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"We have amazing faculty and staff here at Alliant and CSFS. A lot of them have other practices, that are in their actual field and then they come and bring their experiences to us in the classroom."

Sharday Summers - Clinical Forensic Psychology PsyD Student

Sacramento Campus

Academic Programs at CSFS

The California School of Forensic Studies (CSFS) at Alliant International University is on the forefront of redefining and expanding the traditional definitions of criminology, criminal justice, and forensic studies. As one of the first schools established dedicated to the field of forensics, we strive to impact society, public opinion and policy through evidence-based practices.

CSFS offers master's programs in Applied Criminology and a bachelor's program in Criminal Justice.

One of the most important aspects of the degree programs offered at CSFS is an integration of coursework and practical experience. All of the programs at CSFS are taught by faculty that have extensive training and field experience, with many regarded as industry experts. More importantly, our faculty truly care about students' success.

CSFS graduates are well-equipped to enter careers in exciting fields, and prepared for rewarding work that makes a difference in the lives of others. Read on to find out more about the fields of criminology and criminal justice.

> Applied Criminology


What is Criminology?

Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminals.  Those who work in the field of Criminology take interest in understanding the root causes of crime and the effects that crime has on society.  Some specific areas that the field of criminology focuses on are:

  • Frequency, location, causes, and types of crimes
  • Societal and individual consequences of crimes
  • Societal and individual reactions to crimes


What is a Criminologist?

A criminologist is a social scientist who specializes in the study of crime and criminals.  Criminologists are not in the field catching criminals like police officers, but rather, criminologists use data and statistics about crime to identify patterns about criminal behavior.  They then use this information to derive theories explaining the causes and effects of criminal behavior in the hopes of preventing as many crimes as possible.  

Careers in criminology can be grouped into three categories:

Law Enforcement Criminologists

Criminologists who work in law enforcement use data and statistics to try to identify behavior patterns in order to create criminal profiles. Typically, these criminologists work for local and state police but they are also able to work for federal agencies such as the FBI or CIA.

Social Workers and Correctional Officers

Social workers assist people who are struggling with problems such as abuse or addiction and connect them to social services that are available to help them. This may include working with recently released offenders looking to assimilate back into society or working with agencies such as Child Protective Services.

University Professors and Academic Researchers

Criminologists who go on to pursue a doctorate in the field are able to teach criminology courses to college students.  These classes can be taught to students who are pursuing degrees in fields such as criminology, sociology, criminal justice, and psychology. Many professors also spend time conducting research and publishing papers in the field of criminology.

Educational Requirements for Criminologists

In most cases, students will need to obtain at least a master’s degree to work in the field as a criminologist. While not all jobs require a graduate degree, those jobs are typically extremely competitive and traditionally very difficult to get.

How can the California School of Forensic Studies get me started?

At CSFS, we offer a Master’s Degree in Applied Criminology. The program is a two-year, 40-unit program offered on the San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego campuses. It is designed to enhance the skill set and employability of those interested in entering --or currently working in--the field of criminology. In the program, we offer four distinct concentrations relevant to your future career:

  • Criminal Behavior
  • Cybercrime and Technology
  • Global Crime and Homeland Security
  • Victimology


> Criminal Justice


We would love to talk to you and provide more information, or answer any questions you have about our programs. Don’t wait. Begin your journey with CSFS today! Call 1-866-825-5426 to talk to an admissions counselor, or click below to request more information online.

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