The Student Room Group

Is Criminology a good degree?

Hi :frown:, I’m literally in my 2nd year of uni & people say it’s a useless degree even our lecturer said it isn’t really going to get you far. After it I want to go into probation but I’m actually scared because I don’t have any back up plans if I don’t get into that . I just feel like it’s not worth it & am starting to regret it only coz there’s not many options. Also other people told me to change it in the beginning but i told them it’s a good degree; I want to prove them wrong for thinking it’s bad. Is it hard to get a decent job with this degree? THANK YOU
Reply 1
what are the qualification needed? looks like a specific degree isn't one of them

i would say this is what you should be focussing on gaining:

experience of working with challenging individuals this could be time spent working in a paid or voluntary capacity with offenders or other individuals exhibiting challenging behaviours. This also include working with those whose lives are in crisis, either in or outside the criminal justice sector

https://prisonandprobationjobs.gov.uk/roles-at-hmpps/overview-of-the-pso-role/skills-you-need/
If you do it at Cambridge or Oxford yes, somewhere else, probably no.
Reply 3
maybe won't get to be a probation officer straight out of uni, but you can do with experience in similar crisis situations is what i'm saying. citizens advice, shelter, heaps of charities out there that work with people in challenging situations
Reply 4
Original post by Ilyxo
Hi :frown:, I’m literally in my 2nd year of uni & people say it’s a useless degree even our lecturer said it isn’t really going to get you far. After it I want to go into probation but I’m actually scared because I don’t have any back up plans if I don’t get into that . I just feel like it’s not worth it & am starting to regret it only coz there’s not many options. Also other people told me to change it in the beginning but i told them it’s a good degree; I want to prove them wrong for thinking it’s bad. Is it hard to get a decent job with this degree? THANK YOU

Ignore the nay-sayers. Ultimately, unless there is a specific requirement, most jobs don't care what degree you got and certainly no one cares where you went. All employers care about is what you know, what skills you have and if you are able to learn on the job. I would imagine a criminology degree gives a good incite into the world of crime, motivations and drivers which I imagine are key skills to being a good probation officer.

But regardless of whether you reach your goal, all degrees should be teaching you critical thinking, the ability to analysis ideas and concepts, problem solving, self-management, resilience and time management, all skills most employers are looking for. So in your applications make sure you provide examples of where you have used or gained these skills from your degree.

If we are to play the "Mickey mouse" degree card it is not that hard to label all degrees as Mickey Mouse degrees. Even vocational degrees are more academic than skill based where as in the real world skills trump academia tenfold. Does that make degrees worthless? Absolutely not. It is how you view your degree and utilise it to make you a better person over all.
(edited 3 months ago)
Reply 5
Original post by stinkydogpenis
If you do it at Cambridge or Oxford yes, somewhere else, probably no.

Do they offer this degree?
Original post by stinkydogpenis
If you do it at Cambridge or Oxford yes, somewhere else, probably no.

Oxford doesn't offer criminology (at least, not as an undergraduate degree).

Original post by Ilyxo
Hi :frown:, I’m literally in my 2nd year of uni & people say it’s a useless degree even our lecturer said it isn’t really going to get you far. After it I want to go into probation but I’m actually scared because I don’t have any back up plans if I don’t get into that . I just feel like it’s not worth it & am starting to regret it only coz there’s not many options. Also other people told me to change it in the beginning but i told them it’s a good degree; I want to prove them wrong for thinking it’s bad. Is it hard to get a decent job with this degree? THANK YOU

Ultimately your job prospects are going to be essentially the same as any other degree. Even STEM graduates, as research has shown that in the long run STEM and non-STEM graduates have equivalent employment outcomes based on subject.

Also bear in mind most graduate schemes don't require and certainly don't prefer any specific degree subject, and most graduates end up going into an area of work unrelated to your degree. If you do want to work in some area related to your degree though then it's not a bad thing to have :smile:
(edited 3 months ago)
Reply 7
Original post by Genesiss
what are the qualification needed? looks like a specific degree isn't one of them

i would say this is what you should be focussing on gaining:

experience of working with challenging individuals this could be time spent working in a paid or voluntary capacity with offenders or other individuals exhibiting challenging behaviours. This also include working with those whose lives are in crisis, either in or outside the criminal justice sector

https://prisonandprobationjobs.gov.uk/roles-at-hmpps/overview-of-the-pso-role/skills-you-need/


Thank you, that one is a probation service officer where they work with lower risk cases but for a probation officer you need a level 5 qualification and experience.
Reply 8
Original post by Genesiss
maybe won't get to be a probation officer straight out of uni, but you can do with experience in similar crisis situations is what i'm saying. citizens advice, shelter, heaps of charities out there that work with people in challenging situations


Thank youu , yeah I’m planning to gain a lot of experience after uni and after that I’m doing a pqip ( professional qualification in probation) where I can study and work.
Reply 9
Original post by artful_lounger

Ultimately your job prospects are going to be essentially the same as any other degree. Even STEM graduates, as research has shown that in the long run STEM and non-STEM graduates have equivalent employment outcomes based on subject.

