Study the causes and effects of crime, along with the people who commit them.

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminology at St. Edward’s draws from multiple disciplines to study the causes of crimes, the effect of crime, and the impact on people and society. 

You’ll delve into...

  • Concepts of crime, criminals and underlying motivations
  • Victims, their experiences, and how they interact with the criminal justice system
  • Measurement and detection of crime
  • The relationship between law and human behavior
  • The scholarly, scientific and professional knowledge concerning the causes and prevalence of crime
  • The prevention, control and treatment of crime and delinquency
  • Phenomena like interpersonal violence, property crime, organized crime, terrorism, hate and sex crimes

Criminology is a social science, drawing from the fields of sociology, psychology, social work and political science. It is closely related to criminal justice, which is the study of the criminal justice system and all of its different parts. This field is quickly expanding, and its growing popularity means competition is intense. It's also a field that demands considerable research. Our students benefit from diverse academic perspectives, networking with local professionals, service learning opportunities, and professional conferences. 

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements: The BA in Criminology requires 51 hours of major courses, which include a combination of coursework from crime and the justice system; law, legislation and policy; and courses on specific types of crime and criminals. 

Electives: Students complete 12 hours of elective courses in any area of study they choose. These courses do not have to relate to the major.

General Education Requirements:  57 hours of general education courses are required, which students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.

View and download the full degree plan for the Criminology major (PDF).

A few examples of courses students in this major take:             

  •  Crime in America – This class is open to everyone considering a major in criminology. The course content is designed to aid students in becoming familiar with key elements in the field of criminology such as academic success, career & internship preparation, source of crime data, basics of theory, statistics, research design and a discussion of professional ethics.
  •  Crime Victims (Victimology) – This course examines an often ignored element of the crime event: The Victim(s).  Over the course of the semester, students examine the role of victims in crimes, their treatment by the criminal justice system & society, the victim experience and resources necessary to rebuild their lives. Students have the option of completing a 20 hour victim service project or completing an examination of victim-named legislation.
  • Theories of Crime Causation – This is the final in a 3 class series for the Criminology major. Students will examine emerging and conflict based theory and how it intersects with areas of gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, age, etc. thru feminist criminology, Marxist criminology, cultural criminology and more. This class is taught in a format similar to masters level I to help familiarize students with self-teaching skills, discussion, and increased reading sophistication. This experience culminates with them being the lecturer for a day thus preparing & providing a class lecture with subsequent critique by their fellow classmates.

Our Faculty and Student Support Services

The Criminology faculty are dedicated to helping students learn and grow. Faculty members are dynamic and have expertise in a variety of areas and are actively engaged in scholarly activities. They exude excellence in teaching, research, and service.

I live for the 'ah-ha' moment when my students understand the concept I am trying to convey. When you combine the understanding of theoretical concepts and how they can be used in the practitioner’s world, it is learning at its best.

– Michelle Richter, Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology

Student Support Services

Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage these resources that help them thrive and excel:

  • Academic counseling and advising
  • Supplemental instruction and tutoring
  • Career preparation and advising 
  • Writing Center consultation
  • Health and wellness counseling
  • Student disability support

Learn more about these services.

Outside the Classroom

Students majoring in Criminology can explore career paths and practical application of their studies through internships and interactions with the greater Austin community.


Explore your passions, apply information in a practical setting, and learn from experts in the field. An internship can help you boost your resume and network with professionals. Students have interned in organizations including:

  • The Austin Police Department
  • Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center
  • McCabe Center (federal convict re-entry)
  • Travis County State Jail
  • U.S. District Court
  • U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Child Support Enforcement Unit

Victim Services Project

Criminology majors have the unique opportunity to choose between a victim services historical research project or a 20-hour community service project. Research Projects can be presented at either the World History Association of Texas (WHAT) or the Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). Community service projects may be completed in organizations such as:

  • The Austin Police Department Victim Services Unit
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • Texas After the Violence
  • Texas Victim Civil Legal Services
  • Travis County District Attorney's Office

Alumni Outcomes

Our graduates have entered the field in a wide range of professional roles. 

Our graduates are working in:

  • Law enforcement, including intelligence
  • Corrections
  • Probation, including juvenile
  • Court Services
  • Legal services
  • Victim services
  • Advocacy
  • Military, especially intelligence
  • Parole
  • Immigration

Criminology is a research-based discipline, and graduates often go to law school or graduate school to get a Masters in Social Work (MSW) or a Masters in Counseling (MAC). Students interested in pursuing graduate studies are encouraged to take electives in the area they plan to study.

Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.

About the Minor

A minor in Criminology can help students expand their knowledge about crime. This program can be particularly helpful for students interested in pursuing a law degree. 

The following coursework is required for a minor in Criminology: 

Causes of Crime (select one)
  • Chemical Dependency Issues
  • Theories of Crime Causation
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Race, Class and Gender
Crime and Society
  • Crime in America
  • Criminology
Law, Legislation and Policy (select one)
  • Constitutional Criminal Procedure
  • Crime Victims (Victimology)
Specific Types of Crime and Criminals (select one)
  • Juvenile Delinquency and the Juvenile Justice System
  • Topics in Criminology
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • Serial Killers
  • Violent Sex Crimes
Upper-Division Criminology (select one)
  • Topics in Criminology
  • Internship in Criminology 
  • Or any other upper-division course with a CRIM prefix