The study of criminology differs from that of criminal justice in that criminology focuses more on aspects of the criminal justice system. Aspiring students who are looking for their bachelor’s in criminology & criminal justice will learn about the nature and causes of crime as well as the psychology of criminals, which helps to understand why criminal laws and policies are in place.
A criminology and criminal justice degree can open doors to a number of fields dedicated to the study of the cause of criminal behavior in both individuals and society. Criminology and criminal justice majors will focus on the questions revolving around why crimes are committed. Students will be required to come up with their own theories as to why crime occurs and how these events can be prevented.
Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice: Many careers in criminology now require a bachelor’s degree. Students who are pursuing this credential should focus on a certain major.
Master’s in Criminal Justice: Although most criminology careers don’t require a master’s degree, many careers for individuals with this credential do exist. Those with master’s degrees may find exclusive jobs that could offer higher salaries.
Studying criminology will necessitate interest in a wide variety of mental disciplines that help students attempt to figure out how criminals think. As Criminology is a separate part of the criminal justice degree, it embodies different areas of focus.
Sociology: This discipline is about the study of society and how to develop a body of work about human activity through the methods of critical analysis and empirical investigation.
Psychology: Psychology is the science of studying the mental processes which preclude human behavior.
Decision theory: This area focuses on the best decision to make during a certain happenstance and is normally associated with those who exhibit rational thought.
Criminal design: Also known as crime prevention through environmental design, this area relies on the attempt to stop criminal acts by studying the outside influences which may cause crime to occur.
Systems analysis: The study of how a system interacts with its component pieces is crucial for those wishing to study criminology.
Different Criminology Schools of thought
Criminology is a discipline that was created when philosophers pursued the ideas behind crime and law. The schools of thought cropped up from the mid 1800s to the present era to establish the reasons behind why crime occurs. Students of criminology would do well to find a program incorporating an agreed upon school of thought, as many will follow a political ideal as well.
Classical school: One of the original schools of thought created in the 18th century. This theory explores how a man’s free will acts upon the notions of hedonism and how to punish or deter offenders.
Lacassagne school: This school is the opposite of the Italian variance and seeks to upend the theories created by Lombroso. The founder, Alexandre Lacassagne, stressed the importance of social factors on crime.
Chicago school: Making a name for itself in the 20th century, the Chicago school of thought studies urban zones and poverty levels in crime situations.
The perspectives of how and why crime occurs will be necessary for students of criminology and criminal justice to understand. Being aware of these theories before studying can help future criminologists decide on a specific focus for their major.
Social ecology: Also called social disorganization, this theory deals with how poverty and community deterioration may contribute to levels of crime.
Subcultural theory: Incorporating ideas from both the Chicago school and strain theory, subculturalists believe that crime could be tied to Freud’s ideas about reaction formation in youth.
Areas of criminology study
A large number of interesting criminal justice careers are available for those studying the art of criminology and criminal justice. Many of these jobs will combine the degree in criminology with some other type of training but all jobs will necessitate working to figure out the criminal mind in some way, shape or form.
Forensics: Careers in forensics are for those with special areas in the sciences. Not all of these jobs relate to police work and many types of forensics specialists will incorporate another field, such as science or engineering, with their criminal justice degree.
Law enforcement: Criminologists with an interest in law enforcement can vie for a large number of jobs including working for the FBI, DEA and many other federal organizations. Those who choose to work in a smaller institution can also find positions in state or local agencies.