What Does a Criminologist Do?

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A criminology degree unites a variety of disciplines, including psychology, philosophy and, yes, criminal justice – all to understand people and their behaviors. In addition to studying the mind and society, you’ll likely learn how to approach, conduct and interpret research as a criminology student, equipping you with the skills and insight for a range of careers. 

Whether you have a desire to work in law enforcement or support the community in other ways, earning a criminology degree can open the door to people-focused roles and organizations, and give you the flexibility to delve into other interests, such as human services, law and politics.

What Do Criminologists Do? 

Criminologists working with law enforcement take a hard look at offenders, identifying their situations and motives along with societal impacts, generational changes and other trends. They also tap into ethics, investigating why people commit crimes.  

Dr. Naomi EstradaPsychology, sociology and ethics and are just a few of the disciplines criminologists use daily. Dr. Naomi Estrada, a criminal justice adjunct instructor at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), said written and verbal communication, as well as research methods and data analysis, play crucial roles, too.  

At their core, criminologists are laser-focused on gathering and interpreting research and data, using both to inform their decisions with the law in mind and to make educated recommendations to city and state officials. 

Estrada, who is also a criminal intelligence analyst in El Paso, Texas, said there are two main approaches to the criminology field:

  • A reactive approach deals with events that have already transpired, working to gather details and understand what happened and why.  
  • A preventative approach uses predictive analyses to investigate crime patterns and cycles and other possible behaviors that can help identify future crimes. 

What Criminal Justice Jobs Can You Get with a Criminology Degree?  

If you pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminology, establishing or advancing your criminal justice career may feel like a natural decision. Many criminology courses explore public policy, data-based policing strategies and…