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.
2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Criminology Degrees
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.
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)
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)
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.
#6 University of Colorado Denver
Annual Tuition: $15,270
Median Salary: $75,000
Locations: Denver (CO)
The University of Colorado Denver offers a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with three certificate options: Families and Social Welfare, Criminology, and Sociology of Health and Medicine. The program is available entirely online. Students enrolled in this degree study subjects such as social systems, race, ethnicity, social inequalities, and research methods. The program is taught by the same faculty that teaches its on-campus counterpart. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, 34 of which are in sociology courses. The program can be completed as a traditional eight-semester, four-year degree. Students who wish to graduate in less time can take advantage of the university’s Maymester and summer courses. Also, students may transfer credit from previous college coursework to shorten their time of study with UCD. Coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system. Student support for distance learners at UCD includes 24/7 librarian support, an online writing center, technical support and assistance, disability resources, and veterans’ services. Applicants to the program who are first-year students or have fewer than 24 transferrable credits must submit SAT or ACT scores. Those interested in this program should check with the university for admission requirements specific to this degree.
#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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
Online Criminology Degree Overview & Career Information
Online criminology degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Earning an online associate degree will take students approximately two years to complete, after which they can then apply for some entry-level positions or move on to further their education by seeking a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum amount of education required by most employers. This level of degree can be completed in four years of study. Graduate degrees are also available in the field of criminology. Individuals can graduate with their master's degree in just two years. Upon graduation they will be prepared to hold senior positions. Seeking a doctorate degree is the best route for professionals who wish to teach criminology at the college level, and will typically take students five to seven years to complete. Lastly, there are also certificate programs for those who don't want or need to commit to earning a full degree. This will open the doors for entry-level positions in criminology. It is also a way for already working professionals to seek further knowledge in the industry. Certificate degrees can be earned in a year or less.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Criminology
Individuals who seek an online bachelor's degree in criminology may find work in a variety of careers, including as a detective, police officer, caseworker, crime intelligence analyst, and corrections officer. An online bachelor's degree can be completed in four years and typically consists of 120 credit hours. Courses that students will take include criminal law, abnormal psychology, introduction to corrections, sociology of crime and violence, research methods for criminal justice, legal traditions, and data analysis in criminal justice. Some programs also offer internship opportunities for interested students. Applicants who are applying for a bachelor's program as a first time student will need to present their high school transcripts or GED certificates. Individuals interested in pursuing their bachelor's degrees online can find programs at various universities and colleges around the country.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Criminology Degree
Accreditation is an important aspect of postsecondary education, and students should take the accreditation status of the school they wish to attend into consideration. If a school is regionally accredited, it means that an independent, outside organization has evaluated the school and determined that it meets certain quality standards in the areas of academics, teacher quality, and more. Attending an accredited institution gives students the confidence that they are receiving an education that is going to adequately prepare them for their future career upon graduation. Accreditation also plays a role in the hiring process, as many employers prefer to hire candidates who have accredited educational backgrounds. Also, most colleges and universities will only accept transfer credits from other accredited schools. Thus, students who may transfer their credits or attend graduate school in the future will need to consider this. Lastly, students who are in need of federal financial assistance will not have the option of attending a non-accredited program because only accredited institutions have access to federal aid.
Careers in Criminology
There are several different career options within the field of criminology. One career choice for individuals with online criminology degrees is to work as a criminologist. Criminologists research crimes, study criminals, and try to figure out reasons why people commit crimes and how to prevent them in the future. They also work on trying to come up with ways to rehabilitate criminals back into society. On a daily basis a criminologist will conduct research and draw up reports that will aid in analyzing research. Individuals who are interested in this career path should pursue a bachelor's degree in order to adequately prepare themselves for the position. A master's degree can help them advance in their career.
There are other career options available to those with an online degree in criminology as well. They may also find jobs in social work, as correctional officers, in teaching, or in research. Individuals who wish to teach at the university level or conduct independent research may need to earn a master's or doctoral degree. Jobs can also be found as a police officer, medical examiner, FBI agent, or other law enforcement official. Another area prospective criminologists might find interesting is forensic criminology, which involves using scientific methods and principles and applying them to the study of crimes, criminals, and the criminal justice system as a whole.
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