How long does it take to major in criminology? The short answer is a full-time student will finish a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology in four years. 

But a better first question might be: What do you like to do? Because if serving society is at the top of your list, a major in criminology may be the perfect way to spend the next four years.

About the Study of Criminology

Criminology is the study of why individuals commit crimes and was born out of the study of sociology. Where criminal justice is the study of the practical and legal systems that have to do with criminal behavior, criminology is more focused on studying offenders and why criminals act the way they do. Because of its connection with sociology, criminology is best prepared to offer interdisciplinary explanations as to why crime exists.  

One of the great parts about majoring in criminology is that it can take you places. That understanding of how and why crime occurs provides a broad base of knowledge that can be used in a variety of positions and directions.

The criminology major is the third largest major at Stonehill College with over 200 students. Students who graduate with a criminology degree can enter such areas as research, policing, probation, corrections and victim advocacy. However, many students decide to attend graduate school or law school. Students often also study psychology, business, political science, natural sciences and sociology while engaged in the study of criminology.

In short, criminology majors can work wherever criminal behavior needs to be examined, explained and mediated. You can work within law enforcement and the judicial system, but businesses also hire criminology majors to help prevent cyberattacks and investigate corporate misconduct. In addition, criminology majors can also work for community-based organizations as counselors, attorneys and advocates. The choice is yours to make.

A major in criminology is a great base, if you want to work as any of the following:

  • Criminal defense attorney
  • Criminal investigator
  • Criminal profiler
  • Criminal prosecutor
  • Criminologist
  • Correctional officer
  • Cyber crime investigator
  • Detective
  • Federal or State Special Agent
  • Fraud investigator
  • Fire inspector
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Game warden
  • Insurance investigator
  • Investigative reporter
  • Investigative analyst
  • Police officer
  • Loss prevention specialist
  • Manager of an investigations unit
  • Paralegal
  • Probation or parole officer
  • Policy analyst
  • Private investigator
  • Social worker

Skills Learned by Majoring in Criminology

As a criminology student at Stonehill, you’ll learn fundamental theories related to the psychology of crime and receive an overview of the U.S. justice system. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, you’ll gain skills in communication, leadership, critical analysis, criminological theory and administration of justice.

Criminology majors work closely with full-time faculty, composed of individuals with different professional and research backgrounds, and adjunct faculty, who are experts in their chosen fields and a great networking source for students. 

Through these faculty members, students will learn how to conduct original research and how to present their findings. In addition, students will have the opportunity to work in the field locally and with Stonehill partners in Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. 

At the end of the four years it takes to major in criminology at Stonehill, students will have been exposed to different criminological theories and will be able to use them to analyze problems, policies and programs. And because Stonehill College educates the whole person, each graduate will be prepared to think, act and lead with courage to create a more just and compassionate world.

I truly enjoy learning about every aspect of the criminal justice system. I love exploring the world of justice and hope to go to law school after my time here at Stonehill and work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Developing Leadership Skills for Criminology Majors

Criminology majors are also provided with opportunities to develop leadership skills that often serve them throughout their careers. You might find yourself mentoring younger students or networking with alumni in new situations. Such experiences equip graduates to be leaders in advancing criminology but also in another area central to Stonehill’s values: social justice. 

Research for Criminology Majors

If research is one of your interests, criminology majors who have completed their first year at Stonehill have the opportunity to perform full-time, high-quality research over the summer months under the guidance of an expert faculty researcher.  A student in the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program spends 8-10 weeks of the summer collaborating with a professor—and sometimes other students—on an original research project that fits into the faculty member’s overall research program.

The experience includes postgraduate career seminars, program-wide outings, weekly lunches, and a student poster session in the fall. SURE students generally live on campus and receive a stipend for their summer work.

Why Criminology at Stonehill? At a glance

  • Ranked No. 4 nationally and No. 1 in Massachusetts on College Factual’s list of the best U.S. colleges for a major in criminology
  • Develop critical thinking and reasoning skills
  • Conduct original research and learn how to present findings
  • Be prepared to enter into an array of positions, including private and non-profit organizations, graduate and law school as well as positions in policing, the courts and corrections
  • Build relationships with faculty mentors. Learn from professors who are actively engaged in criminology and provide top-notch advising
  • Choose from a wide-range of course offerings. Explore different facets of criminology, sociology and anthropology
  • Sharpen your skills. Hone your writing, public speaking and critical thinking skills throughout the program
  • Tailor your experience. Follow your interests and take advantage of opportunities for student-facilitated research, challenging internships and community-based learning experiences 
  • Become qualified. Graduate knowing that you are qualified to enter a variety of postgraduate opportunities

The valuable life lessons and skills I learned from the faculty at Stonehill extend beyond the classroom. I learned to think critically, work collaboratively with faculty and other students, and how to translate classroom knowledge into real-world applications.