Criminology and profiling schools help you figure out why people break the law.

Learn about the criminal mind by studying criminology and profiling. In the U.S., colleges offer degree-granting criminology and criminal justice programs that they may refer to as a "school" or "college," such as the Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Criminal profiling is a combination of sociology, psychology and criminology. There aren't any criminal profiling schools in the U.S., but some colleges offer profiling degrees or concentrations within their criminology and criminal justice programs.

Criminology History

The ultimate goal that criminology schools have, according to, is to teach students how to prevent crime. The first recorded schools of thought regarding criminology occurred in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Early criminology founders were of the belief that torture was wrong, free will causes people to commit crimes and that the consequences for a crime should be harsher than the intended criminal gain. In the 1920s, individuals began to study crimes and their relation to sociology. Modern theories taught in criminology share that one should consider a criminal’s instrumental or expressive motives for the proper development of criminal justice.


A criminology school teaches students about the scientific study of crime as it relates to individuals and societies, along with the nature of crime, its causes, extent, control and prevention. They teach that that crime is a social phenomenon and give students the skills needed to draw upon the research of psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and social anthropologists to understand criminals, the roots of criminal activities and the effects of crime on a society. In criminology and criminal justice schools that offer criminal profiling as a degree or concentration, students learn how to use information like demographics or cultural norms from a sociological, not criminal, standpoint to understand an unknown offender and predict the individuals’ actions. They also learn to prevent crimes by studying and interpreting statistical information to learn which factors influence people to disobey the law.

Concentrations in Criminology

Criminology schools generally prepare students to work in the areas of law enforcement, corrections, social work or research. A law enforcement concentration teaches students to identify patterns and use statistical information to create criminal profiles. A student then learns how to work with law enforcement agencies when they need help with a case. A corrections or social work concentration prepares a student to work with criminal offenders who are in jail, on probation or parole. The student learns case management skills to help the offender be a productive member of society or to reintegrate. A student who is interested in criminology-related research, according to, usually has a graduate or post-graduate degree, performs academic research, publishes findings in peer journals and may serve as a consultant for those within the criminal justice system, like law enforcement agencies or attorneys.

Degree Types

Criminology and criminal justice schools offer undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees. Some schools have individual degrees in criminology or offer a degree that blends criminology with criminal justice. In some instances, a university may only offer a criminology program to graduate students.