Also bear in mind most graduate schemes don't require and certainly don't prefer any specific degree subject, and most graduates end up going into an area of work unrelated to your degree. If you do want to work in some area related to your degree though then it's not a bad thing to have :smile:


Thank youu
Reply 10
Original post by hotpud

Ignore the nay-sayers. Ultimately, unless there is a specific requirement, most jobs don't care what degree you got and certainly no one cares where you went. All employers care about is what you know, what skills you have and if you are able to learn on the job. I would imagine a criminology degree gives a good incite into the world of crime, motivations and drivers which I imagine are key skills to being a good probation officer.

But regardless of whether you reach your goal, all degrees should be teaching you critical thinking, the ability to analysis ideas and concepts, problem solving, self-management, resilience and time management, all skills most employers are looking for. So in your applications make sure you provide examples of where you have used or gained these skills from your degree.

If we are to play the "Mickey mouse" degree card it is not that hard to label all degrees as Mickey Mouse degrees. Even vocational degrees are more academic than skill based where as in the real world skills trump academia tenfold. Does that make degrees worthless? Absolutely not. It is how you view your degree and utilise it to make you a better person over all.


Thank youu this is very helpful
Original post by Ilyxo
Hi :frown:, I’m literally in my 2nd year of uni & people say it’s a useless degree even our lecturer said it isn’t really going to get you far. After it I want to go into probation but I’m actually scared because I don’t have any back up plans if I don’t get into that . I just feel like it’s not worth it & am starting to regret it only coz there’s not many options. Also other people told me to change it in the beginning but i told them it’s a good degree; I want to prove them wrong for thinking it’s bad. Is it hard to get a decent job with this degree? THANK YOU

I'm sorry to hear that you are feeling discouraged about your degree. I can understand that it can be frustrating to hear negative opinions from others, especially from your lecturer. However, I want to assure you that a criminology degree is not useless, and that there are many career options for you to consider.
According to the web search results, a criminology degree can lead to jobs in various sectors, such as law enforcement, forensic science, probation, loss prevention, and more. You can also pursue further education or research in criminology or related fields, such as psychology, sociology, or law. Criminology graduates can work in different settings, such as prisons, courtrooms, police stations, government agencies, or non-profit organizations.
Reply 12
Original post by Ilyxo
Hi :frown:, I’m literally in my 2nd year of uni & people say it’s a useless degree even our lecturer said it isn’t really going to get you far. After it I want to go into probation but I’m actually scared because I don’t have any back up plans if I don’t get into that . I just feel like it’s not worth it & am starting to regret it only coz there’s not many options. Also other people told me to change it in the beginning but i told them it’s a good degree; I want to prove them wrong for thinking it’s bad. Is it hard to get a decent job with this degree? THANK YOU

If you want to go into probation work, yes: it is a good degree to do. It is one of the recognised foundation degrees that can lead you into the probation professional practice course (PQiP), and (with some variance depending on where you're studying) it will equip you with a broad base of social scientific understanding to go forward into probation work. (This is coming from someone who has taught on criminology programmes (though not based in a criminology dept so no 'vested interest as it were!), and who used, incidentally, to work in the probation service.)

So - don't panic.

Even if you go into something other than probation work, you'll (presumably?) have a BSc; most careers don't depend on what your UG degree was so much as your performance, i.e. your classification. Other things being equal, a first or 2:1 in criminology is better than a 2:2 or 3rd in another subject. (Obviously there are exceptions: to be a doctor you have to have studied medicine; to do postgrad research in something you'll need to have a degree in that subject, etc. Don't bother applying to do a PhD in biochemistry with a criminology degree! But even if you wanted to be a lawyer, say, you could go onto a one-year conversion course as long as you've done well on your undergraduate degree.)

The lecturer who said the degree "won't get you anywhere" ought to reflect on their communication with students. I'm all for honesty with students - it's true that degrees don't automatically mean decent jobs like they maybe used to at some point, and some degrees do have a fairly narrow appeal vis a vis potential employers. But actually in the broad scheme of things if you do well on your degree it will still tend to provide long-term career and earnings benefit, even if your degree isn't related to your career, let alone if it is (a good recent article on this, albeit in the American context, which isn't that different from the UK one, is Kevin Carey's piece in The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/12/myth-unemployed-college-grad/676364/).

Besides which, of course, a degree shouldn't be just about career advancement, but about broadening the mind. And though it depends a bit on where you're studying, in many cases a criminology degree introduces you to a broad range of social scientific and humanities thought that does just this. As long as you do the reading!

Good luck!
Reply 13
Thank youu

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