You have a lot to gain by getting a degree in order to better prepare you for your chosen field from developing important critical thinking skills to honing your writing skills. A lot of aspiring criminal justice professionals seize on the obvious choices, earning their bachelor's in criminal justice or getting a 4-year degree in criminology.  It may surprise you to know, then, that there are many other degree programs available that can prepare you just as well or better, and may be more in tune with your specific interests and skills. Here are the best degrees you can earn to help you land the perfect criminology career for you in no particular order. The study of criminology is the study of crime and its causes and effects.  A subset of sociology, criminology explores why crime may exists in any given environment.  Researchers look at any number of causes, including genetics, environment, race, gender and socio-economic status. Criminology research provides a great deal of useful data to help set legislative and social policies and inform communities and law enforcement agencies how to better respond to the overall problem of crime. 

Degrees for careers in criminology

The degree is best suited for careers involving research and policy development and advocacy, though many people with criminology degrees find jobs in traditional fields like law enforcement and corrections and criminology majors are most likely to find work in the public sector. In particular the functions of law enforcement and corrections, criminal justice degrees focus on the criminal justice system. Criminal justice  programs are focused primarily on the response to it as opposed to degrees in criminology which explore the cause of crime. A degree in criminal justice provides important foundational knowledge of the various components of the processes of arrest, prosecution and punishment.  It also hammers home the importance of the role of the constitution in limiting what criminal justice professionals can and cannot do under the law in the United States. All jobs related to crime and criminal justice are, at their core, about people.  What better way to get insight into how people think and behave than going right to the source through studying psychology?  A degree in psychology will better prepare you to understand and respond to the people you may be called to deal with on a daily basis and, possibly, help them work through their problems so they can break free of the cycle of crime and recidivism.  Psychology degrees also allow you to better understand people's basic needs and desires, which can come in handy when trying to figure out how to deal with difficult people. Psychology degrees are an excellent choice for aspiring police officers, correctional officers and especially probation and community control officers.  An advanced degree in psychology can get you on the path toward becoming a forensic psychologist. Sociology is the parent discipline of criminology and, as such, provides valuable information into how societies are structured and how people behave within them.