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Arkansas State University

Get Into Criminology With a BGS Degree

In the past, criminology courses have only been available to traditional students — those who attend classes in brick-and-mortar college classrooms. However, a growing trend in online education is bringing these classes to nontraditional students, which the Nontraditional Student Population Network defines as “anyone who is not a first-time, full-time, straight out of high school, college student.” These programs allow students to work toward a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree online while still working full- or part-time.

Criminology Studies

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines criminologists as specialized sociologists who “apply their sociological knowledge to conduct research and analyze penal systems and populations and to study the causes and effects of crime.” Students who earn a BGS degree in criminology online study subjects such as juvenile delinquency, community corrections and serial homicide. These courses prepare students for a range of careers, from police officers to social services workers.

BGS in criminology graduates generally earn between $45,000 and $58,000 per year. Police officers and detectives make an average of $58,630, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private investigators earn around $44,570 per year, and social workers earn around $45,500. The majority of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree, but even taking only some criminology courses could give you an advantage on the job market.

Sample Courses

Criminology studies is a broad discipline encompassing many different subjects. Juvenile delinquency courses, for example, focus on crime and minors, including topics such as factors of offense. This topic explores what causes juveniles to commit crimes, from home environments to schools and communities.

Community corrections courses focus on alternatives to institutional incarceration. Probation, pretrial release, community service, halfway houses and parole are just some of the topics this subject covers.

Serial homicide courses cover offenders’ viewpoints and the reactions of victims and law-enforcement personnel.

Some courses cover police and their place in society — from methods of community engagement to common views about the police. These courses explore the often-contentious relationships between law enforcement officers and the people they protect.

Criminology is a popular field of study for those seeking a BGS degree online. Some students pursue the degree because they have credits from other colleges that transfer toward the degree. Other students are already in law enforcement and pursue the degree for professional development. Since they can continue their careers while working on the degree online, many are now choosing this option.

As students look for practical courses that can help them serve their communities, more and more accredited schools are offering courses in criminology as part of a BGS degree online.

Learn more about the A-State online BGS degree program.


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Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Sociologists Do

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Police and Detectives

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Private Detectives and Investigators

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Social Workers

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