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Bachelor of Science in Criminology Online

Use your investigative knowledge and skills to fight crime on the frontlines or behind the scenes and create safer communities for all.

02/20/23 Next Application Due Date
03/13/23 Next Class Start Date


Learn More About Our Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology

Gain the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career combating crime in society. The 100% online Bachelor of Science in Criminology from Northwest Missouri State University prepares you with a comprehensive understanding of psychological and sociological factors that filter into the world of criminal behavior. Equally important, you will learn to inspect the social and legal influences on crime to uncover its root causes.

$299 Per Credit Hour
Up to 90 Transfer Credits
120 Credit Hours

In our online criminology bachelor’s degree program, you will take a wide-lens look into the various elements that affect crime, including psychology, sociology, statistics, political science and criminal justice. Throughout your coursework, you will expand your critical-thinking skills, learn effective methods in interacting with both criminals and victims and study the dynamics between crime and community over time. Northwest’s criminology program uniquely includes political science courses as part of the curriculum to equip you with a broad view of crime, examining root causes at both micro (individual) and macro (societal) levels.

Our experiential learning format prepares you with the relevant knowledge and skills to effectively contribute to the workforce upon graduating. The undergraduate-level curriculum goes beyond theory and encourages you, as a student, to think critically and act decisively. Plus, the profession-based learning aspect of the curriculum, influenced by the Professional Advisory Board at Northwest, allows you to apply your studies to real-life contexts. The Board, composed of industry professionals, meets annually to discuss the job market, workforce skills, gaps and needs and provides that information to Northwest faculty so they may incorporate it in their course learning outcomes.

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Northwest Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. HLC accredits degree-granting, post-secondary educational institutions in the United States. For more information, contact the Higher Learning Commission by mail at 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1411, by phone at 800-621-7440 or via email at [email protected].

Graduates of this online criminology program will:

  • Understand the definition of crime and the role that psychological and sociological factors play in criminal behavior
  • Develop and apply appropriate methods for interacting with offenders and victims
  • Discuss the implications of ethics and social justice in criminology
  • Use research and academic study to understand the development of justice reform
  • Confidently and correctly implement risk assessment tools
  • See crime through the lens of political science
  • Enhance critical-thinking skills
  • Participate in simulations and role play to better understand leader and follower dynamics

Careers in criminology:

  • Criminologist
  • Probation Officer
  • Corrections Officer
  • Loss Prevention Officer
  • Community Advocate
  • Victim's or Social Justice Advocate
  • Private Investigator
  • Forensic Scientist

Have questions or need more information about our online programs?

Also available

Northwest offers a variety of specialized online education program options. Check out our other online undergraduate programs.

Tuition and Fees

Find Out How and When to Pay Your Tuition

Our B.S. in Criminology online program offers affordable, pay-by-the-course tuition, which is the same for in-state and out-of-state students. All fees are included.

$299 Per Credit Hour

View full tuition breakdown

Program Per Credit Hour Per Course
B.S. in Criminology $299 $897*

Important Refund Information

2nd day of class Last date for 100% refund for dropped course
4th day of class Last date for 75% refund for dropped course
6th day of class Last date for 50% refund for dropped course
8th day of class Last date for 25% refund for dropped course

Required Fees:

Required fee per course: $30

*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Current amounts are based on 2020-21 tuition rates. Textbooks and laptops are not included with tuition. A one-time fee of $20.50 will be charged for remote proctoring of required Assessment of Core Proficiencies.

Northwest Missouri State University is ranked #1 among the “Best Online Colleges in Missouri” by SR Education Group (2019).


Our Application Deadlines and Class Schedules

Northwest online programs are delivered in an accelerated format ideal for working students, conveniently featuring multiple start dates each year.

02/20/23 Next Application Deadline
03/13/23 Start Classes

View full calendar

Term Program Start Date Application Deadline Document Deadline Registration Deadline Payment Due Last Class Day
Spring 1 01/11/23 12/21/22 01/03/23 01/04/23 01/06/23 03/03/23
Spring 2 03/13/23 02/20/23 02/24/23 03/07/23 03/08/23 04/28/23
Summer 1 05/09/23 04/19/23 04/25/23 05/02/23 05/04/23 06/23/23
Summer 2 06/26/23 06/05/23 06/09/23 06/16/23 06/21/23 08/11/23
Fall 1 08/21/23 08/01/23 08/07/23 08/14/23 08/16/23 10/06/23
Fall 2 10/16/23 09/26/23 10/02/23 10/09/23 10/11/23 12/01/23

Ready to take the next step toward earning your degree online from Northwest?


What You Need to Know Before Applying for Our Criminology Degree Program

At Northwest, we've streamlined the admission process to help you get started quickly and easily. Please read the requirements for the B.S. in Criminology online, including what additional materials you need and where you should send them. The requirements include:

GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
Official transcripts from all institutions attended

View all admission requirements

To apply for this program, you must meet the requirements for one of the sections listed below.

