Here's a quick review of the difference between criminology and criminalistics. If you're trying to explain your particular master's degree program to the uninitiated, perhaps this brief guide will help you find the right words.
Elevator Speech for Criminalistics Students
Criminalists study the science behind crime: physical evidence, crime scene reconstruction, blood evidence, and chemistry and biology. They are forensic scientists, by broad definition.
An interest in biochemistry, biology, pathology, toxicology or even engineering might lead you to a criminalistics graduate program. Your analytical skills are paramount in this criminal justice career: you're analyzing evidence and drawing logical and reasonable conclusions.
It's important to be comfortable teaching others the complexity of your science. You'll not only write reports that lead to particular suspects, you'll also testify in court and need to educate jurors and laypeople about your science.
Elevator Speech for Criminology Students
Criminologists study crime, criminals, and the corrections system. They are social scientists who concentrate on law and justice.
An undergraduate degree in psychology or sociology might lead you to a master's program in criminology. In the master's program, you delve deeply into criminal law, constitutional law, criminal theory, government and public policy, and sociology.
Additional coursework in criminology graduate programs might include juvenile justice, abnormal psychology, statistics, or forensics—depending on your area of interest.
Crossover Careers for Criminologists and Criminalists
Either graduate program could lead to teaching legal studies, law or sociology (though a PhD is required to teach at universities). Federal law enforcement agents and police officers benefit from either the scientific background or the social sciences background.
Drug enforcement agencies, probation agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and airports all hire both criminalists and criminologists. Research and public policy firms have job openings that are perfect for your analytical and communications skills.
Get your enrollment information from online Law and Justice schools or on-campus graduate programs in your area through the GraduateSchools.com law school search engine.