Professor at UCI - Department of Criminology, Law & Society

Criminology is a scientific study of crime, criminal behavior, criminals, and corrections. It studies the prevention of crimes as well as society’s response to violent crimes. It traverses the examination of evidence, psychological causes of crime, conviction and efficacy of punishment, correction, and rehabilitation.


As a degree holder of Criminology, the student becomes a criminologist. The criminologist specializes in criminology and studies social behavior.


A criminologist is also a sociologist and has to be interested in humans and their well-being.


Are you considering a career in criminology? Here’s what you should expect.


Apart from providing you with detailed knowledge about the field, a degree in criminology will introduce and enhance some skills in the student. Those skills will help the student in doing their best while at the job. Here are a few skills that a criminologist needs to have in this area of expertise.


  • Observational skills


As a student, the main skills that will be required to pursue a career in Criminology is great observation skills. The student will be required to study the nature and behavior of criminals critically. Analytical skills and sharp observational skills will help the student in getting all facts out.


  • Writing aptitude


As a criminologist, it will be necessary to take as many notes as possible while working on most cases. While taking these notes, the criminologist will must take into consideration certain factors such as the effect of crime on the society as a whole, the mindset of the offender and many other specific details related to a crime. In a lot of cases, the criminologist will have to present their research as well as their findings to law enforcement officials to assist their case. So to follow this career path, one must have good communication skills and the capability to take down clear and accurate notes.


What career options does a student have with a degree in criminology?


Once a student has completed their criminology and social ecology program, their next step will be to secure a job for themselves in that field. Students will have a lot of options for working in both private sectors as well the public sector. Let’s consider some of the available options to students after completing their Bachelor’s degree or Master’s in criminology and social ecology.


Students can consider a career in the law enforcement department


A criminology and social ecology degree will help a student in making a career for themselves in the law related departments. Currently, the most common departments available to students can be found within the law enforcement department, correction systems or courts. Students may join as a member of the police force, police dispatcher or investigator or detective. Apart from this, the degree will also make students eligible for various positions such as forensic ballistic experts, forensic science technician, and bloodstain pattern analyst within the law enforcement department.


Students can join the U.S court system


Most individuals pursue a degree in criminology and social ecology to become an attorney. If you want to help innocent people and give them justice, this may be a great opportunity to do so with a career in the U.S court system. Students can also choose from options like prosecutors, paralegals, defense attorneys, bailiff, clerk, legal secretary, jury consultant, and victim’s advocate.


Students can opt for an exciting career in the correction system


Here you will be opportune to serve as a forensic psychologist, correction officer, or community or probation control officer.


The possibilities in the field are endless and afford the student a rich and fulfilling experience.


Where to study criminology and social ecology?


Criminology, Law, and Society(CLS) is a fine school for the study of criminology and social ecology.


The characteristic, interdisciplinary undergraduate major in the Criminology, Law, and Society (CLS) pays attention to the problem of crime in the society as well as the understanding of the political, social, cultural, and economic forces that interrelate with the law. The basic courses present a simple overview of the legal systems with special emphasis on juvenile and criminal justice, types of criminal behavior, application of sociological theory in the understanding of legal systems and the law and the role of law in the comprehension of psychological and social phenomena. Ensuing course work offers a deeper understanding of all consequences and causes of crime, socio-legal theory and criminal justice policy. In addition, the substantive areas of the law, such as environmental, criminal, and family law, are taught.


Students are offered the opportunity to become conversant with the diversities of behavior that the society elects to regulate or control, the institutions and methods used to achieve the control or regulation, as well as the approaches targeted specifically at changing sanctioned behavior. This course of study offers an excellent preparation for students who want to go to law school and graduate study in criminology, sociology, criminal justice, and any other interdisciplinary and disciplinary programs. Students who have completed their University education at a baccalaureate level can pursue various careers in regulatory agencies and criminal justice as well as in public policy organizations, or in social service organizations.


The school offers field study placements as an integral part of the curriculum for students enrolled in Social Ecology. Placements of relevance to the CLS students include the ones in public defenders’ offices, police departments, probation and parole agencies, the state juvenile detention system, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Orange County Victim and Witness Assistance Program, legislative offices, juvenile shelters, and private legal firms.


Valerie Jenness