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What is Criminology?

Criminology is the study of crime as well as the impact that crime has on society. Students interested in careers in criminology will study sociology, forensic pathology, and criminal law as key components of their course. 

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Law and History – the study of the interactions between law and history and how the two have shaped one another.
  • Legal Studies – the study of the practice of law.
  • Criminal Justice – the study of the delivery of justice to those who have committed crimes.

Studying Criminology in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students a great introduction to the foundational principles of Criminology including criminal law, forensics, and sociology. 

In subsequent years of study students will combine lectures, tutorials, and hands-on exercises with regular exams and presentations as benchmark assessments of their course progression. 

Most undergraduate Criminology courses run for three of four years and in certain cases universities will facilitate work experiences. 

It is common with all law-based courses that students are expected to engage in a high number of contact hours with lecturers in tutors, ensuring their successful completion of a rigorous curriculum and preparing them for careers in Criminology after university. 

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research based careers in Criminology. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start working in criminal justice in the police force, or as social workers. 

Career Options
Graduating from college with a degree in Criminology will serve you well as it equips you with a unique and marketable skill set. A legal degree teaches students to think critically as well as equipping them with invaluable problem solving and communication skills. 

Many recent graduates have gone into ‘entry-level’ careers in Criminology working as correctional officers, forensic pathologists, and as jury consultants. 

Other careers in Criminology that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training, and/or experience to qualify for, e.g. teaching, research, and consulting positions. 

Relatable Jobs Include:

  • Solicitor
  • Barrister
  • Legal Researcher
  • Police Officer
  • Private Investigator
  • Correctional Officer
  • Jury Consultant
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Forensic Pathologist
  • Detective
  • Social Worker
  • Probation Officer
  • Crime Scene Investigator

Further Study

An undergraduate Criminology degree is often the first step towards further postgraduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and areas of Criminology and/or undertaking new, sometimes, interdisciplinary fields. 

Visit for more information. 


  • What points do I need to study Criminology?
    • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule, Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.
  • Are there any particular qualities you need to study Criminology?
    • Students interested in careers in Criminology will need to be able to think critically and analytically as well as being able to communicate their own ideas and opinions in a collaborative and competitive workplace. 
  • Where can I study Criminology?
    • Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • While only 10% of the population is left-handed, 33% of criminals with multiple arrests are left-handed!
  • Early criminologists believed that the impulse to commit crime could be cured through a procedure called a lobotomy, however, this surgery often left patients in a permanent vegetative state.
  • In Europe, criminology is considered a legal study, while in South America it is more often studied as a discipline of anthropology and medicine. In North American countries like the USA, criminology courses are often taught within universities’ sociology departments. 


Ethan Moser

Business & Law
Dental Nursing


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