Criminology BS
Criminology is a broad and interdisciplinary field of study that promotes an understanding of crime and the criminal justice system and how they relate to human behavior, social environments, and government policy. Examples of topics studied in criminology are: the causes and consequences of deviant and/or criminal behavior; the structure and functions of the criminal justice system; societal and individual reactions to crimes and criminal justice processing; the spatial and geographical elements associated with crime and poverty; and the dynamics of criminal justice policy making.
Degree Types: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science

Degree Options

  • BS options: Business/Public Administration
  • Computing and Statistics
  • Legal Studies
  • Social Science Research
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Political Science
  • World Languages

About the Program

You might like this program if…

  • You are interested in studying human behavior through an interdisciplinary lens.
  • You are fascinated with deviance and/or criminal behavior.
  • You would like to study the functioning of the criminal justice system.
  • You’re passionate about issues of social justice.
  • You would like to go to law school or graduate school.
  • You want to pursue a career in policing, corrections or government.


  • Criminology
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Bias, Prejudice, and Hate Crime
  • Introduction to the Law
  • Solving Social Wicked Problems

Out-of-Classroom Experiences

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General
  • Aflac
  • California Innocence Project
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
  • Various District Attorneys’ Offices
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Various Police Departments
  • Various Law Offices
Students in CAMS/HIST 199 Roman Cities at Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, Italy in June 2022

Post-Graduation Opportunities

  • Law school
  • Medical school
  • Graduate school to study criminiology, psychology, sociology, forensic psychology, public administration, public policy, biology, forensic mental health counseling, social work, paralegal, health administration, and terrorism studies
Consulting, Education, Government, Insurance/Risk Analsysis, Intelligence/Investigation, Law Enforcement, Management, Security, Service (Americorps)

Have questions about this program?

Future students, contact Chantel Harley.

Current students, contact your academic adviser

This program is housed in the Department of Sociology and Criminology
 at Penn State University Park.
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CURRENT Students
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Rock Ethics Institute research associate Yael Warshel is poised to receive a book award at the International Communication Association’s annual meeting for her pioneering work in the book “Experiencing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Children, Peace Communication, and Socialization.” Her book, a critical examination of peace communication interventions and their effects on children in conflict zones, has received international acclaim, with this being the book’s second major accolade.

Penn State University Libraries’ Open Publishing program recently launched a new Open Access monograph. “The Future of Foster Care: New Science on Old Problems,” edited by Yo Jackson and Sarah Font, is a collection of expanded conference proceedings from the 2019 conference of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, a national leader in research designed to influence public policy that better protects vulnerable children from abuse.

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Janet van Hell, a longtime Penn State faculty member in the College of the Liberal Arts’ Department of Psychology and director of the Center for Language Science, was recently promoted to distinguished professor of psychology and linguistics.

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The Penn State Consortium on Substance Use and Addiction recently hosted its fourth annual conference in the HUB-Robeson Center at the University Park campus. 

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