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What Can You Do with a Criminology Masters?

What Can You Do with a Criminology Masters? main image

Criminology masters courses cover the science of crime and criminality on individual, social and natural levels, as well as the key themes, issues and political debates surrounding criminal and social justice.

Criminology masters courses incorporate several subjects, including psychology, law, history, and sociology, in order to get a broad overview of criminology’s key concepts and theories.

During their master’s program, students will develop a variety of highly transferrable skills, including analytical, research, problem solving and communication skills, which are in high demand for a wide variety of different roles.

Read on as we reveal some of the typical, and less typical, careers available with a criminology masters...

Typical careers in Criminology

What can I do with a criminology degree?

Prison officer

Prison officers are responsible for the security and supervision of prisoners, while building and maintaining strong relationships with them in order to facilitate their rehabilitation. Prison officers are required to withstand difficult and potentially dangerous situations, meaning this isn’t a job for the faint-hearted, but it can be very rewarding career, and it’s extremely fast paced and varied.

Prison officers have good decision-making skills, negotiation skills and assertiveness. They need to be able to work well in a team and be good at communicating with people from all walks of life – all skills you will have picked up from your criminology master’s degree.

Police officer

Police officers are responsible for enforcing law and order within their community, to reduce the overall level of crime. Police officers need to have exceptional communication skills to communicate effectively with members of the public, as well possessing critical thinking, problem solving and physical fitness skills – most of which you will likely have gained during your criminology degree.

Police officers will respond to calls from the public, conduct initial investigations, gather evidence, take statements and interview suspects, victims and witnesses. Daily tasks include patrolling areas of the community, conducting traffic stops for drivers breaking the law, and maintaining written crime reports and paperwork.


Detectives deal with complex investigations, including serious assaults, domestic abuse, fraud, burglary, robbery and knife and gun crime. Detectives analyze evidence, talk to witnesses and try to uncover the truth behind crimes. They also make arrests, search people and places and undertake search warrants and gathering evidence at crime scenes amongst many other tasks.

To become a detective, you will have to go through an intense training period to equip you with the specific knowledge and practices needed for the role.


As you might expect, a Criminology degree makes you perfect for a career as a Criminologist!  Criminologists analyze data to determine why a crime was committed and identify patterns in order to deter further crime. Criminologists also seek to understand criminal behavior as well as society’s reaction to crime. 

Criminologists are required to have out of the box thinking, an aptitude for mathematics, computer science and statistics, and excellent observational, research and communications skills.

Probation officer

Probation officers work with offenders during and after they are sentenced. They often work in a field team supervising offenders in the community and preparing court reports, interviewing the offenders and witnesses before sentencing and running specialist groups to change the offenders’ attitudes and behaviors.

Probation officer roles in the UK will require you complete the Graduate Diploma in Community Justice and Level 5 Diploma in Probation Practice, on top of your criminology degree. Your criminology degree will equip you with the organization, problem solving, interpersonal and communication skill needed to become a probation officer.

Forensic scientist

Forensic scientists are responsible for preparing evidence to be used in court. Tasks for a forensic scientist can vary drastically day to day, but may include attending crime scenes, analyzing fluid and tissue samples for traces of poisons and drugs, DNA profiling and blood grouping, classifying and organizing evidence. Forensic scientists may also be required to testify in court with any evidence found.

Forensic scientists need to be extremely detail-orientated, organized and have good critical thinking skills, as the job requires forensic scientists to eliminate all other possibilities before reaching conclusions. They need to approach the task of analyzing evidence in a logical and unbiased way, whilst still meeting any deadlines.

You will likely need to undertake work experience related to forensic science, before becoming a forensic scientist, as jobs can be quite competitive, and your degree alone is not likely to be enough. You will learn from on the job training.

Crime Scene investigator

Crime scene investigators are different to forensic scientists as they are responsible for examining the location of the crime and collecting the information needed to be sent off to forensic scientists for analysis, including taking photos and collecting physical evidence.

Like forensic scientists, crime scene investigators need to have a strong eye for detail, as a single missing a piece of evidence may be crucial for the investigation. They also need to have good written and verbal skills to communicate well with victims, witnesses and investigators.

Less typical Criminology careers

Alternative careers with a criminiology masters

Court reporter

It is the job of the court reporter (also known as stenographers) to transcribe the speech in the court into written form, to produce official transcripts of the court hearings. They supervise the machinery recording the court case and read through the transcripts to correct and edit any mistakes.

Court reporting requires a keen interest in law, as well as an accurate grasp of the language of the case (for example, English) in order to make sure the transcript gives an accurate report of what was said in court.

Forensic accountant

Forensic accountants investigate financial crimes, such as fraudulent activity, misconduct and financial misrepresentation. Financial accountants will also prepare forensic accounting reports and analytical data to present in court.

Forensic accountants need to have excellent numerical skills, and approach their work methodologically, with high attention to detail. You will need a strong interest in law and a willingness to pursue your accountancy exams, although this can often be paid for by a private firm and you will be able to study for your exams whilst working.

Legal roles – paralegal

For criminology students with a strong interest in criminal law, there are a variety of roles available which do not require a law degree. Paralegals carry out research, prepare legal documentation, analyze and summarize depositions, as well as carrying out any admin tasks, interviewing clients and witnesses and providing quotes to clients.

Depending on where you work, you may need additional qualifications to become a paralegal, but in general, paralegals need good verbal and written communication skills, logic and problem-solving skills, and computer and technology skills.

Social worker

Although social worker might not come to mind immediately when thinking of graduate careers with a criminology master’s degree, the skills picked up in your degree might make you an ideal candidate for  a role as a social worker, including a strong understanding of human psychology, critical thinking skills and good written and verbal communication skills.

Social workers work with vulnerable people and their families and strive to improve their lives. They assess clients’ situations to determine their goals and provide professional relationships to support and safeguard these individuals from harm. They help these clients adjust to challenging changes going on in their lives, and continually follow up with clients to ensure that their circumstances have improved.

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Written by Chloe Lane
A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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