Social science researcher
Criminologists look at the reasons why people commit crimes and find ways to reduce re-offending.
Salary range: £23,5000 to £36,000
How to become a criminologist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a graduate training scheme
You can do a degree in:
- criminal justice and psychology
- 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:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
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.
Professional and industry bodies
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.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
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 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.
Career path and progression
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.