out-of-state residents). Transfer students should submit transcripts from previous college coursework and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Online students at ISU have access to academic support and advising, career assistance, math and writing assistance, and tutoring.

#11 Portland State University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,524
  • Median Salary: $63,300
  • Locations: Portland (OR)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Students enrolled in the online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree at Portland State University study the criminal justice system, crime control, and the causes of crime itself. The subject is examined from the perspectives of both offenders and victims, and the program covers theory, research, crime control policy, and methods related to policing, courts, and corrections. A total of 64 credits must be earned to complete the major, which include nine required courses, eight electives, and an internship. The major can be completed in two years. Scheduling information is provided to students upon registration. Courses are in five- or eight-week formats. The internship is 10 weeks; distance learners who cannot complete an internship may substitute this with an online professional development track. There are program starts every term. Applicants must have a high school diploma and have graduated with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, students must complete 15 units of college preparatory coursework with a C grade or higher. ACT or SAT scores are required. Transfer students must provide official transcripts of prior coursework and have a minimum GPA of 2.25. Advising and counseling services are available to distance learners at PSU.

#12 Ball State University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,034
  • Median Salary: $60,600
  • Locations: Muncie (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ball State University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology. In response to current trends in criminal justice and society’s perception of it, the program emphasizes data-driven decision-making, ethics, policy development and implementation, politics, public perceptions, and theory. Learning is asynchronous, so students can study at a time that is convenient for them. BSU has reduced the number of required courses, so students can customize their degree. They can choose from the following specialties: policing, courts, victimology, corrections, and special populations. The online curriculum is the same as the on-campus program. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, and the curriculum includes a capstone experience. Students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Those applying as first-year students must submit high school transcripts. They should have completed an Indiana 40 Core diploma or its out-of-state equivalent. BSU is a test-optional school, so students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores. Online students are provided with academic support, academic advising, peer mentoring, writing assistance, library support, technology support, and career planning services.

#13 Loyola University New Orleans

  • Annual Tuition: $13,500
  • Median Salary: $57,900
  • Locations: New Orleans (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Bachelor of Criminology and Justice at Loyola University New Orleans is available online. Students are taught to conduct original research, and they learn how to take a critical approach to agency-related research. Students learn about existing social structures and are encouraged to ask questions and seek change for the better. The 120-credit program can be completed in 3.5 years. The major comprises 40 credits of the degree, with the remainder earned through core courses, adjunct courses, and general electives. The curriculum focuses on crisis intervention, violent offenders, deviant behavior, and criminal law. Coursework is asynchronous and delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system. Applicants with no college credits must provide official high school transcripts or a GED. Those under 22 must also submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must submit transcripts from each post-secondary school attended. If they have fewer than 12 transferrable credits, they must also submit high school transcripts or a GED. At least 25 percent of the total credits required have to be earned at LUNO. Distance learners have access to technical support, math assistance, financial aid, and the school’s Student Success Center.

#14 The University of Texas at Arlington

  • Annual Tuition: $23,703
  • Median Salary: $61,600
  • Locations: Arlington (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students who have already completed the first two years of undergraduate courses can complete the Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice completely online. The program gives students an understanding of the causes of crime, and they learn how to do research that can be applied to management positions at the municipal, state, and federal levels. The curriculum covers areas such as research methods in criminology, race and justice, the American judicial system, institutional corrections, probation, parole, juvenile delinquency, ethics, police, drugs, gangs and gang behavior, and forensics and DNA analysis. A total of 66 credits are required to complete the major and earn the degree. Students must have a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5 in major courses to graduate, and they must have a minimum total of 120 credits. Multiple start dates are available. The program’s courses are offered by various universities in the University of Texas system, including Arlington, Brownsville, El Paso, and Permian Basin. Learning is asynchronous, and the program is offered in accelerated 7- and 15-week courses. The university offers distance learners support services such as academic advising, career assistance, counseling, tutoring, veteran services, and technical support.

#15 University of South Florida Online

  • Annual Tuition: $13,547
  • Median Salary: $56,500
  • Locations: Tampa (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminology offered at the University of South Florida can be completed either on campus or online. The program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of the criminal justice system and criminology, including theories of criminal behavior, research methods, and social science statistics. Students can customize their degree with 24 elective credits, and they can choose to study subjects such as white-collar crime, prison reentry and recidivism, the death penalty, ethics, forensic psychology, domestic violence, and sex offenders. A capstone project is required. A total of 120 credits are required for the degree, including 36 credits in the major. A minimum of 30 credits must be earned at USF. Students must finish the program with a minimum overall GPA of 2.0. Learning is generally asynchronous, and coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system. Those applying to USF as first-year students must submit official high school transcripts or GED information and ACT or SAT scores. There is no minimum GPA requirement to apply, but competition is rigorous and preference is given to students with higher GPAs. Academic support and advising, career assistance, and technical support are available to online learners.

