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Study criminology abroad

An in-depth guide to studying criminology as an international student.

Criminology degrees abroad

Criminology is the study of crime, and looks at the causes, nature, control and prevention of criminal behaviour. A big part of most criminology programs is assessing the impact of crime on society, and how social problems and issues relate to criminality and victimization.

The emphasis on the social aspects of crime mean that studying criminology abroad will give you a unique opportunity to see how different societies and cultures approach criminal behavior.

Criminology program structure

The curriculum of a criminology program can vary depending on the country and university you study in, so it’s important to look closely at the structure content before you apply to make sure it covers what you expect.

Here are some of the topics you can expect to study during a criminology degree:

  • Introduction to criminology
  • Crime and society
  • Criminal justice
  • Controversies in criminology
  • Sociology of race and ethnicity
  • Criminological research
  • Policing
  • Criminology dissertation

Most criminology programs will be made up of core modules that you must take, and a number of optional modules that you choose, allowing you to tailor your degree to your interests.

Many criminology programs include the option to include a year abroad, which means you can increase your experience even further. An undergraduate degree in criminology will take between three and four years to complete, and a postgraduate program will be over one or two years.

Why study criminology abroad

Choosing to study criminology abroad not only means you’ll have a much wider choice of programs to choose from, but will also give you a unique perspective on the subject.

As criminology looks at criminal laws, and the relationship between crime and society, what you learn will be closely linked to the country you’re studying in. This means you’ll be able to broaden your understanding, and understand how different cultures approach issues related to crime.

Studying abroad is also a great way to meet new people, experience a new and exciting culture, improve your language skills and improve your CV. Find out more about the benefits of studying abroad here.

Where to study criminology abroad

There are a number of factors worth considering when you’re working out where to study criminology abroad:

  • Work out what type of location you want to live and study in. Think about things like the culture, lifestyle and climate; do you want to live in a city with year round sun, or would you prefer a small town environment with a laid back atmosphere?
  • Think about where you want to work after you graduate. Your criminology degree may focus on the criminal system and societal issues of the country you’re studying in, so you might find it easier to find a job here at the end of your program.
  • If you’re more concerned about the content and reputation of the program, you can base your decision on which universities are highly ranked for criminology and cover the areas that you’re interested in.

Read our guide on how to choose where to study abroad for more help on working out which destination is right for you.

Best countries to study criminology

There are criminology schools and university programs available all over the world, and some of the most popular destinations also boast the best ranked programs. Some of the best countries to study criminology include:

Best universities to study criminology

The best university to study criminology will be in a country you want to live in, and offer a program that matches your interests and career ambitions.

If you want to study a degree that includes a work placement or internship for example, make sure this is included and offered by the university program you choose.

You should also think about what the university offers outside of the classroom, including sports, societies and other social activities.

See all universities offering criminology programs

How to study criminology abroad

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Criminology study abroad programs

You can study criminology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As an undergraduate you can study a BSc or BA, depending on the university you choose. There is little difference between the two, but a BA may focus more on social subjects and the BSc could be more oriented toward forensic sciences.

As a graduate you can study a master’s degree in criminology, and after this you can choose to study for a doctorate in the form of a PhD or MPhil.

Criminology undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in criminology

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    Sociology - Criminology Emphasis - BSc Concord University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    18,186 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Sociology - Criminology Emphasis
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    Criminology and Criminal Justice (Downtown Phoenix Campus) - BSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    29,834 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about Criminology and Criminal Justice (Downtown Phoenix Campus)
  • false

    Sociology and Criminology - BA University of Birmingham, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    18,120 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Sociology and Criminology
  • false

    Criminology Law and Justice - BA University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    29,800 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about Criminology Law and Justice
  • false

    Criminology and Criminal Justice - BA University of South Carolina, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    33,928 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Criminology and Criminal Justice
See all bachelor's degrees in criminology

Pathway in criminology

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    Criminology & Psychology (Foundation) - UGP Leeds Beckett University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    10,900 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Criminology & Psychology (Foundation)
See all undergraduate pathways in criminology

Associate in criminology

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    Criminology - AA Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    21,383 CAD
    Start date
    September, January, May
    Show program overview about Criminology
  • false

    Criminology - AA Coast Mountain College, Canada

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    12,794 CAD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Criminology
See all associate degrees in criminology

Certificate in criminology

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    Criminology - Cert Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    10,720 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Criminology
  • false

    Criminology - Cert Northern Lights College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    13,179 CAD
    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Criminology
See all undergraduate certificates in criminology

Diploma in criminology

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    Criminology - UGDip Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    21,383 CAD
    Start date
    September, January, May
    Show program overview about Criminology
  • false

    Criminology - Dip North Island College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    14,815 CAD
    Start date
    January, May, July, September
    Show program overview about Criminology
  • false

    Criminology - Dip Northern Lights College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    13,179 CAD
    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Criminology
  • false

    Criminology - Dip Coast Mountain College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    12,794 CAD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Criminology
See all undergraduate diplomas in criminology

Criminology graduate programs

Master's in criminology

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    Criminology and Criminal Justice - MSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    24,318 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • false

    Justice and Criminology - by coursework - MSc RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,720 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Justice and Criminology - by coursework
  • false

    Criminology - MSc University of Stirling, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    14,300 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Criminology
  • false

    Criminology and Criminal Justice - MA Keele University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    14,750 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • false

    Criminology and Criminal Psychology - MSc University of Greenwich, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    14,000 GBP
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Criminology and Criminal Psychology
See all master's degrees in criminology

Doctorate in criminology

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    Criminology - PhD University of Nicosia, Cyprus

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    4,500 EUR
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Criminology
See all doctorates in criminology

Entry requirements to study criminology abroad

The entry requirements for every criminology program will depend on the university and country you’re applying to, however there are some standard requirements to be aware of:

  • Completion of secondary education in your home country, including IB Diploma
  • A personal statement that outlines your interest in criminology and your future plans
  • Satisfactory English language proficiency test scores
  • A bachelor’s degree, usually in criminology or a related field, to study at postgraduate level

Check the requirements for your chosen program carefully before you apply, to see what grades you’ll need. The application process will also be unique to the country, university and program you’re applying to, but you can see the general study abroad application requirements here.

Future criminology careers

A criminology degree opens up a number of career paths and opportunities. Popular careers for criminology graduates include:

  • Criminologist
  • Police officer
  • Corrections officer
  • Probation officer
  • Prison officer
  • Social worker
  • Criminal intelligence analyst
  • Forensic accountant

Some of these careers may require some additional training, or a master’s level degree. It’s worth considering what career you want after you’ve graduated to better understand the type of program you should study, and what other courses you might need to take.