Earn Your Criminology Degree Online
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What leads to deviant behavior? How does someone go from antisocial to sociopath? Why does one person rise above adverse conditions while another adopts a life of crime? What’s behind the criminal mind?
Explore the answers to these questions and more in SNHU's Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Criminology. Studying the various types of crime, you'll dive into the science and psychology behind criminal conduct. You’ll examine the root causes and consequences of crime and violence to society while learning the structure of the law and the criminal justice system from faculty who’ve served on the front lines.
As you complete your criminology courses, you’ll develop the skills and knowledge to succeed in law enforcement, social services and related fields. And you’ll gain something just as vital – a better understanding of people.
Learn how to:
By earning your online criminology degree, you'll be well-positioned for the fastest-growing career paths in this field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports nearly 3.4 million total jobs in protective service occupations and 13% growth in demand for social and community service managers through 2028.1
Whether you’re looking to break into the field or seeking a promotion, earning your bachelor's degree in criminology opens doors in a number of areas, including:
In addition to these occupations, your online criminology degree can prepare you to pursue an advanced degree in law or sociology. Sociologists who specialize in crime (also known as criminologists) analyze penal systems and populations to study the causes and effects of crime. The BLS projects 6% growth for all legal professions and 9% growth for sociologists through 2028.1
Law enforcement positions may involve additional training and eligibility requirements. Some students also choose to gain more knowledge through an online master's in criminal justice, which offers a general track, as well as 2 career-focused concentrations – public safety administration and advanced counterterrorism & homeland security.
Earn credits for what you already know: Did you know certain work and life experience – like industry-recognized certifications, law enforcement training and math knowledge – could save you time and money at SNHU? Learn how you could get credit for work or life experience.
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution(s) toward your bachelor's degree.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
As a leader in law enforcement education, SNHU hosts the Contemporary Justice Series, which brings in national voices to connect with students on today’s most important criminal justice issues. The forum holds several online events throughout the year on topics like police misconduct, wrongful convictions and domestic violence.
SNHU also offers the Law and Disorder Club, a highly popular online student group that hosts networking and educational events like Serial Killer Month and a Cold Case Mystery Party. The club gives criminal justice students the opportunity to network with industry professionals – one of the main advantages of joining.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.2 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
Simply work with an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
A criminology degree provides an intense exploration of the criminal mind. Topics range from theories of crime and punishment to the psychological and social basis of criminal behavior. The degree also offers you a window into rehabilitation and recidivism, studies of specific types of crime, and social attitudes and policy.
Throughout the criminology courses in the online criminal justice degree program, you'll acquire the skills and knowledge you need to pursue your career goals. Our unique criminology degree online program gives you a foundation in essential criminal justice principles with courses such as:
Critical thinking and communication are crucial for success in the field. That's why this program includes courses that build to a criminal justice communication certificate – a bonus if you want to move up the ranks.
“Criminal justice programs have the direct responsibility to help ensure that future law enforcement professionals have an enhanced understanding of the human condition along with strong critical thinking skills in order to become culturally competent public servants,” said Dr. Jeff Czarnec, SNHU’s associate dean of criminal justice and social science programs.
Beyond your core criminal justice courses, you'll enhance your knowledge with this criminology specialization. The criminology degree concentration consists of 4 courses:
Laurie Nuzzo, criminal justice faculty and FBI investigative specialist, teaches Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Serial Killers. The course covers the triggers and risk factors associated with these disorders in order to preempt a possible future threat.
“Students learn communication methods for effectively interacting with people with psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorders, which gives them background for real-life experiences,” Nuzzo said.
“One student, a police officer, told me that for many years he had been dealing with a man who wound up getting arrested after every encounter," she said. "Their most recent encounter happened while he was taking this course. He realized this man had a personality disorder, so he started to think about what he learned about communication. He was able to de-escalate the situation and actually shake the man’s hand before he left.”
Courses in our bachelor of criminology degree are taught by highly regarded, accomplished faculty with years of real-world, hands-on experience. SNHU’s online faculty reflect the advanced academic qualifications and practical experience of a top-ranked, accredited university.
Bara Alkafil ’16 appreciated that many of her criminal justice classes were taught by current and retired police officers. “Whenever they discussed what happens in the real world, it made me want to learn more about law enforcement,” she said.
Alkafil, a refugee from Iraq, chose criminal justice to help people the way she and her family were helped many years ago. “It is because of people's ability to help one another and serve justice (that) I am no longer a refugee and (am) a citizen of the greatest country in the world,” she said.
Our criminal justice faculty have experience working for major law enforcement agencies, including:
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
Save time and tuition: Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment with our Pathways to Math Success assessments.
Total Credits: 120
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
You can, and there are plenty of reasons you should. Flexibility might be the biggest if you’re working in the criminal justice field full time – especially if you’re doing shift work.
Even if you’re not working full time, online education offers many benefits. That’s one of the reasons so many people opt to become an online student. Our online criminology courses follow our undergraduate schedule of six 8-week terms per year. You'll take one or two courses per term. The majority are working students.
The online criminology degree, like all of our online degrees, gives you the flexibility to create your own schedule. That’s because there’s no set time you need to be in front of your computer to participate in class. Each week, you log in when you can and complete your assignments on your schedule. Then, you simply turn them in by your weekly deadlines – typically Thursday and Sunday nights.
