Online Master’s Degree in Criminology

Criminology is concerned with criminal behavior, patterns, and causes. It looks at individual criminals, the way they interact with society, and the effects of their behavior. The field also involves study in psychology and sociology, as social and behavioral sciences can help prospective criminologists gain insight into criminal minds and actions. Getting a master’s degree in this field can pave the way for administrative and forensic careers within law enforcement.

Online master degrees in criminology usually take approximately two years to complete. However, programs vary by school, and may take longer to complete at different universities. If students attend classes on a full-time basis, they might be able to finish their masters degree in criminology faster than part-time students.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Criminology

Students enrolled in accredited online masters programs in criminology typically take classes that teach them about crime, human behavior, the justice system, and society. They also take classes in psychology, sociology, and research methods. Some programs offer classes in criminal justice administration as well. Below are some specific examples of criminology course work:

  • Criminal Law
  • Victimology
  • Criminal Psychopathology
  • Theoretical Approaches to Criminal Behavior
  • Research Methods in Criminology

The best online masters degree programs usually include a thesis option as part of the criminology degree. Students who opt to fulfill a thesis requirement can conduct research on an aspect of criminology that interests them, and then write a report on what they discovered. Programs that focus on administration may include classes in public administration or an internship that gives students hands-on experience in the field.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Criminology

Most careers in the criminology field do not require employees to have a master’s degree. However, a master degree in criminology is extremely beneficial when it comes to advancing in your career or paving a path toward administration. Typical careers for master’s graduates include probation and correctional officers, private detectives and investigators, and forensic science technicians. With a master’s degree, individuals in these positions can advance up the career ladder, and will have an edge over their peers when applying for positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, probation and correctional officers average an annual salary of $47,200. Private detectives and investigators earn approximately 42,870, and forensic science technicians earn around $51,570. It is typical for pay to increase as employees advance.


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