Online Criminology Programs 2021

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Criminology entails the study of society-based crimes’ causes, patterns, and responses. A type of sociologist, criminologists often hold an advanced degree and conduct research, teach, or work on evidence-based crime-prevention initiatives.

Bachelor’s in criminology programs often include coursework in sociology, criminal justice, history, and public policy. Graduates frequently pursue graduate degrees in fields such as sociology, public administration, community and urban planning, and social services.

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Other students enter the workforce immediately after graduation, pursuing roles like police officer, detective, and criminal investigator. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that these professionals make median annual salaries ranging from $65,000-$80,000.

This guide ranks the best online bachelor’s in criminology programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities for criminology students.

Top 10 Online Bachelor’s In Criminology Programs

Should You Consider an Online Criminology Program


  • What jobs can I do with a degree in criminology?

    A bachelor’s in criminology meets the degree requirements for roles such as prison officer, federal law enforcement investigator, and victims advocate. With additional education, criminology graduates can work as forensic scientists or psychologists.


  • Do criminologists get paid well?

    Criminology salaries vary by factors like location, employer, and experience. Criminologists who work as researchers or educators in universities or public organizations earn a median annual salary of $83,420.


  • Is criminology a BS or BA?

    Students can pursue a BS or a BA in criminology. BS programs often feature more major-related courses, while BA programs include more liberal arts and theory-focused courses.


  • Where do criminologists work?

    Criminologists may work in industries including criminal justice, education, and mental health.


Why Get a Criminology Degree?



Getting a bachelor’s in criminology can help professionals advance their careers and increase their salary potential. Enrolling in flexible, online programs often allows working professionals to keep their day jobs while pursuing their degrees. Online criminology bachelor’s degrees also sometimes feature lower tuition rates and fewer additional expenses than on-campus programs.

PayScale salary data from March 2021 indicates that BA in criminology graduates make an average salary of $61,110 annually. Graduates who go on to earn master’s or doctoral degrees may work as sociologists, who earn a median salary of $83,420 per year.

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How Much Does a Criminology Degree Cost?

College tuition prices vary by factors like school, delivery format, and location. According to a 2020 College Board report, tuition at in-state, public colleges and universities averages around $10,560 per year. The same report found that out-of-state tuition costs over double the in-state rate, while private school tuition averages more than three times as much as in-state tuition.

College prices also vary by state, with Vermont in-district college tuition costing nearly six times more than it does in California. However, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as commuting costs. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



The Affordable Colleges Online affordability calculator considers living expenses, income, financial aid prospects, and education-related expenses to help prospective students determine how much they can afford to pay for a criminology degree.

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How Much Do Criminology Majors Make?

Criminology majors can work in fields like corrections, law enforcement, and forensics. Common entry-level careers include corrections officer and police officer, jobs which often pay around $45,000-$65,000 annually.

With requisite professional experience, criminology graduates may qualify for jobs as criminal investigators or police chiefs. Median annual salaries for these professionals fall into the $87,000-$93,000 range. Earning advanced degrees can help students qualify for other high-paying careers, such as forensic psychologist, criminology professor, lawyer, and judge.

Courses in Criminology



Criminology bachelor’s programs usually require around 120 credits, including general education, major, and elective coursework. Major coursework often covers topics like psychology, data analysis, sociology, and history. Core coursework may cover research methodologies, deviance theory, and sociology of law. Core requirements may also include a senior seminar, capstone project, and/or internship.

Many programs also feature specialized courses or concentrations on topics such as women and crime, elite and organized crime, drugs and society, and social psychology.

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines several classes commonly found in bachelor’s in criminology programs.

Criminology students typically complete this foundational course early in their major-related course sequence. The class surveys crime theories, causes, and measurement techniques. Enrollees learn about various kinds of crimes and related social responses, including the criminal justice system.

The core course builds key research skills. Participants learn how to perform quantitative analysis using statistical concepts, software, and critical thinking. The class asks learners to critically evaluate research designs and interpretations of various kinds of criminology studies.

The course explores the concept of legality and its practice through laws and related institutions. Students analyze the relationships between everyday life, the law, criminals, and legal professionals. They also study how law can function as a form of domination or as an agent of progressive social change.

Certifications and Licensure for Criminology



A bachelor’s in criminology satisfies the degree requirements for many criminology-related careers, but some positions require additional training in specific skill areas. The following certificates and certifications can help criminology professionals learn and demonstrate specialized skills.

Certified Criminal Profiler Certification


The International Association of Forensic Criminologists administers this professional certification. Candidates must pass an exam that covers crime scene analysis, criminal profiling, and forensic science.

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Comprehensive Criminalistics Certification


The American Board of Criminalistics grants this certification to candidates who pass the Comprehensive Criminalist Examination (CCE) and receive an approving vote from the board. To sit for the CCE, candidates need at least two years of professional experience in criminalistics. CCC-holders maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits.

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Scholarships for Criminology



Criminology students can take advantage of scholarships to help offset the cost of their degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students pursuing an online bachelor’s in criminology.

  • Hispanic Education Endowment Fund Mike Carona Foundation Law Enforcement Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The scholarship supports Orange County Hispanic high school or community college students pursuing criminology or law enforcement-related majors. Only legal residents who qualify for financial aid and enroll in four-year colleges or universities can apply.

    Amount: Varies

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  • Out to Protect Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The scholarship supports LGBTQ+ students pursuing law enforcement careers and undergoing basic training. Eligible candidates must serve as role models in their personal and professional lives.

    Amount: $500-$1,000

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  • Association on Indian Affairs Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Alaskan and continental U.S. tribal members in full-time, degree-seeking programs at accredited schools may apply for this scholarship. Candidates must submit copies of tribal enrollment, official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.5 GPA, and an essay.

    Amount: Varies

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Online Bachelor’s In Criminology Programs 2021



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