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What is Criminology?

Criminology is the scientific study of the nature, extent, management, causes, control, consequences, and prevention of criminal behavior, both on the individual and social levels. Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in both the behavioral and social sciences, drawing especially upon the research of sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, biologists, social anthropologists, as well as scholars of law.

Criminologists study criminology in an attempt to understand what motivates the criminal to act in a criminal manner. These professionals examine crime from a social perspective: the causes of crime, the social impact of crime, and the criminals involved in the crime.

Criminology vs. Criminal Justice

The difference between criminology and criminal justice is that criminology focuses on the why behind the crime, while criminal justice focuses on how crime should be handled and how laws should be enforced.

Criminology studies crime as a social phenomenon. To be successful in this field, students must gain substantial knowledge in political science, forensics, psychology, law, American history, communication skills and statistics through their chosen degree program.

Accelerated Master’s Programs

The quickest way to earning a graduate degree in this discipline is to enroll in some type of accelerated or fast-track program. This reduces the completion time from the standard two years. Saving time may also save you money. Particularly, if you choose an online program where you can continue to work.

All of the following schools are non-profit public and private universities. All are regionally accredited.

Here are examples of some of the sub-twenty-four month Master’s programs.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

You can complete their Master of Arts in Criminology in one year full-time or two years part-time. They offer this degree either on campus or online. By finishing your degree in only one year, going full-time, you have all of the same academic benefits of the on-campus degree program, including campus resources and full-time faculty instruction. Graduates will have the skills for a wide range of administrative and research careers in the criminal justice system and related fields.

Western Kentucky University

Their Master of Arts in Criminology is available completely online. The program explores major correlates of crime, delinquency, and deviance, and examines societal responses to crime and delinquency. Students gain insight into correction systems, penology, criminal law, rehabilitation, and recidivism while developing strong research skills to gather and analyze criminological data.

This curriculum is comprised of 10 three-credit hour courses (total of 30 credit hours). Every course in the curriculum is taught online which provides students with the opportunity to complete assigned reading materials, to submit assignments, and to watch video recorded lectures during days and times that are convenient for their personal schedules. By completing four courses each Fall semester, three courses in the Spring semester, two courses over the summer months, and one course during the 3-week winter term in January. This should provide students with the opportunity to complete the program in one calendar year.

Texas A&M University

Their Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice in Commerce, Texas, offers a Master’s of Applied Criminology. The program is designed to meet the needs of students pursuing public service, community college teaching opportunities, research and administrative careers, as well as those students preparing for more advanced graduate work in criminology and criminal justice.

The program’s completely online curriculum consists of a total of 12 courses, each only 5 weeks in duration. This 36-hour program is a non-thesis program, which students can complete in as little as 18 months.

The fall and spring semesters are typically 16 weeks. Students register for three courses during each fall and spring semester, in five-week increments. Example: a student registers for nine credit hours/three courses-he/she completes one course, then moves to the next course one at a time.

Missouri State

The school offers an online Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology, criminal justice, or a related field. Applicants must also have maintained an overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale OR at least a 3.0 GPA for the last 60 hours of academic coursework. Additional acceptance procedures apply.

The curriculum focuses on developing your skills in decision making, policy analysis, and leadership and equip you with the tools to advance in your profession. This program can be completed in four semesters. If you take summer classes, you will be able to complete the program in 1 1/2 years.

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St. Joseph’s University

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) is an examination of the Criminal Justice system. Students will study the latest research trends and administrative strategies in the Criminal Justice system. The degree is also geared for working criminology professionals who can put the strategies into action.

Concentrations are offered in Behavior Analysis, Behavior Management, Federal Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, and Intelligence and Crime Analysis. The Behavior Analysis concentration prepares and qualifies students to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam.

Each concentration consists of four core courses and six electives. Electives may be chosen from any of our online course offerings, excluding Behavioral Analysis courses.

You can complete the 30 credit degree in as few as 18 months.

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