What Does Someone Study to Become a Criminologist?


Quick Answer

Criminologists undertake rigorous and formal academic training, finding employment with, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree in a field of social science or behavioral studies, such as sociology and psychology. Although employers request that candidates hold at least an undergraduate degree, many search for candidates with advanced degrees in social science disciplines, too. Students pursuing a career in criminology sometimes specialize in related areas, such as criminal science.

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In mastering requisite employment skills, emerging criminologists participate in formal academic training and receive hands-on training, too. In school, they take courses in social justice, law and criminal behavior. Studies might include criminal theory, deviance, causes and consequences of crimes and the legal system. Students also learn the different types of crimes and understand what motivates criminals. Upon graduating, students often work for professional criminologists. These criminologists act as mentors, helping students learn in real-world settings. In addition to holding at least a bachelor's degree, criminologists must receive licenses in some states. Upon meeting all legal requirements, criminologists find work with various employers. They might work for state and local agencies or find employment with private firms. Criminologists work in various settings, including offices and laboratories. They sometimes visit crime scenes, too, helping put together information for criminal investigations.

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