Law Criminology

When investigating criminology as a possible career route, you might end up with as many questions as you do answers. To help with this, Dr Kimberley Marsh – Programme Team Leader of Criminology & Social Science at Arden University – recently spoke to us to address the main queries related to this field of study, helping you make an informed decision about the next steps in your education and career.

What is criminology, and how is it different from criminal justice and other related subjects?

First and foremost, criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminals. It differs from other disciplines because it provides theoretical considerations into the reasons why people commit crime and in doing so can feed into policy developments to provide preventative measures to decrease criminal behaviour.

Why do people choose to study criminology, and how does this field relate to other disciplines?

People like to understand different explanations as to why some people commit crime and why others do not commit crime. Criminology links to other social sciences, particularly sociology and psychology, as it looks at how individuals behave, and how societal and individual factors influence this.

What kind of jobs can you get with an undergraduate degree in criminology?

You can use this degree for many different roles. Students go on to work in crime prevention, the police service, probation, and the prison service, to name just a few possibilities. Career avenues such as law and psychology usually require further training with recognised accredited degrees.

Which options for further study paths are popular among criminology graduates?

If the student is interested in research, they tend to go on to study a master’s, and maybe even a PhD. Otherwise, most tend to join a graduate training scheme, which may be for the police, prison or probation services, or a wider government organisation – areas in which criminology graduates are in high demand.

What are the hottest criminology topics currently, and how do students handle them?

Discrimination within the Criminal Justice System is a topical area. This sees students researching and discussing the developments in light of the PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence) Act 1984 and the concerns related to stop-and-search rates for different ethnicities.

In which ways does data play a role in criminology?

“Both quantitative data (numbers) and qualitative data (words) play a great role in gathering empirical evidence. Each type of data collection has strengths and weaknesses; it all depends on the focus of your research. For instance, if you want a large sample, you would be likely to have quantitative data – as it is highly reliable (it is taken the same way each time via a structured data collection tool). If you wanted highly valid data, enriched with content, you would need to carry out qualitative or mixed methods with a less structured format.

Is criminology a ‘glamorous’ field? How does it differ from movie portrayals?

It isn’t quite as glamorous as movie portrayals! Understanding criminal activities is not as straight forward as made out; it is often a complex interaction of many factors.

If you think that criminology holds a future for you and your career, why not take a look at the various Law & Criminology programmes available and find the best way to fulfil your ambitions.

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