A break-in into one’s own home or a robbery in the street is a serious turning point for the victims. They often suffer from shock, fear, insecurity and nightmares afterwards. But can I even protect myself from crime? And what drives the perpetrators to commit crimes? Am I already a criminal myself because I download series on the Internet? Criminology deals with these and similar questions.
Criminology is not to be confused with criminology. This is primarily concerned with the practical investigation and prevention of criminal offenses . Rather, criminology belongs to the legal sciences and tries to research crime on a higher scientific level. Criminologists ask about the causes of criminal activity, the impact of crime on society, or the effectiveness of punitive measures. In doing so, it relies on the methods of empirical social research .
An overview of the subject of criminology
The German universities offer the subject as a basic or ancillary subject in law or social sciences courses . In the master’s area, there are some universities that offer independent courses. Some of them have different priorities, for example international criminology or police science. Some master’s programs are designed as part-time courses.
During the course, students are introduced to the basics of criminology . You will learn different theories and get to know qualitative and quantitative research methods. Depending on the course, additional modules on topics such as criminal law, forensics , psychology or sociology are on the curriculum.
According to Top-Engineering-Schools, the independent master’s programs require a bachelor’s degree in law, sociology, pedagogy , psychology, medicine or related subjects. If you want to study criminology, you have to meet certain requirements. The selection criteria are quite strict: most places are awarded to applicants with top marks in their first degree. Some universities also require prior academic work on a criminological topic.
In addition, some universities require letters of motivation and conduct aptitude tests and interviews. Stays abroad and knowledge of foreign languages are also not infrequently part of the requirements for admission . The part-time programs are primarily aimed at people with at least one year of relevant work experience, for example police officers or social workers.
Criminologists work in very different fields. The subsequent professional activity depends, among other things, on which subject the graduates studied in their bachelor’s degree and what previous professional experience they have. For example, you work in an advisory capacity for the police or in the Federal Criminal Police Office , are employed in public administration or work in courts.
By contrast, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social studies or professional experience as social workers work with children and young people from socially disadvantaged areas or with former offenders. You will find a field of activity as a supervision teacher , probation officer or school social worker. A master’s degree opens up the possibility of assuming a managerial position or starting a career in research . After completing their doctorate, graduates do research, for example, at criminological institutes or at universities.
Studying criminology abroad – advantages
The range of courses in criminology is much larger abroad than in Germany. One or more semesters abroad offer students the opportunity to deal more closely with the field of criminology during their bachelor’s degree. The specialist and foreign language skills acquired abroad facilitate admission to the master’s degree. In addition, a stay abroad during your studies is a unique opportunity to get to know another country and make international contacts.