In Focus: Criminology

Posted on February 11, 2010

Sahiba Singh:

Criminology is the study of how crime is defined, why some people commit crime and what happens when they do. It is also the study of the police, the courts and penal system, as well as the prevention and deterrence of criminal behaviour.

Crime and its impact are at the forefront of current political and social debate. We only have to switch on the television or pick up a newspaper to see headlines about violent crime, anti-social behaviour, hate crime or online fraud to realise how relevant to our everyday life the study of criminology has become. A degree in criminology enables you to explore the reality behind these headlines and examine a topic which is relevant, topical and has real, practical application in contemporary society.

Radio and television have popularized the study of crime through shows such as The Shadow, Sherlock Holmes, 24, The Defenders, Perry Mason, Mr. Lucky, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, Bones, The District, CSI, CSI Miami, Numbers, and hundreds of others. Literature is filled with crime stories, True Crime magazine, and others. Crime is popular and detectives and crime stoppers, from super heroes to policeman and amateur detectives, are revered. However, there are many real life careers available in criminology.

“Students of criminology study the factors of criminality. The job of a criminologist is to conduct research, teach criminology and also explore and work out ways in which crime can be controlled,” says Meenakshi Sinha, associate professor, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science (NICFS).

Entry-level criminologists conduct data collection, report proofing, and computer work, catalogue information about the possible causes of crime and the crimes committed, compile crime statistics and propose improvements for the use of resources. Criminologists also analyze and develop crime prevention strategies. Criminologists analyze the causes of crime and how the community relates to crime. Criminologists may be involved in crime scene investigations, or attend autopsies seeking evidence and information to analyze the crime.

India has developed its education sector to match some of the best countries in the world. There are various institutes in India offering the study of criminology at different levels. There are undergraduate and post graduate programs being offered in the specific field of study by various institutes. To be eligible for a Bachelors degree in criminology the candidate must have passed his higher secondary schooling in Arts or Science. The eligibility criterion for a masters program is a graduate degree in either science or arts.

Universities providing the course

* Banaras Hindu University
* Lucknow University
* University of Madras, Chennai
* Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute Of Criminology And Forensic Science (NICFS), New Delhi

Career Paths in Criminology

* Corrections
* Counseling
* Criminal Investigation
* Diversion Programming
* Forensics
* Intervention Programming
* Law Enforcement
* Medical Investigation
* Private Investigation
* Psychologist – Psychopathology Specialist
* Retail Investigation
* Special Agencies
* Teaching


Remuneration for various state forensics departments would be as per government pay scales. The state department salaries begin around Rs. 4000.

An MA in criminology can find a job with an NGO, teach at university level or work in the corporate world. The pay will depend on the rank. Initially, one can start with a salary of Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 per month.

If you do well in this field, you may be the next Sherlock Holmes!!!

The writer is a Delhi based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts