Online Criminology Degree Programs (With Subjects And Jobs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Studying criminology can teach you social and behavioural science, along with the criminal justice and law enforcement system. Online criminology degrees educate students on investigation activities such as interrogation, on-site inspection and forensic analysis to assist the judicial system in solving crimes and bringing justice to people. Understanding what an online degree in criminology requires may inform you about the course contents and career prospects within varying industries. In this article, we discuss different criminology degrees that you can pursue online and explain some common criminology subjects, along with some common jobs after pursuing a degree in criminology.

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Online criminology degree programs

Here are two popular online criminology degree programs to which you can apply:

Bachelor of Science (BSc) in forensic science

You can apply for this 3-year course if you passed grade 12th in science and have secured at least 45%. This bachelor's degree allows a direct entry into a highly specialised department in criminology. The course teaches you about inorganic chemistry, basic forensic science, toxicology and a series of subjects related to the justice system. Since forensic scientists can perform tests for narcotics, fingerprints or even saliva samples, biological topics such as genetics and bacteria testing are also a part of the course. As the course progresses, you also study lessons on crime detection devices and computer science fundamentals.

Bachelors of Arts (BA) in criminology

Aspiring criminologists can apply for this 3-year program if they secure a minimum of 50% and have cleared their 12th grade in either arts or science. You can learn observational and psychological skills, which are in demand in criminal justice agencies. Apart from studying the fundamentals of a forensic laboratory, students develop an understanding of crime control and classification. Midway through the course, you could study police science and the everyday operations in police cases. During your final year, you may do fieldwork followed by a semester of studying victimology, the study of the mental state of crime victims.

Related: How To Become A Police Inspector

Common subjects in an online criminology degree

Here are seven common subjects students typically study when pursuing a criminology degree:


It can become easier to understand the motive of the crime by using sociological concepts to understand a criminal's actions and reasoning. This subject educates aspiring criminologists on identifying which response patterns by law enforcement officers are effective when interrogating criminals. It also designs test theories based on past criminal data and helps recommend any policy or law modifications to higher law enforcement authorities. As criminology is a sub-field of sociology, you may learn how cultural norms affect a person's personality. Scoring well in this subject can prepare you to work in the interrogation or crime intelligence department.

Social policy

Subjects like social policy teach you to interpret the purpose behind a criminal's actions and discover the cause of their wrongful motives. You may perform analyses on existing policies to catch any outdated information, whether on interview-based data or changes in statistics of various crime categories. Also, social policy assists in converting the description of a criminal act to an executable policy in the justice system. Another benefit is preparing policies that reduce the chance of specific individuals meeting and engaging in illegal activity. Since social policy focuses on public welfare, you may organise educational and awareness programs.

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Forensic science

Forensic science, also known as criminalistics, uses science to solve investigations as per legal protocols. Along with understanding the process of collecting, examining, and storing evidence, forensics elaborates on conducting scientific tests and presenting proof to decision-making authorities. As forensic science involves using chemicals, equipment and comprehensive knowledge of how a laboratory function, prior knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology can make your course easier. Such departments are primarily concerned with evaluating evidence from crime scenes to assist other criminologists in solving cases. For forensic scientists, many modern-day criminologists suggest having a strong understanding of data management as well.

Criminal psychology

Knowledge of criminal psychology is essential to identify the criminal's intention, desire, emotion and other attributes. It depicts a form of science that uses expertise in human psychology to understand a criminal's mental state and thought process. Expect to study the profiling process right from the data acquisition phase to the most applicable research methodologies. Developing proficiency in this subject enables you to consult senior crime investigators and additional law enforcement personnel. If you progress with a specialisation in criminal psychology, you might become legible to offer expert witness testimony and also perform psychotherapy.

Police administration

Police administration in criminology trains students to create case studies that explain crime events. These studies analyse the entire journey of the criminal, from the plotting to executing episodes. Creating templates of common crimes becomes simpler based on findings related to personalities, situational settings, socio-economic backgrounds and lifestyle preferences. This could increase awareness of ordinary crimes and help mitigate crime rates. In some cases, duties based on police administration may demand a comprehensive report of the case. Thus, the outcome of a case can depend on how accurately the report records all events.

Juvenile justice

As a criminologist, the subject of juvenile justice can teach you how non-adult offenders are treated after violating laws. You learn law categories that protect their future interests and present appropriate legal remedies. Whether for interrogating a non-adult or guiding them through rehabilitation after diagnosing their treatment needs, juvenile justice exists to manage the category of juvenile crimes with a youth-tailored legal framework. As a BA or BSc student in criminology, this course guides you through the structure of the juvenile justice system and the principles followed, while suggesting corrective practices.

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Online criminology courses teach you cybercrime to make you aware of cyber laws, regulations and the prescribed process to follow in case of a cyber attack. Sub-sections include lessons on network components and penetration tests to understand the technicalities of cybersecurity. As crimes in this category can vary in type, the course discusses different methods for solving identity theft, cyberstalking or spoofing related cases. Another essential topic is examining data breaches and equipping your security systems to trace the attacker. They also emphasise processes and models to evaluate past data in matters of account hacking.

Common jobs after graduating with a criminology degree

Here are some common career options you can consider after obtaining a degree in criminology:

Private detective or investigator

Such criminology experts are responsible for gathering details via on-field research, interrogations and analysing data. They follow the trails of the criminal and collect evidence to present during court hearings. Besides conducting surveillance and staying aware of any contradictory claims, private detectives might connect with the criminal's contacts to obtain more information. When working on a corporate criminal case, private investigators could collaborate with junior detectives and request comprehensive reports that present new leads. In some cases, they plant spy gadgets at strategic locations to monitor criminal activity and prevent a greater frequency of crimes.

Police officer

Police officers are on-field criminology experts who cater to the public's safety, be it for a robbery or physical violence threat. As a police officer, you could create arrest warrants, conduct raids, interview suspects and continually monitor the progress of other cases. Chances are you may locate witnesses of a crime and convince them to give a statement. As the court of law makes the final decision, you record their statement, create a case and submit a detailed report covering all your findings. Such criminology jobs may also demand working overtime when there are case deadlines and court hearings.

Crime intelligence analyst

As a crime intelligence analyst, you receive resources such as an evidence collection team, forensic testing squad or multiple detailed case reports. Your task could often be to collate all the data and discover fresh details on a case. Apart from using logic and memory to connect pieces of critical information, crime intelligence analysts find patterns in the criminal's attitude. On a technological note, they predict future actions of criminals and conduct risk assessments to stop further attacks. Typically, they have the access to law enforcement databases and intelligence networks for creating a case.

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