Criminologists look at the reasons why people commit crimes and find ways to reduce re-offending.

Annual Salary

£23,000 - £36,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Future employment

There will be 3% more Criminologist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • researching the reasons why people commit crime
  • advising policy makers in the justice and policing systems
  • analysing data from surveys and intelligence to spot trends
  • working on crime reduction and rehabilitation programmes
  • recommending ways to improve the effectiveness of punishments
  • visiting prisons and probation services to speak to offenders and ex-offenders
  • attending conferences and presenting research findings
  • teaching students at college or university

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a graduate training scheme


You can do a degree in:

  • criminology
  • criminal justice and psychology
  • sociology
  • youth justice
  • law and criminology

You can also do a postgraduate qualification in criminology. Most degree subjects are accepted as entry but relevant work experience can also be taken into account.

You'll usually need:

  • GCSEs in English and maths at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

Other routes

You could apply for a place on the Government Social Research Fast Stream programme to work in the Civil Service.

You'll need an upper second class degree or better, in criminology or social sciences, to apply.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

£23,000 - £36,000

Starter salary: £23,000

Experienced salary: £36,000

37 hours to 40 hours a week

You could work in an office, in a prison or visit sites.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding and you may spend nights away from home

You could become a senior policy adviser on crime and crime reduction with local or national government, the police or the probation service.

You could also work as a specialist researcher in particular offences, for example online abuse, organised crime or youth offending.

With further training, you might move into social or probation work, a career in law or join the security services.

You could join the British Society of Criminology for professional development and networking opportunities.

You can find out more about working in crime and justice from GOV.UK.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture
  • excellent written communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • analytical thinking skills
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • persistence and determination
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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