Online Graduate Programs in Criminology

Online graduate programs in criminology help develop students’ understanding of the causes of crime and how to reduce them. Depending on your chosen degree program, you could have the chance to research factors that contribute to higher crime rates. Then, you could apply that knowledge to create new policies and techniques to address law enforcement obstacles. Online criminology graduate degree programs might not only enhance your knowledge of criminal practices but also help you address the safety concerns of a community.

Graduate Programs in Criminology

Define Criminology

Criminology is a branch of sociology that studies factors that contribute to crime in a region. By examining certain data, criminology could help hone in on criminal trends and potentially cut back on how often crime occurs. Or, it could help law enforcement better react to or inhibit crime growth. To do this, criminology monitors different features that might affect a community’s crime rate. For example, it may study some of the following factors.

  • Frequency
  • Location
  • Human Behavior
  • Economics
  • Politics

These are only a few things that criminology might research; you may find your own niche. By studying these topics as part of online graduate programs in criminology, you could have the chance to practice methods and techniques to not only analyze this data, but offer solutions as well.

Online Masters in Criminology

An online masters in criminology online program is intended to flesh out your undergraduate knowledge with more advanced topics in crime research and theory. Unlike a bachelors program, the masters program is more focused on helping students understand the functions of the criminal justice system. For example, classes may cover topics like human psychology more in depth than a bachelors program.

Then, classes may also present ways to alleviate obstacles to criminal justice . To do this, courses first teach about systems that are currently in place to address crime. Then, they focus on the study of research methods so that students gain practice in conducting their own research and ideas. Using that data, students could suggest changes to the system to better reflect and respond to current trends.

During your online masters in criminology program, you could have the chance to study some of the following topics.

  • Research Methods
  • Statistics for Criminal Justice Research
  • Criminological Theory
  • Disaster Planning
  • Human Behavior
  • Issues in Law Enforcement & Corrections

Courses vary by school. Be sure to speak with your prospective school for more class details.

Online Graduate Certificate Criminology

Online graduate certificates in criminology are often shorter programs that are aimed at helping those already in the criminal justice field. Many of these programs attract students who have already studied the basics of criminology in a bachelors program. As a result, courses tend to focus on new material that students may find useful in their careers. For example, classes may delve into new methods to monitor crime in a community. Courses could include some of the following.

  • Criminal Investigative Analysis
  • Criminal Intelligence
  • Criminal Law & Procedures

Classes naturally will differ from school to school.

Beginners may have online graduate certificate program options as well. Some programs may act as an expedited bachelors program for students who have not earned a related bachelors degree. Therefore, courses in these programs often start with the basics of criminology like crime statistics and analysis. These programs usually draw students who are looking to break into the criminal justice field or law enforcement positions.

Online graduate certificate programs typically require students to complete 26 credit hours in order to graduate. With this in mind, students could potentially earn a graduate certificate online in 1 to 2 years depending on enrollment.

Online Doctorate in Criminology

An online doctorate in criminology is a high-level program that could help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to design new systems to address crime. Other graduate programs help students jump into an already existing industry. The PhD, on the other hand, helps students address the overarching issues within the criminal justice system.

Classes first teach how to research crime trends. Then, courses cover how to directly engage with research data to construct new policies, agencies, or tactics. As part of this, students could have the chance to study some of the following topics during their online doctoral program.

  • Crime & Policy
  • Research Methods & Statistics
  • Research Psychology
  • Political Theory
  • Policy Analysis

Be mindful that courses may vary by institution.

It’s important to note that the online doctoral programs differ from other graduate courses in that they may require students to already have earned a masters in criminology or related degree. Check with intended schools for more details.

Criminology Dissertation

Additionally, online criminology doctoral candidates may be asked to complete a dissertation before they are able to graduate. The dissertation usually includes criminology research that has been performed by students. In many cases, this could be an examination of criminal factors in a particular region. Then, students analyze the data and offer solutions to the challenges they studied.

To complete this requirement, students must then defend their thesis to a panel of department faculty. It’s important for online students to be aware that dissertation defenses typically happen on campus. In some instances, schools may offer video conferences for students that are unable to get to a campus.

Why Earn Your PhD in Criminology Online?

Online graduate programs in criminology try to extend the campus experience to students taking part in long-distance learning. To do this, many schools try to ensure that the majority of the criminology program remain intact as is when transferred online.

Criminology studies often involve analyzing overarching trends and statistics. And, much of this data is collected online. Due to this, the curriculum may be easily be transferred to the digital classroom. Schools may provide scenarios, databases, or other information for students to study from the privacy of their own home. Additionally, students may still have access to lectures and other learning materials due to modern streaming technology. This way, students may undergo a similar experience to their campus counterparts.

Additionally, students may have access to important criminology computer programs as well. Online graduate programs in criminology may provide access to newer technology so that students could apply their knowledge using real-world crime tracking systems. This could be a great way to practice using tools that might be used in your field.

Potential Criminology Careers

After earning your graduate degree in criminology online, you might be interested in pursuing a career in the criminal justice system. For many students, this could mean pursuing a career as a criminologist. This career is a subset of sociologist.i Much like how sociologist study trends in human societal behavior, criminologists study trends in crime. Duties could include studying the rate of crime and its many factors in specific regions like cities, town, or counties. This position may require applicants to hold a doctoral degree to pursue entry-level roles. In 2016, criminologists earned a median salary of $79,750.ii

Additionally, online graduate programs in criminology could help you pursue a teaching career after graduation. Postsecondary teaching careers may require applicants to have a masters or PhD in their desired field. In this specific case, you would possibly need a PhD in criminology.

In 2016, postsecondary teachers earned a median salary of $75,430. It’s also important to note that these roles are projected to increase by 13% from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the national average.iii

Your Search for Online Graduate Programs in Criminology

Online graduate programs in criminology could be the next step in your criminal justice education. To start your search for a perfect program, browse the list of links on this page. Click a program link for more information. While you’re there, you could request further details from the school itself.

To further refine this list, choose your preferred degree level from the menus on this page. Good luck finding a perfect online graduate program in criminology!

[i] | [ii] | [iii]

  • Michigan State University

  • Colorado Christian University

  • Saint Joseph's University

  • University of the Southwest

  • Keiser University

  • Pennsylvania State University

  • Mercer University

  • Arizona State University

  • Missouri State University

  • Slippery Rock University

  • Ruhr-University Bochum

  • Trine University

  • Wayne State University

  • University of Central Florida

  • Florida State University