Those who choose to major in criminal justice are often surprised at the wide range of specializations they can choose to go along with and supplement their degree. One of the most popular and challenging of these specializations is the study of criminology. It is also one of the most rewarding and versatile.

However, many people, including current criminal justice students, are unfamiliar with what, exactly, criminology refers to and what those students who specialize in this area are likely to do for a career. This article will explain the basics of criminology and discuss some of the careers a criminal justice major with a minor or specialization in criminology might embark upon.

Criminology is defined by the dictionary as the “scientific study of the nature, extent, causes, and control of criminal behavior” as it refers to individuals and to society as a whole. In this field, students will have to study a wide range of different behavioral sciences such as sociology and psychology.

Additionally, they will conduct research in the different types of crime and their causes and outcomes, both for the criminal and society. Many people who study this very specific area may go on to pursue graduate work in a related field such as criminal psychology or even social work.

However, some people do become employed immediately upon graduation from an undergraduate institution. They actually have a very wide range of jobs to choose from, making a specialization in criminal justice one of the best ones a criminal justice major can choose.

Jobs that can be pursued directly after receiving a criminology degree include police officer; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent; state medical examiner; teacher of criminology, legal studies, law, criminal psychology, or sociology; federal or state research office; federal or state policy advisor; airport security; probation officer; parole officer; drug enforcement agent; customs professional; or private investigator. These are just a few of the job choices available to those individuals with a criminology background. Since the field of study is so wide and varied, program graduates will have a great deal of choice when it comes to picking a career.

This makes the specialization perfect for those who want to specialize in a particular area but who do not know which one to choose. Choosing criminology gives you the freedom to pick from a wide range of different career options upon graduation. Since the specialization is so broad, you will not be forced into a job that you dislike simply because you picked the wrong specialization.

This freedom is not always there with other areas of special interest that you may choose. Of course, you will want to discuss your options and personal goals with an academic advisor or career counselor, but keeping this information in mind can be helpful as you work to find the specialization area of your study.