Transfer Criteria

  • Students with 24 or more transferrable credit hours:
    • A minimum 2.0 cumulative transfer GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Students with less than 24 transferrable credit hours:
    • Follow freshman admission requirements and have a minimum 2.0 cumulative transfer GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Transfer students from non-regionally accredited institutions will also be considered a freshman; credit cannot be transferred into Northwest from a non-regionally accredited institution

Returning Students (previously enrolled as degree-seeking at Northwest)

  • A minimum 2.0 cumulative transfer GPA in any coursework completed since last being at Northwest (on 4.0 scale)
  • A probation essay (if returning after being suspended or put on probation) explaining previous time at Northwest, what they've been doing since and how they plan to be successful when they return

Freshman Criteria (Adult - 24+ years old):

  • High school transcript showing graduation date or completion of GED/HiSET
  • Essay
  • ACT/SAT test scores optional; can be submitted for scholarship/placement purposes if available

Freshman Criteria (for non-adult freshmen and transfers with less than 24 transferrable hours):

  • Category I:
    • 21 or higher ACT composite (or the SAT equivalent: SAT-980 or 1060*)
    • A minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA (weighted or unweighted) or above (on 4.0 scale)

*Per 2016 SAT redesign.

  • Category II:
    • Have an admissions index score (see here) that equals or exceeds 100 points
    • A minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA (weighted or unweighted) or above (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Category III:
    • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA (weighted or unweighted) or above (on a 4.0 scale)
    • Complete high school college-preparatory curriculum
    • Students who have completed the GED or HiSET are eligible with a minimum score of 660 on the GED or a minimum score of 75 on the HiSET
    • This category is not an option for home-schooled or unaccredited high school graduates unless they have also completed the GED or HiSET

Home-Schooled Students

Applicants must have their ACT or SAT results submitted directly from ACT or College Board. A transcript listing of high school courses and grades in each course is also required for admission.

  • 21 or higher on the ACT (or SAT equivalent), OR
  • GED score of 660 or higher, OR
  • HiSET score of 75 or higher

GED Applicants/HiSET Applicants

A student may be considered for admission after receiving an equivalency certification, meeting the following criteria:

  • GED score of 660 or higher, OR
  • HiSET score of 75 or higher

Official transcripts can be emailed to [email protected]. To submit official documents by mail, send them to:

Office of Admissions
Northwest Missouri State University
800 University Drive
Maryville, MO 64468-6001

Have a question? Call us at 844-890-9304 844-890-9304.

Click here for State Authorization information.


A Look at the Online Criminology Degree Curriculum

For the B.S. in Criminology online, the curriculum is comprised of 120 credit hours, including: 44-47 credit hours of Northwest Core (general education), 4 credit hours of Institutional Requirements, 27 credit hours of Criminology Core, 36 credit hours of Elective Courses and 6-9 hours of Advisor-Approved Elective Courses.

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Students must take 44-47 credit hours of general education courses to meet the degree plan requirements.

Required prerequisite courses

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is designed to provide a greater understanding of the social world. Sociology is defined as a scientific study of human behavior in social life with an assumption that there are social forces that shape and influence patterns of behavior and ways of thinking. These include social forces such as culture, stratification, age, gender, race and ethnicity, and globalization. Several sociological perspectives serve as the point of reference by which human behavior at the micro and macro level are better understood.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This is a survey course designed to introduce students to the foundation of human and animal behavior. Students will study the content and the processes used by behavioral scientists to discover, describe, explain and predict human behavior. The course provides an environment in which students learn how to critically evaluate the biological, social/cultural and psychological variables that contribute to behavior and to reflect on those to develop an informed sense of self and others.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

Course focuses on basic concepts of decision making, central values, variability, probability and statistical inference, elementary concepts of correlation, parametric tests of significance, and regression analysis. Will satisfy The Northwest Core requirement in mathematics. Proficiency examination is available. Prerequisite: An ACT Math score of 22 or higher, high school GPA of 3.00 or higher, or a minimum grade of C in MATH 17082, or concurrent enrollment in MATH 17014.

Students are required to take University Seminar (1 credit hour) and a digital literacy course, usually Computers and Information Technology (3 credit hours). Below is the information for each course.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 1

University Seminar is designed to help students transition to college life and achieve success. Topics of exploration will include the privileges, rights, and responsibilities associated with a university education, skills necessary for success, assuming responsibility for one's own university experience, and available resources.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course serves as an introduction to computer systems. Topics include integrated office applications, hardware, software, internet, and the rights and responsibilities of computer users.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

An examination of the fundamental concepts, principles and major theoretical approaches of ethics used to determine the moral demands of human conduct with applications to ethical questions of contemporary interests. This course focuses on professional ethics.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is an introduction to the agencies, institutions and processes involved in the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts and corrections. It examines the history of these institutions and addresses contemporary social issues relevant to criminal justice in the United States. Cross-listed as POLS 34205: Introduction to Criminal Justice.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course introduces theory and research regarding the causes of criminal behavior. Concepts of crime as well as crime typologies, including violent, political and economic, are explored.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

