What Is a Master’s in Applied Criminology?


Key Takeaways:

  • Applied Criminology Master’s degrees focus on crime origins, prevention, and practical experience, typically taking two years.
  • Graduates can pursue diverse careers in corrections, forensics, investigation, or education, leveraging their research skills.
  • The degree offers job stability due to constant demand for crime prevention and intervention professionals.

A Master’s in Applied Criminology is a graduate-level degree that deepens the focus of and provides practical experience for students who wish to either become criminologists or move upward in that field. Criminology is the study of the character, origins, regulation, consequences, and prevention of criminal behavior. A master’s degree in this subject provides core units that cover criminology, criminal justice, and research methods. The course of study to obtain this degree should take about two years. If the price tag is a concern we also have a great article answering the question how much does a masters degree cost? It focuses on breaking down the average cost of an online masters degree which should give you a solid baseline to work from.

Coursework in Applied Criminology

A student interested in pursuing this degree does not need an undergraduate criminology degree. Psychology or sociology are also acceptable Bachelor’s degrees that prepare students to study criminology at the graduate level. Most people who wish to become criminologists usually pursue a minimum of a master’s degree in the field. The master’s level work can have different areas of focus, depending on where the student wants to concentrate. A student might choose to emphasize youth justice, conflict resolution and management, or crime prevention, among other possibilities. Research will play a large role in the coursework, as criminology by definition is the study of crime and should not be confused with criminal justice. Students will learn how to develop modes of social research for use in their future careers.

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Career Options in Applied Criminology

The purpose of any education is to lead to employment or enhance a career. Options for graduates from Applied Criminology include but are not limited to:
• Corrections
• Counseling
• Investigation
• Forensics
• Intervention
• Rehabilitation
• Profiling
• Teaching
Graduates from this program have a range of options open to them in police, probation, education, and government jobs. Investigative work alone can take the form of criminal, private, financial, medical, or retail work. Also, the research methods a student learns while completing the graduate degree can translate to a job in research and policy studies. Careers in criminology are widely available and diverse.

Candidate Qualities of an Applied Criminologist

The best reason for students to choose a field of study is that they have a passion for the industry and the work involved. A Master’s in Applied Criminology might especially appeal to those people who have a strong desire to help others. Criminologists can serve as victims’ advocates, they can help rehabilitate criminals, and they can support law enforcement in taking criminals off the streets. These pursuits, among others available to graduates, can be socially beneficial and personally fulfilling.

A Master’s degree in Applied Criminology can also lead to job stability. Crime is a constant in every society, so jobs are always available for those with the education and expertise to qualify. An advanced degree in this area leads to further security by providing opportunities for growth and expansion within the field.


A Master’s in Applied Criminology is a two-year advanced degree that can expand the career of a working criminologist or enable someone to enter the field of criminology. Students can expect to do a significant amount of research in their coursework as they focus on the emphasis of their choice. Career options are varied and the employment outlook is strong due to demand and the potential for both job satisfaction and job security.

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