Difference Between Criminology and Criminal Justice

Criminology vs Criminal Justice

The field of law enforcement is a broad one encompassing not only law and justice but also prevention of crime through study of criminal behavior. This is why those aspiring to pursue this field as a career remain confused between criminology and criminal justice. There is much overlapping between the two subjects though there are differences also justifying their classification as different subjects. This article attempts to highlight these differences so as to help students in deciding upon either of the two courses.


As the name implies, criminology is the study of crime and criminal behavior. The subject treats crime as a social phenomenon, and criminals as deviant individuals in a society. The subject also deals with the process of law making and the reaction of the society through law and justice towards law breakers. Criminology resembles other social subjects in the sense as crime is considered to be a social behavior and criminology tries to explain the social causes of such behavior and also the response of the society to crimes. Criminology is based upon human behavior, and implications of crime are also viewed in this light. Criminology attempts to find ways to reduce the incidence of crime in the society by examining crime, its motive, and societal perspective of the crime. Master’s degree in criminology teaches students to understand and predict criminal behavior including white collar fraud to terrorism as also ways to prevent such behavior.

Criminal justice

Criminal justice is a subject that covers society’s reaction to crime and criminal in terms of laws of the land and this implies that it includes everything from collecting evidence, making arrest, applying charges and producing accused in courts, conducting trials, delivering justice by ordering sentences, and prison system. In short, criminal justice is an application of all the laws made to deal with crimes and criminals. Those studying criminal justice can enter many careers such as law enforcement officer, lawyer, attorney, judge, correctional officer, parole and probation officer, and even a private detective or a security officer. Criminal justice is not based upon criminal behavior and mainly deals with the justice system prevailing in the country. Thus, more than the crime or its cause or motives, students of criminal justice are more interested in enforcement of the laws and justice.


What is the difference between Criminology and Criminal Justice?

• Criminal justice is applied science of law and judicial system in a country while criminology is the study of crime and criminal behavior from the perspective of society and ways to deal with crime and how to manage and reduce its incidence

• Criminal justice is more interested in the process of law making and breaking and how to provide justice to victims by bringing accused to trial courts and sentencing them while criminology tries to understand the motive behind criminal behavior. It tries to apply the knowledge thus gained to reduce the incidence of crime in the society.