Common Misconceptions About Criminology

Criminology careers are a hot topic today, and according to most predictions, they will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. But among all this increased interest, a few misconceptions about the field are being spread around. This post will help set you straight on a couple of these myths and let you know the truth.

  • One common misunderstanding is that all criminologists do is train to be cops, FBI agents and other types of law enforcement officers. While the criminal justice system is a big part of crime, it is not the main unit of focus for criminology. Criminology is a social science; that is, it employs the scientific method to explore why people become criminals and why they commit crimes. This type of research is much different from the formal processes of how criminals are caught, tried and punished, although the areas are very closely related. Criminology research, in fact, has helped reform the criminal justice system over time.
  • Others who watch shows such as Criminal Minds and CSI sometimes think that every criminologist either profiles major criminals or analyzes physical evidence at a crime scene. In reality, this type of job on the front lines of criminal investigation is relatively rare. The FBI does not actually have any jobs with the title of “Profiler,” but this task is performed by the Supervisory Special Agents at National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) in Quantico, Virginia. These positions are extremely competitive and require significant experience as a Special Agent. To be a CSI, you typically need a degree in Forensic Science, which is usually separate from criminology and will often require a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry or Biology. In contrast, many real-life criminologists work in roles more removed from the actual investigation of crimes. Some work as counselors or social workers for troubled youth or recently released prisoners. Others conduct important policy research for the government or special think-tank organizations. So while not every criminologist will be responsible for arresting the bad guy, they do all play a vital role in dealing with crime in our society.


  1. Your observation for as long as criminology is true. That is what happens in the Philippines where majority of the graduates in the field go to the law enforcement service leaving the real purpose of their careers in studying causes of crime and finding out solution for it. In fact in the law creating a board of criminology most of the job opportunity for criminologist is in law enforcement and allied services. In our country, we don’t have criminal analyst, criminal statistician, criminal scientist and the like so that crime problems in the Philippines can be threshed-out. We still have to appreciate the real purpose of this discipline so that MAINSTREAM CRIMINOLOGY may exist both in heart and in mind our criminologist.

  2. Thanks for the comment Willy. That’s interesting about the situation in the Philippines. You’re welcome for the post.

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