An introduction to the scientific method as it is applied to criminological research. Course content includes a study of basic research issues and strategies used by criminological researchers. Basic issues covered include research ethics, causality, the relationship between theory and research methods, and the use of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

Examines the American judicial system as applied to individuals accused of crimes against the state.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

A comparative analysis of theories of justice and how they have been applied in the past and are currently affecting criminal justice systems. Special attention will be placed upon examination of restorative justice and use of the death penalty.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

In this course, students will explore the major and contemporary theories of crime and how they are applied to criminological research, policies, and practices. Prerequisite: CRIM 46210.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This is an introductory course probing the development of human behavior in its social context. Significant theories and methodologies in social psychology developed within the disciplines of sociology and psychology are considered, along with representative research in areas such as social perception and attribution, interpersonal attraction, aggression, altruism, role- and self-development and group processes. Prerequisites: SOC 35101 OR PSYC 08103.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

An intensive seminar in issues pertinent to the emphases within the major; intended to produce a research paper or project and class presentation of the student's choice in consultation with the instructor. Students should demonstrate knowledge and skills acquired in the degree program within the final paper/project, including appropriate methodological application and statistical analysis. Repeatable for new experiences up to 9 credit hours.

Choose 12 courses.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is an introduction to the history, concepts and realities of the punishment of crime through correctional institutions. It investigates the functions of corrections in the supervision, punishment and treatment of offenders with an emphasis on the increasing social significance and diversity of the penal system in American society. Cross-listed as SOC 35-240: Introduction to Corrections.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course explores the theories and social contexts of juvenile delinquency. It examines current trends in juvenile delinquency and considers the effectiveness of various programs and policies in response to juvenile delinquency in the United States. It is cross-listed as SOC 35-320: Delinquency.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is an introduction to police in American society. The material is organized around the development and structure of the police as an integral part of the criminal justice system. The course addresses issues such as the tension between the coercive power of the police and the expectations of freedom in American society; the ability of the police to deal with crime; the nature and effects of police subculture; issues of profiling, stereotyping and corruption; and policing strategies for improving effectiveness and community relations. Cross-listed as SOC 35-375 Police & Society.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is an examination of rule/norm-breaking behavior. It focuses on the nature and meaning of deviance and social control. This course investigates theories of deviance and types of deviance. Cross-listed as SOC 35-323: Deviant Behavior.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course explores the history and theories of victimization. It provides an in-depth examination of crime victims, the effects of victimization, experiences of victims within the criminal justice system, and victim advocacy. It is cross-listed as SOC 35-405: Victimization.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course examines American policy-making processes and problems of policy development at the national level. The focus is on the analysis of current public policies and their consequences.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

A study of the statutes, administrative rules and judicial processes that frame the criminal justice system, with a focus on the state of Missouri. The course will cover substantive criminal law, processing of the accused and the unique characteristics of juvenile proceedings.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

The course is a comparative study of the causes and outcomes of world socio-political movements and revolutions affecting governmental change and development since 1500. Emphasis is placed on roles played by elites and masses in specific actions and society's evolving place in government formation. Cases examined include English, American, French, Latin American, Russian and Chinese revolutions as well as current developments in national regimes.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is an investigation and analysis of the American federal system, including its constitutional, political and administrative characteristics. An integral portion of the course is a study of the subnational governments—state, city and county—that help to comprise the federal system.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

Focuses on the historical development of ethnicity and race in America. Emphasis will be placed on changing ethnic and racial consciousness as well as inclusion and exclusion in American society.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is an introduction to human development prior to adolescence. Emphasis is placed upon understanding the genetic and environmental contributions to behavior, physical, social, intellectual, emotional and moral development of the child. The perspective used includes research, interpersonal and institutional components. Intended for prospective elementary school teachers. Prerequisite: PSYC 08103 or PSYC 08299.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

Students in this course receive an overview of child and adolescent psychopathology. The course provides a foundation of knowledge regarding the theoretical explanations of child and adolescent behaviors, as well as the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of these behaviors. Students will gain a better understanding of mental health issues facing children and adolescents. Prerequisite: PSYC 08103 or PSYC 08299.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course is a study of the variety of styles of interpersonal relationships emphasizing self-knowledge and understanding of individuals within relationships as a basic step in relating to others in dating, courtship, engagement, marriage and daily living. It includes exploration of types of relationships, communication patterns and alternative family forms.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course provides a comprehensive survey of human developmental principles emerging during conception and continuing through to the process of death. Emphasis is placed upon the physical, intellectual, cognitive, and social-emotional growth from research, theoretical and applied viewpoints based upon empirically demonstrated psychological knowledge. Prerequisite: PSYC 08103 or PSYC 08299.

Students must take 6-9 credit hours of any advisor-approved elective course to meet the degree plan requirements.

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