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What can I do with my degree?: Criminology

With their critical thinking, analytical and communications skills, criminology graduates are attractive to employers both inside and outside the criminal justice sector

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Photo: A set of scales on top of a book on criminal law

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Employers value experience, and a range of paid and voluntary work opportunities exist, including work with offenders, criminal justice agencies and victims of crime. Social work and community education departments also offer relevant opportunities. Specific roles include prison visiting, working as a special constable, and involvement in drug treatment schemes, victim support or youth/bail hostels for young offenders.

Think about the group or the environment you are interested in working with and how you could get involved with local support groups or projects aimed at reducing the risk of offending. Narrowing down your preferences will allow you to focus on specific employers and voluntary organisations.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Major employers include central and local government, the police and prison services, the court services, security services, and other non-profit-making organisations, including the NHS, educational institutions and charities that work with young offenders or victims of crime. Opportunities also exist in the private sector, for example in private security and in law practices.

Criminology graduates also work in a range of social welfare posts, such as mental health support and drug rehabilitation, housing (as housing officers or in outreach support roles), as homelessness officers, and in refugee and victim support/counselling.

Find information on employers in healthcare, charity and voluntary work, public services and administration and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Studying criminology develops your understanding of the social and personal aspects of crime, victimisation and responses to crime and deviance, as well as developing specific skills such as:

  • generating and evaluating evidence;
  • making reasoned arguments and ethical judgments;
  • critical thinking;
  • analysing and interpreting data;
  • report writing.

If you study other subjects alongside criminology, you should consider the complementary skills they provide you with, e.g. an increased awareness of psychology or politics related to criminology topics.

Also consider your transferable skills in research, written and oral communication, IT, time management and planning, working to deadlines, and the ability to work productively both in a group and autonomously.

Further study

Most criminology graduates who go on to further study choose from a range of vocational areas including social work, education (PGCE, or PGDE in Scotland) at both primary and secondary levels, and law conversion courses.

Some students choose to progress to Masters courses, including MAs in Criminology or Criminal Justice, which will enhance subject knowledge, possibly with a view to going on to further academic research. Courses relevant to specific client groups also exist, including MSc in Alcohol and Drug Studies.

There are also many postgraduate courses where a degree in any subject is accepted for entry, offering the possibility to change career direction.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search postgraduate courses.

What do criminology graduates do?

Almost three quarters of criminology graduates are employed six months after finishing their course. Of these, around 13% go into social and welfare professions, which may include work with offenders and the probation service, and almost 11% go into caring and education roles.

Almost 15% of criminology graduates go on to further study or combine work and further study.

Graduate destinations for criminology
Destinations Percentage
Employed 73.0%
Further study 8.3%
Working and studying 6.6%
Unemployed 7.5%
Other 4.6%
Types of work entered in the UK
Retail, catering and bar work 28.2%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 15.5%
Legal, social and welfare 12.8/%
Caring and education work 10.8%
Other occupations 32.7%

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
February 2014

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