How do I know if I should major in criminology or criminal justice?
I know I want to go into one of those fields but I’m just not sure which one. I like criminal justice because of the impact I could have and how exciting and interesting it sounds, but I enjoy the social aspects of criminology. Which one should I do?
Eli recommends the following next steps:
I hope you can get an idea of what it is you want, and of the type of degree you need. Fill free to reach out (we have our contact information - emails at least) in this site.... Most of us are happy to help discuss what we do and why...and that's what makes this forum exciting. Best of luck to you in your endeavors.
Here are a few career options to research:
-Probation & Parole Officers
-Police Officers/Sheriff Deputy
-State Law Enforcement Agencies (Like the FBI but in your respective state. For instance in SC it would be called
SLED- State Law Enforcement Division)
-Local jails/detention centers
- Juvenile Corrections
- Local courts/municipalities
- Solicitor/Public Defender’s Offices
Natarsha recommends the following next steps:
James Constantine Frangos
James Constantine’s Answer
Choosing between majoring in criminology or criminal justice can be a significant decision for your academic and professional future. Both fields are interconnected but have distinct focuses and career paths. To make an informed decision, it is essential to understand the differences between criminology and criminal justice, as well as your personal interests and career goals.
Criminology vs. Criminal Justice
Criminology is the scientific study of crime, criminals, criminal behavior, and the criminal justice system. It delves into the causes of crime, patterns of criminal behavior, and societal responses to crime. Criminologists often analyze data, conduct research, and seek to understand why crimes occur.
On the other hand, criminal justice focuses on the system of practices and institutions designed to uphold social control, deter crime, and maintain order. It encompasses law enforcement, the legal system, corrections, and rehabilitation. Individuals in criminal justice professions work directly within these systems to prevent and respond to criminal activities.
Considerations for Choosing a Major
Interest in Understanding Crime: If you are intrigued by the root causes of crime, patterns of criminal behavior, and societal responses to crime, criminology may be the right fit for you. Criminology offers a deeper exploration of these aspects compared to criminal justice.
Desire for Practical Application: If you are more interested in working within the criminal justice system itself – such as law enforcement, courts, or corrections – then majoring in criminal justice may provide a more direct path to these careers.
Career Goals: Consider your long-term career goals. If you aspire to work as a criminologist conducting research or teaching at a university, a degree in criminology would be more suitable. On the other hand, if you aim to become a police officer, lawyer, probation officer, or corrections officer, a degree in criminal justice may be more aligned with your objectives.
Skills Development: Reflect on the skills you wish to develop during your academic journey. Criminology may emphasize research methods, data analysis, and critical thinking skills, while criminal justice programs often focus on practical skills relevant to working within the criminal justice system.
Ultimately, the decision between majoring in criminology or criminal justice depends on your interests, career aspirations, and preferred areas of study. Both fields offer rewarding opportunities to contribute to society’s understanding and management of crime. Consider exploring course offerings, speaking with professors or professionals in each field, and reflecting on your own passions and goals to make an informed choice.
Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:
American Society of Criminology: Provides valuable insights into criminology as an academic discipline and its relevance in understanding crime.
National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS): Offers resources on various topics related to criminal justice research and practice.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Provides data on careers in criminology and criminal justice fields, including job outlooks and salary information.