What is Criminology?
Are you interested in crime and criminal behavior? If so, you are in good company. Countless movies and TV shows give us images of criminals, police officers, and prison yards. Nightly newscasts give us reports of murders, burglaries, and drug busts. Here at OU, criminologists study why crimes occur. While their explanations include biological and psychological causes, they emphasize social forces, like our neighborhoods and peer groups, that cause or produce criminal behavior. Criminologists also study criminal and juvenile justice systems, organized crime, political violence, terrorism, and the media's representation of crime. Through coursework and individual projects with faculty, OU Criminology students learn theories of crime and how to test those theories through actual research.
Faculty members in the program have a variety of research interests, including deviance, criminal justice, gangs, violence, and white-collar crime. Students can work with professors to conduct research and develop their own research interests within the wide realm of criminology. Students can also complete a three-credit semester-long internship that can be done in a variety of settings, including police departments and correctional institutions.
So, what's my degree?
A criminology student graduates with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. Students in the sociology department also may pursue a B.A./M.A. degree program in which they earn their Bachelor of Arts in criminology and Master of Arts (M.A.) in sociology degrees in five years. The department also offers the M.A. degree as well as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.
After completing the B.A., many sociology students continue their education by pursuing graduate-level studies at OU and other universities in the United States and abroad.
Do my interests fit?
Criminology students typically have interests in:
- Human interaction
- Understanding the criminal mind
- The criminal justice system
- Social sciences
- Understanding deviance
- Social advocacy
How can OU Criminology help me?
The B.A. degree in criminology is excellent preparation for employment in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors. Graduates of our undergraduate program work as law enforcement officials, counselors, child welfare specialists, counselors, data analysts, leaders in the nonprofit sector, statisticians for state and U.S. governments (for example, the OSBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Department of Justice more broadly), and as teachers. Criminology is a concentration within the Department of Sociology, so students also complete courses in sociology, giving them broad skills that are highly marketable and useful for many careers.
Criminology and sociology students interested in applied work can participate in internships. Our undergraduates have interned with a variety of groups and organizations, including the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Crossroads Youth and Family Services, Habitat for Humanity, and Burton Law Group, PC.
What courses will I take?
Criminology courses include:
- Introduction to Sociology
- Social Statistics
- Methods of Social Research
- Additional criminology courses chosen from a selection
How can I study abroad?
OU has numerous study abroad opportunities for students of all majors. Whether you want to take electives, lower-division courses, or major requirements, be sure to check out what education abroad opportunities are available to you through the College of International Studies.
What kind of career could I pursue?
Child protective investigator
Probation and parole officer
Physical evidence technician
How much will I make?
Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree.