By Frank Bolger - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

Students on part-time Criminology courses are taught that criminology is a branch of sociology largely concerned with the scientific study of the nature, causes, and control of criminal behaviour both in the individual and in society. Criminologists examine at a broad range of crime-related topics and are dedicated to studying not only the causes of crime, but its social impact too.

The basic end goal of criminology is to determine the root causes of criminal behaviour in order to develop effective and humane means of preventing it. Criminology can generally be broken down into the Classical, Positivist and Chicago schools of thought.

The first of these, the Classical School, suggests that individuals are free to make their own choices. These choices are made with the aim of maximising pleasure (benefit) and minimising pain (cost). The Positivist School suggests that there are other influencing factors such as biology, psychology and environment, while the Chicago School posits that human behaviour is also affected by the prevailing social structure (e. g. circumstances such as poverty or lack of social mobility).

What does it involve

A part-time Introduction to Criminology course will provide students with a general overview of crime and deviance. This will include an introduction to the history of crime along with an examination of some of the key criminological theories. Participants will also look at the some of the issues relating to youth crime and will discuss of criminal justice from various perspectives.

Those looking to further their knowledge (or even establish a career) in the area may choose from among several part-time Criminology programmes at diploma level, each of which will explore the various aspects of criminal behaviour in Irish society from basic theories in criminology through to in-depth analysis of the main causes of crime and the profiles of criminals. Students will study modern-day criminal statistics and identify the particular sections of the community most likely to commit crime.

Interested parties may also choose to complement their study of criminology by opting to do a part-time Diploma in Criminology and Forensic Psychology. Here students will quickly learn the skills of criminal profiling, using numerous case studies from real-life crimes and investigations. Participants will examine various types of criminal activity from vandalism and antisocial behaviour to serious of crimes such as murder and terrorism and will learn how psychology can be used to identify offenders. Other areas covered include: forensic science and DNA, forensic investigation techniques, criminal law and the criminal courts system.

Students at this level will have the chance to benefit from the insights offered by a range of experts in the field such as crime scene investigators, barristers and clinical psychologists.

Students who are unable to commit to attending a course in person may still take a Diploma in Criminology and Forensic Science as a distance-learning option. The major benefit of distance-learning programmes is that they give students the chance to study at their own pace and at any time of the year. Classes, assignments, feedback and personalised support can all be accessed online.

Why do it

Anyone with an interest in the human sciences will no doubt be fascinated by the study of deviant behaviour and the criminal personality. However, it is not just a hugely interesting field of study; it also has plenty of practical applications to a range of participants from those working in the area of law enforcement and security to students looking to gain an insight into the theories and principles that apply to criminal justice.

What comes next

Many graduates of diploma-level Criminology programmes go on to work in An Garda S och na, welfare and social care services, forensic science laboratories, or as psychologists/counsellors. Others may decide to pursue further study either in criminology or in the related areas of law, social work, biological sciences and sociology.

At a glance

An Introduction to Criminology course will normally run for 10 12 weeks. A part-time Diploma in Criminology (or in Criminology and Forensic Science/Psychology) will typically run for approximately 12 weeks. Distance-learning diploma programmes in Criminology can generally be completed within 6 months.

Frank Bolger

Spirituality courses
Business Information Systems Courses