What is Criminal Justice / Criminology?
Criminal Justice is the study of how society responds to criminal behavior. Students who major in Criminal Justice explore crimes, laws, and the judicial system.
The Criminal Justice major is sometimes confused with the related study of Criminology. While Criminal Justice does spend some time studying Criminology, to major in Criminology is to focus on the psychological aspects of criminal behavior. Criminology majors use the scientific method to study crime, while Criminal Justice majors learn how to deal with the criminal behavior.
Radek’s Note: Nowadays, the line between Criminal Justice and Criminology is oftentimes blurred, or as the colleges and universities would like you to perceive it: combined!
You can find yourself taking a mix of courses that are related to both degrees in Criminology and Criminal Justice, thus it would seem it’s the same degree. It’s not, they are separate, but at times they may be combined (depending on the school).
When you start researching any program, whether it’s Criminal Justice, Criminology or something entirely different, ALWAYS check out the description and course listings for EACH school. Compare the information to other schools you’re researching.
Is Criminal Justice / Criminology a Good Major / Degree for Me?
Do you enjoy working with people? Do you enjoy shows like Law & Order? Do you like to help people? Are you a strong communicator? Are you calm, cool, and collected in a crisis? Would you like to spend your days making the world a better, safer place? If you’ve answered yes to some of these questions, then a degree in Criminal Justice might just be for you!
High School Classes Needed for a Criminology or Criminal Justice Degree in College:
- 4 English Credits
- 3 Math Credits
- 3 Lab Science Credits
- 3 Social Studies Credits
- At least 2 Foreign Language Credits
- If your high school offers the following courses, take advantage!
- AP Psychology
- AP Statistics
- AP U.S. History
- If your high school offers the following co-curricular opportunities, take advantage!
- Team Sports / Athletics
- Student Government
Common Criminology and Criminal Justice Courses in College:
- Courts and Criminal Procedure
- Criminal Law
- The Corrections System
- International Law
- Introduction to Data and Information
- Juvenile Crime and Justice
- Law and Society
- Police Procedures
- Probation and Parole
- Social Theory and Analysis
Similar Degree Programs You Might Want to Explore:
- Computer Forensics (sometimes called Cyber Forensics): the study of computer evidence in relation to crime
- Criminology: the scientific study of crime
- Forensic Science: a course of study that teaches students how to use all of the sciences in relation to crime and legal questions
- Law Enforcement Administration: a course of study, with a focus on management, that prepares students for careers in law enforcement
- Legal Studies: the study of law and legal issues
- Psychology: the study of the human mind and human behavior
- Sociology: the study of societies and human social behavior
Criminal Justice Careers:
Students who graduate from a Criminal Justice degree program can go on to serve as:
- Conservation Officers
- Correction Officers
- Federal Agents
- Border Patrol Agents
- DEA Special Agents
- DHS ICE Special Agents
- FBI Special Agents
- Park Rangers
- Parole Officers
- Police Officers
- Probation Officers
- Security Officers