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Criminology Major

9,367 yearly degrees
#106 in popularity
$90,000 median salary

Criminology is a major that typically falls into the Social Sciences category.

There are 23 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in criminology, 181 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 50 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 14 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Criminology Degree?

Criminology runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #55 out of all the majors we track. In 2017, about 8,000 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this major. This major is dominated by women with about 56.3% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of criminology majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 3.5%
  • Black or African American: 13.4%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 24.2%
  • White: 51.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.4%
  • Other Races: 6.3%
Criminology Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in criminology. About 1.4% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending criminology majors to the U.S. are South Korea, Saudi Arabia and China.

What Will You Learn as a Criminology Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to criminology to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Criminology Majors

Criminology majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Criminology Majors

Skills for Criminology Majors

Criminology majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

Important Skills for Criminology Majors

Abilities for Criminology Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a criminology student include the following:

Important Abilities for criminology Majors

What Can You Do With a Criminology Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with criminology:

Careers Related to Criminology
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Compliance Managers



Regulatory Affairs Managers



Security Managers






Investment Fund Managers



Criminology Major Salary

Criminology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $90,000 to $116,000. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Criminology Major  ( 90000 to 116000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Criminology Major Jobs

Some careers associated with criminology require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to criminology have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Criminology
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Criminology Programs

There are 181 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in criminology, with 41 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a Criminology Major Worth It?

The median salary for a criminology grad is $90,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 132% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,027,800 after 20 years!

criminology salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
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