Is Criminology Hard? (10 Things You Can Expect)

Criminology is the study of lawbreaking or criminal behavior and crime. Knowledge and training in this field prepare you to understand criminal motives and psychology by connecting investigation and analysis to theory. 

As a criminologist student, you will study social factors, criminal behavior, and practice in institutions. If you are interested in pursuing this course, continue reading! Students can do this as a major or minor. 

Is Criminology Hard? 

A Criminology major is challenging because it requires you to know several topics. Criminology focuses on crime, from the reasons people commit crimes to prevention. Additionally, it requires knowledge of the law, the history of crime, social science theories and principles, research methods, and statistical analysis. An Associate Degree or Bachelor of Science degree is required to get started. Lastly, this course requires a lot of time and dedication from the student. 

However, a criminology degree gives you the skills to understand how institutions address the problems of crime and gang activity.

Will a criminology degree enable you to make that a reality? Let’s begin!

1. Study of Crime and Criminals

Criminology is the science of crime and deviant behavior, including its sources, prediction, and prevention.

Students specializing in criminology learn about the 

  • biological, 
  • psychological, 
  • sociological, and
  • socioeconomic factors.

Criminology minor students must take the following classes

  • introduction to criminology,
  • fundamentals to criminology.

Whereas students majoring in criminology have more detailed courses, such as,

  • statistics for criminology, 
  • policing,
  • courts and sentencing, 
  • research methods,
  • criminal justice and more. 

They may also incorporate lectures on the sociocultural elements of violence, such as

  • death sentence, 
  • transgression and socialization, and 
  • social policy research.

Additionally, to complete the degrees, students must demonstrate an understanding of the above topics. 

2. Complex Theory and Multiple Schools

Studying criminology is complex due to understanding how humanity’s socioeconomic classes influence its citizens’ conduct.

To thrive in criminology, you must participate in lectures, read the study material, and understand the principles.

To fully understand it, you must master a broad range of subjects since it is a multifaceted discipline.

Passing regular assessments and tests and submitting presentations and research projects are necessary.

3. Degree Programs

A two-year associate degree is adequate for most entry-level positions in criminal justice. On the other hand, a four-year bachelor is essential for jobs in human services or prisons. 

Additionally, it enables you to undertake criminology professions such as

  • criminal profiler
  • forensic psychologist
  • lawyer, and more. 

The best-paying occupations are often only accessible to criminology professionals with postgraduate degrees. Therefore, consider doing further studies if you find yourself passionate about criminology. 

Criminology postgrad students take a test called a comprehensive exam towards the end of their studies. Examinations are eight hours in duration.

Students must accomplish the following comprehensive examinations before they may be admitted to eligibility and begin to work on a thesis:

  • Theory in Criminology and Criminal Justice 
  • Research Methods and Statistics

Additionally, under the supervision of their primary professor, criminology research students are expected to enroll in and pass a session on thesis proposal development. 

4. Significant Cost and Commitment

In this course, the subjects covering criminal justice lectures are core elements necessary for criminology majors.

For some graduates, criminology is a very competitive discipline. However, continuing your studies after earning your undergrad in criminology may boost your chances.

On the other hand, obtaining a university degree and completing graduate school is a significant time and financial Commitment. 

Over two hundred universities in the U.S. offer criminology degrees.

The tuition and fees for the Criminology degree range from $9,774 to $29,814.

5. Criminology Classes

Criminology Classes

A curriculum for a criminology major typically consists of the following classes:

  • Criminal Justice System
  • Police and Society
  • Economics of Crime and Social Problems
  • Victimology
  • Drugs and Crime
  • Criminal Procedures and Evidence

Criminology subjects are undoubtedly more straightforward than specific STEM or healthcare degrees. 

6. Criminology Research Paper

As the last step before graduating in their fourth year, criminology students write research papers. 

The students concentrate on issues of criminality, misbehavior, and assault. Furthermore, they also look into criminal justice system operations, focusing on the authorities, judiciary, and imprisonment.

Possible thesis topics include:

  • The Illegal Conduct of Businesses
  • White-Collar Crimes
  • Social Workers’ Relationship with Prison Inmates
  • American Gun Control and Ownership

7. Don’t Enroll With Second Thoughts

Some students can undoubtedly claim that this course is challenging, particularly the training.

Because of that, they advise staying prepared for whatever criticism, vulgarity, or failures you may encounter from the beginning of classes until graduation.

On the other hand, some graduates gained helpful knowledge of the nation’s constitution and self-defense

Above all, don’t enroll in this program with second thoughts! Given the nature of the job that awaits after graduation, it is even more necessary to be in good physical and mental condition.

8. Sufficient Leisure Time

A typical university afternoon of a criminology student consists of attending many classes, laboratories, and tutorials and spending downtime at school and elsewhere.

Beyond the classes, students regularly spend a relaxing afternoon in the Sunken Garden or eat a meal outside while observing the peacocks dance.

As you can see, criminology students still have extra time to engage in personal stuff outside class hours.

9. Eye-Opening Internship

Some of the activities that criminology interns observe take place in rehabilitating convicts and integrating them back into society. 

They work to connect individuals with the appropriate resources, such as mental well-being and alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs.

Many students also had the chance to collaborate with a caseworker and witness court proceedings, home visits, and discussions with offenders.

Students mention that it was a gratifying and eye-opening experience for them. They had the means to influence the community’s safety.

10. Career Insight

Graduates may expect to land a profession as a private investigator, correctional officer, profiler, or forensic scientist.

Graduates can expect to earn up to $294,666. Currently, criminologists are among the highest-earning professionals! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Detectives and Criminal Investigators, on average, earn $90,370 annually, with top earners earning over $132,000. 

Similarly, according to BLS, Criminal Justice Teachers (post-secondary) in the field earn on average $81,370 annually, with top earners earning over $162,000. 

Furthermore, jobs in Forensics are growing by 11% annually, adding 2500 new positions each year over this decade.

To learn more, you can also see our posts on Political Science, Law, Social Science, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Business Law, and Cyber Security.


Certainly, criminology is not for everyone. But those brave enough to explore the “unorthodox” criminal justice path will surely reap the benefits of their decision years later. 

Many career opportunities await those who graduate from this field of study, whether careers in law enforcement or the judicial system.