Why Criminology?

The Penn State Criminology Program consistently ranks in the top 10 programs in the United States. Majoring in Criminology will prepare you for a wide variety of criminal justice careers, law school or other graduate education programs.

At Penn State, we take a social science approach to the study of crime and the criminal justice system. Our curriculum conveys broad knowledge about crime, criminal justice, and social research methods.  The program promotes an understanding of crime and justice and how they are related to human behavior, social environments, and government policy.


Criminology is a broad and interdisciplinary field of study that promotes an understanding of crime and the criminal justice system and how they relate to human behavior, social environments, and government policy. Examples of topics studied in Criminology are: the causes and consequences of deviant and/or criminal behavior; the structure and functions of the criminal justice system; societal and individual reactions to crimes and criminal justice processing; the spatial and geographical elements associated with crime and poverty; and the dynamics of criminal justice policy making.

Criminology (CRIM) Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts degree provides students with a broadly based liberal education focused on the understanding and analysis of crime and justice systems. Students obtain a foundation of knowledge of the basic components of the criminal justice and legal systems as well as abilities to solve problems, think and read critically, and write effectively within the context of criminal justice and criminological research and theory.

Criminology (CRIM) Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science degree provides the opportunity to develop a stronger foundation in research methods, quantification, and the sciences. It prepares students with relevant aptitudes for pursuing further studies or finding employment where such knowledge is advantageous. Students contemplating futures in social science research, business, forensics, public service, and paralegal positions should consider this degree or some of its recommended courses.