Best Colleges In California For Criminal Psychology

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by

Criminology is a popular major, with California ranking first among states with students pursuing it. California institutions awarded 1,327 of the 9,560 Criminology certificates awarded last year. It can be challenging to find the ideal fit for you with so many options. This year’s Best Colleges for Criminology in California rating looked at four colleges and universities that provide a criminology bachelor’s degree. To establish the best 15% of universities in California for Criminology students, we looked at over 20 characteristics.

Choosing a Great Criminology School

The criminology program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

A Great Overall School

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we consider a school’s overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Above Average Earnings After Graduation

Criminology graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. A criminology bachelors degree from a school in California helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 earn $30,700 a couple years later.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus – How much a school focuses on Criminology students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity – How many other criminology students choose this school.
  • Accreditation – Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized criminology related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Criminology students in California.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When choosing the right school for you, it’s important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we’ve created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Criminology Schools list to help you make the college decision.

In addition to College Factual’s rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat, our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. When you have some time, check it out – you may want to bookmark the link so you don’t forget it.

Best Schools to Study Criminology in California

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for criminology majors.

Best Criminology Colleges California


University of California – Irvine


It’s hard to beat University of California – Irvine if you wish to study criminology. UC Irvine is a very large public university located in the city of Irvine.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Irvine also offers 2 different higher degree levels in criminology, the most popular of which is a Master’s Degree. Soon after graduation, criminology students usually earn about $29,700 at the beginning of their careers.


University of La Verne


Every student pursuing a degree in criminology has to check out University of La Verne. ULV is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of La Verne.

Students who complete this program report average early career income of $27,500.More…Request Information

CSUSM crest


California State University – San Marcos


It is difficult to beat California State University – San Marcos if you want to pursue criminology as a major. CSUSM is a large public university located in the suburb of San Marcos.

California State University – San Marcos criminology majors make $2,400 more than the standard criminology grad.


California State University – Fresno


It is difficult to beat California State University – Fresno if you wish to study criminology. Fresno State is a very large public university located in the large city of Fresno.

In addition to its bachelor’s programs, Fresno State offers a Master’s Degrees in criminology. Grads of the criminology program state that they receive average early career income of $27,700.

Best Criminology Colleges in the Far Western US Region

Explore all the Best Criminology Schools in the Far Western US Area or other specific states within that region.

StateCollegesDegrees Awarded

More Criminology Rankings in California

Best Value Colleges
CRIMINOLOGYMost Focused Colleges
CRIMINOLOGYMost Popular Online Schools
CRIMINOLOGYBest for Veterans
CRIMINOLOGYHighest Paid Graduates
CRIMINOLOGYMost Popular Colleges
CRIMINOLOGYBest for Non-Traditional Students

One of 13 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Criminology has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
General Social Sciences9,772
Political Science & Government7,526

Best Criminal Psychology Degrees

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If you want a degree that will make sure you never have a boring day at work, you should consider getting a degree in criminal psychology.

From federal to local agencies, the private sector to public service, there is no shortage of organizations seeking qualified individuals with degrees in criminal psychology. This kind of degree will help you understand exactly how the mind of a criminal works – as well as the legal systems in place to prevent and address crime of all kinds.

You might work in law enforcement, corrections, legal services, or even forensic science. While a bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology is all you usually need to pursue one of these high-profile careers, there are so many options out there that figuring out the right choice for you can be nothing short of overwhelming.

Your undergraduate degree should directly reflect your career goals – if you want to work specifically in law enforcement, you should look for a hands-on degree that offers plenty of fieldwork. If, however, you are more interested in the reasons why people commit crimes, a degree with a psychology emphasis might be a better choice.

Whichever way you decide to go, you should know that all of these programs will provide you with the foundations in criminal psychology that you will need to be successful.

What kind of criminal psychology degree should you get?

A degree in criminal psychology will prepare you to work in a wide range of fields, from private investigation to law to forensic science. However, because these fields are varied, you will want to make sure the degree you choose has ample coursework in your chosen career of interest.

In addition, a bachelor’s degree should be flexible enough to fit into your current life commitments. If you’re already working, either part- or full-time, you want to find a degree that will not only be of high academic quality but will also be convenient. It should also be affordable!

