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Best Global Universities for Criminology in 2022-2023

May 23, 2022

Best global universities to study Criminology in 2022-23

Best Universities and Programs in the World for Criminology

About Criminology

Criminology is a field of sociology that studies crime, its effects on human societies, and devises strategies to avoid future crimes. The experts in this field, called criminologists, play a major role in understanding, solving, and preventing crimes by deciphering and analyzing the mindsets of criminals.

With the growth in crime around the world, the demand for professionals in this field has increased, making it a viable career choice. The following piece of information talks about the criminology career in depth. It also briefs about the best universities for criminology in the world, including the programs they offer.

Duties of criminologists

Criminologists usually work in offices or prisons. Their duties and responsibilities revolve around crime and criminals. However, depending on the type of employment and level of experience in the industry, these responsibilities vary. Having a general understanding of their duties can help students understand whether this is a suitable career for them. The following is a list of some of the typical responsibilities of criminologists:

  • Study and analyze criminal behavior and mindset
  • Assemble facts and statistics from previous criminal offenses to estimate the frequency of crimes
  • Make efforts to reduce and prevent similar crimes from happening in the future
  • Study all type of crimes such as violent crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, property crime, and victimless crime
  • Research how environmental factors as well as how human behavior can raise or decrease crimes
  • Publish their findings in the form of articles to research journals 
  • Working with other law enforcement personnel
  • Stay abreast with advancements in the field

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Criminology

For entry into the discipline of criminology, an undergraduate degree is required. A candidate should pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminology, psychology, or perhaps law, which will teach them the fundamentals of reading criminal minds, behavior, and logic. A law degree might also help students comprehend the legal system. A master’s degree in criminology teaches students more about the theories and applications of the profession and is helpful in climbing the professional ladder. A doctorate in criminology entails extensive research on a specific topic and helps in gaining credibility and expertise in the field. Nowadays, even to enter academics, a Ph.D. degree is mandatory.

Popular bachelor’s programs in Criminology

  • Bachelor of Criminology
  • Bachelor of Sociology
  • Bachelor of Psychology
  • Bachelor of Legislative Law
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • B.A. in Criminology and Sociology
  • B.A. in Psychology with Criminology

Popular master’s programs in Criminology

  • M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • M.Sc. in Criminology and Criminal Psychology
  • M.Sc. in Cybercrime
  • M.A. in Global Criminology
  • M.S. in Advanced Research in Criminology
  • M.A. in Terrorism and Security Law
  • M.Sc. in Covert Investigation and Specialist Intelligence
  • M.A. in Criminology: Crime and Victimisation
  • M.S. in Behavioral Science

Popular doctoral programs in Criminology

  • Ph.D. in Criminology
  • Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Criminal Justice 

Specializations in Criminology

Although criminology courses are mostly theoretical, some specializations, notably those that include criminal justice, mix theory with practice. This helps in getting a better understanding of quantitative research methodologies in criminology, which are critical for studying criminal behavior in-depth, particularly when finding serial killers or serious criminals. Plus, a specialization makes it easier to attain professional growth in the criminology field. Some popular specializations to consider are

  • Criminal law
  • Penology
  • Forensic criminology
  • Psychology
  • Behavioral science
  • Global criminology
  • Criminal justice
  • Cybercrime
  • Terrorism and mass violence
  • Community crime

Duration of programs in Criminology

In the USA and Canada, a bachelor’s degree in criminology can take four years, although, in the UK, Australia, and other regions, it can take three to four years. A graduate degree in criminology might take anything from one to two years to complete. Terminal degrees, such as a Ph.D., are mostly required for research and academic positions. A full-time Ph.D. in criminology or related fields usually takes three to six years to complete.

Country Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree Doctoral Degree
USA and Canada 4 years 2 years 4-6 years
UK 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-6 years
Australia 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-6 years
Others 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-6 years

Career opportunities in Criminology

Criminology is a specialized discipline that does not attract a huge number of students. It is comparatively easy to succeed because there is less competition. As a criminologist, this makes it easier to advance, succeed, and gain expertise. Career advancement can be quick and financially rewarding. Here is a list of some exciting career opportunities for anyone interested in studying criminology. 

  • Criminal psychologist
  • Criminal lawyer
  • Private investigator/detective
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Police officer
  • Parole officer
  • Probation officer
  • Social worker
  • Youth worker
  • Paralegal
  • Solicitor
  • Legislator

Average salaries for criminologists

Although criminology is not one of the highest-paying jobs in the world, it does pay well with experience. The majority of criminology graduates work in the public sector, although private companies and investigative services also employ a large number of criminologists. The table below shows the average criminologist salaries in major countries around the world.

Country Average salary in USD*/year
Australia 67,594 (Salary Expert)
UK 56,900 (Salary Expert)
USA 56,073 (Glassdoor)
Canada 44,594 (Glassdoor)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country. 