#16 University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Annual Tuition: $15,600
  • Median Salary: $55,200
  • Locations: Omaha (NE)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is a fully online, 120-credit program. Students study theories and practices related to law, investigation, crime prevention, policy, and other aspects of the criminal justice system. The curriculum covers subjects such as criminal law, sex crimes, and sociology of deviant behavior, and students must complete an internship. The school also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and an online Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The 15-credit concentration covers subjects such as police and society, corrections, criminal justice, ethics, and terrorism. Students must fulfill an internship in the concentration as well. Both degrees require 120 credits. Coursework in UN’s online programs is generally asynchronous, but students must meet deadlines for their assignments. Study is not self-paced, and students must keep up with assignments, tests, readings, discussion boards, and other coursework. First-year students must submit ACT or SAT scores, an official high school transcript, and transcripts for any post-secondary school coursework. Services available to distance learners include academic advising, career assistance, technical support, and library services.

#17 University of Mount Olive

  • Annual Tuition: $14,560
  • Median Salary: $54,200
  • Locations: Mount Olive (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Specially designed for working adults, the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Mount Olive can be taken completely online. The program provides students with an in-depth study of the criminal justice system as well as crime, causes of crime, policies, criminal behavior, and how criminal justice agencies are administered. The curriculum covers areas such as juvenile justice, court systems, correctional systems, drugs, terrorism, and homeland security. Seniors complete a research project as a capstone. Students can request experiential learning credit, which allows them to apply knowledge and skills acquired in non-didactic settings to the first semester of the program. The major consists of 14 courses and the capstone. Applicants without previously earned college credit must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and they submit official transcripts. Transfer students must submit transcripts for all post-secondary school coursework. Distance learners at UMO have access to technical support, counseling services, peer tutoring, personal consultations, writing assistance, career development, library services, and academic support.

#18 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

  • Annual Tuition: $9,637
  • Median Salary: $52,100
  • Locations: Carbondale (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice that can be taken by first-time college students needing to fulfill all course requirements as well as by transfer students. Both the coursework and faculty are the same as for the on-campus program. Students study subjects such as criminological theory, criminal justice research, criminal justice statistics, terrorism and counter-terrorism, white-collar crime, policing, juvenile justice, and criminal procedure. The degree is a standard 120-credit program, with 42 of those credits in the major. An associate degree can be applied toward the general education requirements. Online learning at the university includes assignments, asynchronous discussions with fellow students, quizzes, exams, audio and video material, lectures, and readings. Applicants should have a high school diploma and submit official transcripts. Students can be considered for automatic admission if they have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75, are in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, or have a 23 ACT or 1140 SAT score. Transfer students must have at least 26 transferrable credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Distance learners at SIU have access to full library services, and they can receive writing assistance, academic support, and technical support.

#19 Columbia College

  • Annual Tuition: $11,250
  • Median Salary: $51,900
  • Locations: Columbia (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Columbia College offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis on Crime and Social Inequality. In the general sociology courses, students study various social institutions and analyze poverty, crime, racism, sexism, social change, policies, social movements, technology, and other factors that drive or are driven by society and culture. They also acquire skills in data analysis, research, evaluation, and organization within the framework of business, non-profits, and government agencies. The emphasis covers subjects such as social deviance, criminology, juvenile delinquency, and American social policy. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree. Online learning is asynchronous, but students are expected to meet assignment deadlines. Courses are on an eight-week schedule and are delivered in six sessions throughout the year. Assignments, discussion postings, and research papers comprise the bulk of online education at the college. Program applicants must have a high school diploma, equivalency test, or six hours of college credit. Applicants should submit high school and other applicable transcripts or a GED, HiSet, or TASC score. Students at Columbia College have access to academic support, technical support, and career counseling. Some students may qualify for TRiO Support, which includes mentoring, tutoring, grants, workshops, and more.

#20 University of Memphis

  • Annual Tuition: $15,390
  • Median Salary: $53,100
  • Locations: Memphis (TN)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice offered at the University of Memphis can be completed entirely online. The degree focuses on research, scholarship, community outreach, and service. The curriculum covers areas such as the etiology of crime, intervention strategies, program evaluation, and issues and questions regarding social justice. A minimum of 120 credits is required to complete the degree, including 39 in the major. The university’s Prior Learning Assessment evaluates whether prior learning or experience can be applied as credit for college-level courses. Courses are taught by the same faculty that teaches the on-campus program. Learning is asynchronous, and no on-campus visits are required. Applicants must fulfill minimum high school academic requirements in English, performing arts, math, science, social studies, foreign language, and science. Applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores from no more than five years prior to application. Students over 21 must take the Accuplacer exam in place of the SAT or ACT. Transfer students must submit all transcripts from post-secondary education and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Online students at the U of M have access to a number of student services, including academic support and advising, tutoring, technical assistance, and library services.