Our list of the best schools for criminal psychology includes both on-campus and online degrees. This interesting mix should help you make it possible for you to pursue a degree no matter where you are.

Our list of degrees includes schools that offer both quality and affordability. If you’re not sure whether a degree in criminal psychology will be the right one to help students meet their goals, be sure to take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities for a more in-depth look at all of the programs that are available to you in the digital world.

The Top 5 Criminal Psychology Degrees

1Florida Institute Of TechnologyMelbourne, FL
2The College Of Saint RoseAlbany, NY
3University Of New HavenWest Haven, CT
4Cuny John Jay College Of Criminal JusticeNew York, NY
5California Baptist UniversityRiverside, CA
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How much money do people make with a degree in criminal psychology?

A bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology will prepare you for multiple different careers so the average salary and potential for growth will vary slightly depending on the exact career you decide to pursue.

In general, most professionals graduate with the ability to earn salaries as high as $110,626, with average wages hovering right around $60,000 per year. Individuals with multiple years of experience, as well as those with additional education, tend to earn higher salaries on average.

These jobs have excellent growth, with the job outlook for psychologists of all kinds looking bright. These positions are expected to grow about 14 percent by 2026- a figure that is much faster than the national average. Long story short? With a degree in criminal psychology, you should have no problem finding a rewarding career.

What can you do with a degree in criminal psychology?

With a degree in criminal psychology, you can pursue a wide range of careers. You might work as a crime analyst, FBI agent, or mental health counselor. You could become a correctional case manager or even a forensic psychologist.

Once you receive a degree in criminal psychology, your job will focus on uncovering the psychological motivations that occur in the commission of any crime. You may interview criminals or evaluate crime scenes to help you create a profile to assist law enforcement or to prevent crimes from occurring. You could work for a local law enforcement office, a mental institution, or even for larger national employers like the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.

requirements for a bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology?

To become a criminal psychologist, you will take courses that draw from multiple disciplines. You will likely begin with a bachelor’s degree before moving on to receive a doctoral degree – that is, if you plan on working directly as a criminal psychologist.

You’ll study psychology and sociology classes, as well as advanced curriculum in criminal behavior and abnormal psychology. A high-quality criminal psychology program will also include a variety of hands-on and experiential classes. You might go to a correctional facility or look at case studies. Some programs also provide professional licensure opportunities through organizations such as the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology.

In general, to be admitted to an undergraduate program in criminal justice, you will need to demonstrate prior academic success via a high school diploma. You should demonstrate strong communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Most schools will request a high school GPA of at least 2.5 as well as SAT or ACT scores in many cases.

best criminal psychology degrees?

While there is no perfect bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology that will be ideal for everyone, there is a perfect degree out there just waiting for you. You should look for the degree that provides you with the flexibility and adaptability necessary for you to pursue your academic and personal goals.

The best programs will be of high quality and also affordable. Our list of the best schools takes into consideration the rigor of study provided by each program. When we compiled our list, we also factored in the school’s affordability, as determined by its overall return on investment, as well as factors like retention, student satisfaction, and reputation among industry employers.

Because we want to make sure that our lists are as detailed and representative of the best choices as possible, we put great efforts into compiling our final cut. If you want to learn more about the process that we use to make our decision, be sure to take a look at our methodology page.

Before we finalize our list and ready it for the world to see, we narrow down our final list so that it includes only the very best schools for criminal psychology. As a result, our list contains the schools that don’t just have the best programs but are also the best choices in regards to student satisfaction, affordability, and value.

Our last step? We pass our list on to you, the most important judge when it comes to deciding the best criminal psychology degree for your unique needs.Collapse All Expand All

  1. Florida Institute Of TechnologyLOCATIONMelbourne, FLTUITION$$$$$
  2. The College Of Saint RoseLOCATIONAlbany, NYTUITION$$$$$
  3. University Of New HavenLOCATIONWest Haven, CTTUITION$$$$$
  4. Cuny John Jay College Of Criminal JusticeLOCATIONNew York, NYTUITION$$$$$
  5. California Baptist UniversityLOCATIONRiverside, CATUITION$$$$$

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