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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Why study criminology?

Get up to speed with the interesting and exciting field of criminology. You may be surprised at the options that it offers.

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Ever watched a really good crime series where a skilful detective apprehends an evasive suspect and wondered “how do they do that?”. While admittedly this is a fictional account it draws very heavily on reality and the discipline of criminology. This subject is often slightly misunderstood or misrepresented and so we’re here to clear all of that up. We guide you through what studying a criminology degree is like, what criminology is and what you can do with a criminology degree. 


What is criminology?


In essence, criminology is the study of crime and criminal behaviour, how and why it may occur as well as methods to try and prevent it. The subject covers the scientific analysis of both individual criminal behaviour and wider societal or sociological trends. 


Criminology is a multifaceted discipline that draws on numerous other fields including history, anthropology, psychology, sociology and criminal law. Criminology offers a method of trying to understand the causes of crime and what strategies offer solutions for its reduction and mitigation. 


Explore universities in the UK where you can study for a degree in criminology:



What will I study in a criminology degree?


Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of criminology, a degree in the subject will see you cover a range of theories, topics and ideas. What you will study can also depend on whether you are taking a degree exclusively in criminology or have combined the subject with another specialisation such as law, psychology, criminal justice and social policy. 


The modules you cover will also depend on where you study, however, there will be some core areas that you’ll need to master including:


  • Criminal behaviour 
  • The legal context of crime 
  • Crime prevention methods
  • The sociological scope of crime 
  • Social anthropology
  • Quantitative analysis 
  • Social policy 
  • Criminal psychology
  • Qualitative research skills 
  • The historical context of crime 
  • Physiology of crime 
  • Communication 
  • Gender and society 


This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the topics that you will cover and you may find a particular area of specialisation that is of particular interest to you. This may come in handy when you reach your final year or postgraduate studies, as you’ll potentially be writing a dissertation on the topic. 


Discover some potential institutions where you can study criminology in Canada:



What do you need to study criminology?


Criminology degrees are offered at both bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BSc) qualifications. Make sure to check what’s on offer at the university you wish to attend and whether you can take a dual major by combining criminology with a complimentary subject. 


Entry requirements for a criminology degree will differ but, in most cases, you will need a minimum of an ABB result at A-level or equivalent. This translates to an SAT score of 1,290 and an international baccalaureate score of 32, with 16 points at a higher level. 


It is also a requirement to demonstrate that you have the necessary understanding of English, especially with the written assessment-based nature of the degree. You will need an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, or equivalent, with no band score lower than 5.5. Don’t lose hope if you don’t quite meet the English language requirements as you may be able to take a pre-sessional English course.


Find out more about these universities offering criminology courses in the USA:



What areas of specialisation are there?


Studying for a degree in criminology will open up doors for you in several areas of specialisation, depending on your interests. This can be but are not limited to:


  • Forensic psychology
  • Forensic science
  • Criminal law 
  • Criminal Justice 
  • Social policy 
  • Human rights 
  • Applied social science


You can also pursue a degree in criminology at both a master’s degree and doctoral degree level. Much will depend on your career ambitions and the profession you wish to pursue. 


What to do after a degree in criminology?


Speaking of careers and professions, you’re likely wondering what you can do with a criminology degree and what sort of jobs are available in the field. One of the good things about a degree in the subject is that you’re equipped with some key skills that many employers value. These include:


  • Communication 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Creativity 
  • Analytical skills 
  • Management 


Some of the roles that you could fulfil having completed a criminology degree include:


  • Social worker
  • Law enforcement officer 
  • Detective 
  • Civil servant 
  • Risk analyst
  • Researcher
  • Counsellor 
  • Community development manager


The other good news is that you’re unlikely not to be able to find work after graduating, with 84 per cent of graduates in employment or further study. Your earning potential will also increase with experience, with starting salaries of between GBP 20,000 and GBP 25,000, which can increase to as much as GBP 35,000 to GBP 40,000 when you have worked for a while. 


Still, feeling a little unsure about studying abroad? Why not check out our guide to 10 reasons to study abroad for help. You will probably also find our guide on how to compare universities to make the best choice useful. 

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