Top 50 universities in the world for Criminology based on world rankings

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
2 7 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
5 1 2 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
8 17 18 University College London UK Click Here NA
10 10 10 University of Chicago USA Click Here Click Here
14 11 9 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
16 38 30 University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click Here
19 8 11 Columbia University USA Click Here Click Here
23 26 24 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here
25 16 13 Johns Hopkins University USA Click Here Click Here
26 22 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
27 67 44 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here
27 76 54 Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
32 5 8 University of California – Berkeley USA Click Here Click Here
35 47 35 King’s College London UK Click Here Click Here
37 33 33 University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
38 69 58 University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
40 14 20 University of California – Los Angeles USA Click Here Click Here
42 201-300 26 York University Canada Click Here Click Here
43 65 70 University of New South Wales Australia Click Here Click Here
46 42 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
47 51 54 University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here
49 151-200 27 London School of Economics and Political Science UK Click Here Click Here
58 80 57 Monash University Australia Click Here Click Here
61 101-150 78 University of Warwick UK Click Here Click Here
82 301-400 162 Durham University UK Click Here Click Here
85 19 29 University of Washington – Seattle USA Click Here Click Here
90 101-150 105 University of Birmingham UK Click Here Click Here
92 101-150 127 University of Leeds UK Click Here Click Here
95 101-150 110 University of Sheffield UK Click Here Click Here
96 101-150 119 Pennsylvania State University USA Click Here Click Here
111 101-150 88 University of Montreal Canada NA NA
126 101-150 125 University of Alberta Canada Click Here Click Here
132 301-400 122 Lancaster University UK Click Here Click Here
151 151-200 189 Cardiff University UK Click Here Click Here
158 56 93 University of Maryland–College Park USA Click Here Click Here
158 56 93 University of Maryland – College Park USA Click Here Click Here
186 40 86 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities USA Click Here Click Here
189 101-150 178 University of Liverpool UK Click Here Click Here
216 101-150 132 Arizona State University USA Click Here Click Here
230 201-300 162 University of Ottawa Canada Click Here Click Here
232 70 98 University of California–Irvine USA Click Here Click Here
236 301-400 185 University of Leicester UK Click Here Click Here
290 201-300 201-250 Griffith University Australia Click Here Click Here
298 301-400 201-250 Simon Fraser University Canada Click Here Click Here
311 101-150 167 Indiana University – Bloomington USA Click Here Click Here
330 NA 351-400 University of London UK Click Here Click Here
383 301-400 351-400 University of Kent UK Click Here Click Here
601-650 201-300 NA University of Cincinnati USA Click Here Click Here
601-650 401-500 601-800 Carleton University UK NA NA

Top universities in the USA for Criminology

According to the World Population Review, the USA has more serial killers than any other country, with California having the most. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for sociologists, which includes criminologists, is expected to expand by 4% between 2019 and 2029. According to these figures, criminology is a great career choice to study in the USA. Prospects with Ph.D., master’s, or bachelor’s degrees in criminology can easily find employment in the criminology departments of the different law enforcement agencies in the USA, such as

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • United States Department of Justice
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • The United States Drug Enforcement Administration
  • United States Department of Homeland Security
  • The United States Secret Service
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

The globally ranked universities in the USA such as Harvard University, University of Chicago, Yale University, etc., given in the table below offer a variety of bachelor’s and master’s specialization in the criminology field. 

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
5 1 2 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
10 10 10 University of Chicago USA Click Here Click Here
14 11 9 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
19 8 11 Columbia University USA Click Here Click Here
23 26 24 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here

Top universities in the UK for Criminology

There are a huge number of universities offering criminology courses in the UK. Therefore, many aspiring criminologists choose to study in the UK. The UK’s top-most universities, such as the University of Oxford, University College London, University of Cambridge, etc., offer a wide range of specializations for master’s in criminology. Some universities in the UK offer all three: doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s programs in criminology.

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
2 7 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
8 17 18 University College London UK Click Here NA
16 38 30 University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click Here
35 47 35 King’s College London UK Click Here Click Here

Top universities in Canada for Criminology

Since the demand for criminology and law enforcement experts in Canada is increasing, it is preferable to pursue master’s specializations in criminology and doctoral degrees along with a bachelor’s degree. Students interested in studying in Canada can refer to the following list of top Canadian universities that offer master’s and bachelor’s degrees in criminology.

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
26 22 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
27 67 44 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here
42 201-300 26 York University Canada Click Here Click Here
46 42 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
111 101-150 88 University of Montreal Canada NA NA

Top universities in Australia for Criminology

There is a constant demand for criminologists in the Australian public and private sectors. Therefore, Australia is also a good place to study criminology. Universities like Australian National University, University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, etc., are popular places to study for doctoral and master’s degrees in criminology. There are also a number of other universities in Australia that offer bachelor’s degrees in criminology. 

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
27 76 54 Australian National University Australia Click Here Click Here
37 33 33 University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
38 69 58 University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
43 65 70 University of New South Wales Australia Click Here Click Here
47 51 54 University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here

Academic requirements for studying Criminology

Students interested in criminology should be familiar with the principles of psychology, sociology, and the justice system of the country or region in which they wish to study. It is highly recommended that they include an internship or job experience in their motivational letter to make it more compelling. A prospective criminology student should also possess certain skills such as critical thinking, observational, analytical, and communication skills to attract admission committees. The competition for admission to top criminology universities is high, therefore students can apply through the Gyanberry website to improve their chances of admission. Following are some academic requirements to consider before applying:

Bachelor’s level

  • A high school education with a 3.0 GPA or above with concentration on subjects like sociology, psychology, and law
  • Academic transcripts
  • Valid passport
  • Personal statement 
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Letter of recommendation
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (6.0 and above)

Master’s level

  • Internationally recognized bachelor’s degree in criminology or relevant field with a GPA of at least 3.0 
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Motivational letter
  • Resume
  • Recommendation letters
  • Internship or work experience (highly recommended) 
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)

Doctoral level

  • Honors or master’s degree in criminology or a relevant field with a GPA of at least 3.0
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Statement of purpose
  • Recommendation letters
  • Resume
  • Work experience (highly recommended) 
  • Personal interview 
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)
Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, criminologists are in high demand in both public and private settings. Most universities hire criminologists to teach criminology and related disciplines including law and sociology.

Yes, criminologists are rewarded well above the average. Although it is not the highest paying profession initially, with experience and a doctorate degree, the salary grows.

The USA, UK, Canada, and Australia are some of the most popular countries to study criminology globally. 

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