Best Criminology Schools: A Guide to Finding the Top Program For You

If you’re interested in criminology careers, you’ll first need to obtain a degree. While this seems simple enough, which degree to get is actually a more complicated question than in many other fields.

In this article, we will explain why a tidy list of schools is not appropriate in criminology, and how you can determine what type of program is best for you.

How to Find the Top Programs for You

1. First, you’ll need to nail down what level of degree to seek: an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate.

When you start thinking about your anticipated career, various job categories will require different levels of education. For example, a bachelor’s degree will help your chances in landing a good job in law enforcement or corrections, but becoming a criminologist or researcher will typically require an advanced degree, And in order to teach or conduct higher-level policy research, you will typically need a PhD.

Some people have a very set idea in their head when they think of criminology, but in actuality, all of these different career paths could be counted.

2. Once you have identified your desired education level, you also have several actual program types from which to choose. Programs explicitly called “Criminology” at the bachelor’s level are actually a bit more rare, and you will find more under the label of Criminal Justice. (For more information on the difference between these fields, read our article on criminology vs. criminal justice)

Below are some real-life examples of criminology and criminal justice programs, designed to give you an understanding of the wide variety of areas of investigation. These range from the associate’s to master’s level, and range from the sociological to law to forensic science. In addition, many of these programs are offered entirely online as well as at traditional physical universities.

  • Associate of Applied Science – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts – Criminology
  • Bachelor of Public Administration – Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice – Crime Scene Investigation
  • Bachelor’s – Criminal Justice – Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor’s in Social and Criminal Justice – Corrections Management
  • BS in Psychology – Substance Abuse
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Behavior Analysis Specialization
  • Master’s in Conflict Resolution & Reconciliation
  • MA in Criminology
  • MA in Forensic Psychology

Once you’ve determined what exactly you want to study and the level of education you wish to attain, you can start hunting for the best schools. According to the Criminology Rankings from US News and World Report the top rated graduate programs are as follows:

  1. University of Maryland – College Park
  2. University of Albany-SUNY
  3. University of Cincinnati

If you are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree, or are interested in another of the types of programs introduced above, you can conduct an online search to find the best schools in that area.

Hopefully this article is helpful to you in determining the best criminology schools for your interests and career goals.


  1. i will 2 be a criminology studnt.

  2. Great Kalu! Best luck with your studies.

  3. Erick otieno says:

    Im a student of criminalogy and legal studies. now I’m thinking of specialising in criminal justice. is it a good field putting in consideration of other fields in criminology study as a whole?

  4. Mpho bryce says:

    Tell me more that u hv experienced in these course Eric,i also love to be one next year but im on a gap year

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