What is the Difference Between a Degree in Criminology and a Degree in Criminal Justice?

Though both the degrees seems the same, there are a few differences between them. Read this article to know the contrasts between degree in criminology and degree in criminal justice.

Updated by TCM Staff on 30th April 2020

Criminology means the study of crime. Sociology would be the study of social, society, or social dynamics. Criminal justice and criminology, they are very different. Both degrees have an individual focus. From a non-professionals perspective, whether it is a degree in criminology or a degree in Criminal justice they are equally important. Both would be beneficial for a career in law enforcement.

Degree of Criminology versus Degree of Criminal Justice 

  • Criminology is the study of the anatomy of a crime, specifically its causes, consequences, and costs. Criminal justice, on the other hand, refers to established systems for dealing with crime, specifically detection of crime, detaining of criminals, and criminal prosecution and punishment. Criminal justice is directly associated with law enforcement.

  • Criminology is a decent degree if you’d like to be a cop or federal law enforcement officer of some sort. A ‘Criminal Justice degree’ is generally just Criminology for people too dense to understand science. It teaches you the practical application of Criminology, with none of the understanding of the causes of crime, the psychology, and sociology of crime and victimology, etc.

  • Criminologists spend most of their time studying crime trends, statistics, and why criminals do what they do (i.e. the psychological factors that affect them). Criminal justice professionals are more directed toward the orientation of law enforcement.

  • Criminology takes a more theoretical approach to crime. Whereas a Criminal Justice degree takes a more practical, useful approach. A degree in Criminology will be of benefit if you plan on teaching in Justice Studies.

Apart from being a lecturer in a college, here are a few of the many job profiles one can get with a degree of Criminology and Crime Justice.

This is not an exhaustive list, so use it accordingly.

Jobs related to Degree of Criminology

  • Crime Scene Analyst

  • Crime Intelligence Analyst

  • Crime Laboratory Analyst

  • Crime Investigators

  • F.B.I. Agent

  • Forensic Surgeon

  • Forensic Engineer

  • Private Detective

  • Consumer Advocate

Jobs related to Degree in Criminal Justice

  • Probation Officer

  • Forensic Science Technician

  • Police Officer

  • Correctional Officer

  • Private Detective

  • Fish and Game Warden

  • Security Guard

  • State Trooper

  • Crime Scene Investigator

  • Computer Forensics Investigator

The point of the degree is often to show you have the competency to complete tasks involving critical thinking, analysis, reasoning, and many other qualities. Remember that.


Degree of Criminology or the Degree of Criminal Justice? If you want either, go for it, if that is what you want to do.

Any degree is good to get. Just like being in the military helps people as well in the hiring process. It is what the degree gives you not the degree itself that is important. It is best to enjoy whatever field you get into. If you like the law then you'll be able to use those degrees and advance further. When you enjoy what you do, the money will come to you. It will be worth it.

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