#21 University of West Georgia

  • Annual Tuition: $5,463
  • Median Salary: $41,300
  • Locations: Carrollton (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of West Georgia offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminology that can be earned entirely online. In this program, students engage in a critical examination of crime, justice, and the criminal justice system. They also develop strong communication and analytical skills. Depending on electives, the program’s coursework covers subjects such as juvenile delinquency, law enforcement, criminal procedure, American criminal courts, corrections, violent crime, police deviance, and gangs. With 15 credits taken per semester — including summer semesters — the degree can be completed in three years. Transfer students who have already completed basic core courses can complete the program in four semesters. A total of 120 credits are required, and a maximum of 90 can be transferred. Those applying as first-year students must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Adult learners (those who graduated at least five years before applying) must have a high school diploma or GED and transcripts for any post-secondary education. Students at UWG can access career services, academic support, technical assistance, and veteran services. All students can get Microsoft Office 365 for free.

#22 Tiffin University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,260
  • Median Salary: $40,300
  • Locations: Tiffin (OH)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Bachelor of Criminal Justice offered at Tiffin University is available with six different concentrations, including one in Criminal Behavior. The degree is available fully online. Students receive an in-depth study of the psychological causes of crime as well as trends in crime, justice agencies, and how the American justice system is changing to address current needs in jurisprudence. The curriculum delves into areas such as crisis intervention, counseling, and personality assessment. There are two terms per semester and six starts per year. The time to complete the degree depends on how many transfer credits a student has. It can be completed in two years by those who have two or more years of prior college credit. Online learning at Tiffin University includes research papers, assignments, quizzes, and exams. Learning is asynchronous. Through discussion boards, chat rooms, and email, students interact with one another and with instructors. Distance learners at TU have access to library services, academic support, skill-building workshops, career services, peer tutoring, writing assistance, and technical support. First-year student applicants must have a high school diploma with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.25. Transfer students — those with at least 12 transferrable credits — must have a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Criminology Degrees Online: An Overview

Criminology, a branch of sociology, is the study of crime and criminal behaviors. Criminology is an interdisciplinary field that draws on disciplines including psychology, economics, political science, and more. Students of criminology learn about why people commit crimes and dive deep into relevant concepts, such as criminal justice, law enforcement, and sociological factors that influence crime.

An online bachelor's degree in criminology typically takes four years to complete at a full-time pace. Students may have to demonstrate a certain minimum GPA and pass an entrance exam, like the SAT or ACT, in order to be admitted into an online criminology program.

Is Criminology a Hard Major?

Criminology is an interdisciplinary major that requires students to read texts, write essays, and analyze various sources and statistics. Criminology may have less stringent requirements than some more technical fields, but it can still be a challenging major.

What Is the Difference Between BA and BS in Criminology?

A Bachelor of Arts in Criminology means that the curriculum requires more coursework that's focused on the humanities. This may include more writing projects and ethics classes, for example. A Bachelor of Science in Criminology, meanwhile, focuses more on the science and mathematics involved in this field.

In general, these are interchangeable degrees, with schools generally offering one or the other. However, a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology is often more common,as criminology is considered a socialscience.

Is Criminal Justice and Criminology the Same?

Criminology and criminal justice are very similar, but there are a few important differences. Students who study criminal justice typically focus more narrowly on law enforcement, while those who study criminology focus more broadly on the sociological and psychological factors that influence crime.

Criminology Courses

Students majoring in criminology will gain exposure to a wide variety of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, history, and economics. Courses will focus on the study of crime and criminals, approaches to reducing crime, criminal justice legislation and reform, and why people commit crimes.

Introduction to Criminology

Faculty introduce students to foundational concepts in criminology, including the study of crime, the history of criminal justice, and why/how crime occurs. Students gain exposure to theories and methods behind the study of criminology as well as current and historical trends in the field.

Criminology and Public Policy

Students explore the intersection of the study of criminology with current policy and legislation in this course. Students may also learn about how policy at the local, state, and federal level can affect crime, including how policies may positively or negatively affect the rate of crime and the behavior of individuals.

Quantitative Methods for Sociologists

As a branch of sociology, the study of criminology can involve quantitative research. This class introduces criminology students to quantitative research methods: experiments, observation, surveys, secondary data analysis, and more. This course enables students to more accurately gather and analyze sociological data as it relates to the study of criminology.

Introduction to Law

An introductory law course exposes students to the relationship between criminology and the legal system. Students learn about the origin and development of the American legal system, including how laws affect crime, social justice, and the legal system.

Contemporary Issues in Criminology

During this course, students are exposed to the latest trends and developments in this field, such as new explanations for crime, current criticisms of criminology, criminal justice reform, social justice, wrongful convictions, the death penalty, contemporary criminal law, and the difference between crime and social harm. Students gain a robust understanding of the current state of the study of criminology.

Criminology Jobs

Criminologists study how and why crimes occur, taking a sociological approach to the issue of crime. However, criminology can prepare students for a wide variety of other careers in the criminal justice field. Students may choose to pursue careers as criminologists who study and research crime. They may also pursue other related career paths, such as law enforcement or public policy.

Below we've listed a few career options for graduates of a criminology major, including salary and job growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Criminologist

Annual Median Salary: $92,910
Job Outlook: 5%

Criminologists are specific kinds of sociologists that study the sociology of crime. Criminologists are sometimes also known as penologists because they analyze the penal system. They may use both quantitative and qualitative methods when researching the cause and effects of crime. Demand for this position is expected to grow at a slower-than-average rate over the next decade.

Law Enforcement Officer

Annual Median Salary: $66,020
Job Outlook: 3%

Law enforcement officers, like police officers and detectives, are responsible for protecting property and solving crimes. Law enforcement jobs are projected to grow at an average rate over the next ten years.

Private Detective or Investigator

Annual Median Salary: $59,380
Job Outlook: 6%

In addition to working as a member of law enforcement, students with a degree in criminology may also choose to pursue a career as a private detective or investigator. Private detectives are hired by citizens to conduct investigations into personal, legal, and financial issues. Demand for this job is growing faster than the U.S. average of 8%, at a projected rate of 13% over the next decade.

Forensic Science Technician

Annual Median Salary: $61,930
Job Outlook: 11%

Forensic science technicians are responsible for collecting and analyzing evidence related to criminal investigations. In addition to a bachelor's degree in criminology, students may also want to pursue hands-on training related to lab work and evidence analysis in order to qualify for this position. The BLS projects that demand for jobs in this field will grow at a steady rate that's double the current U.S. average across all occupations.

How Much Do Criminologists Make?

Sociologists, including criminologists, make an average of $92,910, as indicated by the BLS statistics listed above. Some of the factors that can affect a criminologist's salary include where they live and how many years of experience they have.

Is Criminology aGood Major for the FBI?

If you plan to pursue a career with the FBI, a degree in criminology can help prepare you. Majoring in criminology will expose you to the study of crime, and most positions with the FBI require at least a bachelor's degree. That said, criminology isn't the only major that students interested in working for the FBI should consider. It may be the case that degrees in criminal justice, computer science, or forensic science may be a better fit for your career goals.

Is a Bachelor's in Criminology Worth It?

A bachelor's degree in criminology may be worth it for students who intend to pursue careers in law enforcement as criminologists or related endeavors. Studying criminology exposes students to crime, criminal law, and more, preparing them for a wide range of positions in the field of criminal justice. 

That said, an online bachelor's degree in criminology may not be worth it for all students. Some positions in this field may not require a bachelor's degree, for example, while others may accept students with a wide variety of undergraduate majors.

Carefully consider the following pros and consof getting your online degree in criminology:

Potential Benefits

A bachelor's degree in criminology can prepare students for careers in criminal justice. Obtaining an undergraduate degree in criminology can help students qualify for jobs either in criminal justice or law enforcement agencies.

Criminologists usually earn high salaries. According to the BLS, criminologists can earn about $92,000, depending on their experience and location, putting them well above the national average.

An online criminology degree is a good fit for students with other responsibilities. Studying criminology online provides flexibility for students who may have other work or family commitments.

Potential Drawbacks

A criminology degree may not be necessary to pursue a career in this field. While a bachelor's degree in criminology can aid students in getting a job in the criminal justice field, this major isn't necessarily required for entry-level positions – any bachelor's degree may suffice.

An online criminology degree can be expensive. While studying criminology can prepare students for well-paying careers, the degree itself can be expensive, and students may have to take out student loans in order to afford it, even if they receive scholarships or other forms of financial aid.

Online degrees may limit students' opportunities to gain real-world experience. Online degrees provide flexibility for students, but they may have drawbacks when it comes to hands-on learning opportunities.

Bottom Line

For students looking to study crime or pursue careers in the criminal justice field, a degree in criminology can be a suitable choice. This interdisciplinary course of study helps students develop the skills they need to understand and analyze crime. Students may go on to work as criminologists, researchers, and even social workers.

For students graduating with a bachelor's degree in criminology looking to further their education, a master's degree in criminal justice or a master's degree in homeland security could be helpful next steps.

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