Shelly Villa ’19, a military spouse and mother of four girls, chose SNHU’s online criminology degree to finish what she’d started after high school. She knew that by attending school online, she could still be there for her daughters.
“I knew I didn’t have to worry about babysitters or getting to campus or finding parking or anything that comes with going to a traditional school,” she said. Villa was able to fit coursework in around her schedule, not the other way around.
She also liked the program’s diverse array of classes.
“I had never really thought about the juvenile court system before,” Villa said. “Then I took the class for the juvenile system, and I said, ‘Hey, this is something I’m actually really interested in.’”
Intrigued by his wife’s passion for the program, Sal Villa enrolled in the AS in Criminal Justice program with plans to complete his bachelor’s degree in criminology next. After nearly 15 years of active military duty, he wanted a career in law enforcement and knew a degree would give him the edge he needed.
“Having my bachelor’s degree by the time I retire from active duty will definitely put me ahead of the game,” Villa said.
With hopes of becoming a police officer, Villa felt drawn to the criminology and sociology aspects of the criminal justice system. His motivation: to study the mind and help minimize the number of criminals in society.
What’s motivating you? Whether you want to get into law enforcement, corrections, social services or go on to teach criminal justice, SNHU’s criminology degree is worth a closer look.
Whether your goal is to break into the criminal justice field or you’re looking to advance in your current role, you have lots of options.
Earning your criminology degree online at SNHU will help position you for a diverse array of career paths, including:
Many schools offer criminology programs, but only you can decide which one is best for you. You’ll need to consider whether the program fits your budget, your schedule and your career plans, among other things.
SNHU’s criminology degree is one of the most affordable in the nation. It also offers the flexibility of an online degree. Combined enrollment in our criminal justice college degrees – including associate, bachelor's and master's programs – currently tops 6,000 students. Our faculty members bring real-world experience from all aspects of law enforcement to the classroom.
Southern New Hampshire University also gives you access to online student groups like the Law and Disorder Club. The club hosts networking and educational events like Serial Killer Month, featuring trivia about serial killers, and a Cold Case Mystery Party.
Kristine Ducote, one of the founders of the club, said the networking between members and criminal justice professionals is one of the main advantages of joining the club.
“We meet different professionals in the field,” Ducote said. “You start networking (and) it can help you land a job you want (or) get your career going in the direction you want to go.”
Ducote started the club to help students get more from their programs and, ultimately, land a job in criminal justice.
“I want these students to go out and succeed, and I want them to go out and have what they need before they graduate,” she said. “It’s very important to me because we address issues that really need addressing.”
That depends partly on your career plans and partly on your ultimate education goals.
Want to use your bachelor’s in criminology to pursue a traditional path in law enforcement as a detective? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police and detectives made median annual wages of $65,170 in 2019.1
If you want your criminology degree to lead to work in the prison system as a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist, know that the BLS reported median annual wages of $54,290 in 2019.1
Is working for the public well-being what you aspire to? Social and community service managers made a median annual wage of $67,150 in 2019.1
Is victim advocacy where your passion lies? The BLS reported a median annual wages of $50,470 for social workers who help victims of crimes in 2019.1
Of course, an advanced law enforcement degree can increase your earning potential. SNHU offers the MS in Criminal Justice with 2 concentrations – counterterrorism & homeland security and public administration.
If you're not ready to take on a full graduate program, you can also strengthen your resume – and collect credits you can later apply to your master's degree – with a graduate certificate in counterterrorism or public administration certificate.
The criminology degree is versatile and meaningful. You can take it in a number of directions, from traditional law enforcement to work in the prison system or social services.
Ian Moffett, retired chief of the Miami-Dade school system, spoke to the importance of empathy in criminal justice after the death of George Floyd in May 2020. Lending his expertise on a panel hosted at SNHU, Moffett said, “Studies show that people with higher education, people who have degrees, have better problem-solving skills. They’re more empathetic.”
As a leader in the field of criminal justice, SNHU is re-imagining the skills and experiences our criminology degree students will need as they enter the workforce. Part of that effort is our Contemporary Justice Series, which brings in national voices to help students succeed as public servants.
“We have a bigger responsibility than to just deliver content,” said Dr. Jeff Czarnec, associate dean of criminal justice and social science programs. “Our biggest responsibility is to add value to the program by looking to develop culturally competent public safety people.”
Regardless of your career goals, the empathy and communication skills at the core of this program will help you achieve them.
Criminology is a great career choice, especially if you’re passionate about protecting the nation’s citizens from crime or serving the public good.
After completing his associate degree in criminal justice, Sal Villa plans to go on to earn his bachelor’s degree in criminology. Currently serving in the military, Villa hopes to become a police officer someday. He’s interested in criminology not only because he wants to study the criminal mind. His higher purpose is to help reduce criminal behavior in society.
Laurie Nuzzo, SNHU criminal justice faculty and FBI Investigative Specialist, said a degree in criminology can help lead to a more fulfilling career. She has many students who believe they’ve learned how to communicate better with people through their studies.
One of her students was a police officer who’d been dealing with a repeat offender for many years. While taking her Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Serial Killers course, he learned about personality disorders. The next time he had an encounter with this man, he had the knowledge he needed.
“He was able to de-escalate the situation and actually shake the man’s hand before he left,” Nuzzo said.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.