Applied Criminology

Applied Criminology Online Graduate Certificate

About Applied Criminology

Learn with leading experts in the applied criminology field.

PennWest California offers a Graduate certificate in criminal behavior online  designed to give students a competitive advantage in pursuing law-enforcement careers and other opportunities in the criminal justice field.

The 12-credit graduate certificate program can be completed in just two semesters of part-time study.

Enhance your career portfolio.   

Professionals with demanding careers benefit from the flexibility of the 100% online program to complete coursework at their convenience. Applied criminology certificate students complete four required courses.   

This is a stackable graduate certificate, which means you can take applied criminology alone, or easily incorporate this program into your online Master of Arts in Applied Criminology or other degree programs at PennWest California.


Specialized:  Professionals who choose to complete the graduate certificate in criminal behavior online gain specialized knowledge in the field, focusing on the ethical and legal aspects of criminology, advanced criminological theories, research methods in criminology and applied research in criminology. You'll learn the latest practices in applied criminology and increase your chances for career promotion or advancement.

Faculty expertise:  Most of the faculty members in the applied criminology degree program are full time and tenured. Dr. John Cencich is a retired U.S. federal agent and former senior international war crimes investigator with the United Nations; he earned the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science, the highest degree in law, from Notre Dame and an advanced law degree from the University of Kent at Canterbury, U.K. He is the immediate past chair of the International Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.  Dr. Aref M. Al-Khattar is a former intelligence officer from Jordan who was awarded the Medal of Independence from the King for his efforts toward national security. He is an expert in Middle East terrorism and criminologicalresearch methods. Dr. Michael Hummel holds a doctorate from Columbia University and specializes in criminal justice research and policy analysis. Professor Julie Warnick is a legal specialist with extensive experience in the courtroom and serves as the adviser and coach for the University's mock trial team.

Learn more about applying


Ranking in 2017 for top online criminology degree by
PennWest California recognized for best online programs in graduate education by U.S. News & World Report.
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Certificate Benefits

Students in the 100% online graduate certificate in applied criminology grow professionally by completing this 12-credit certificate program.  You will benefit from courses taught by leaders in the field who teach state-of-the-art skills and theories. Your PennWest California graduate certificate also will enhance your resume and increase your opportunities for job promotion or advancement.

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Graduate Outcomes

Studying applied criminology equips you with the education, skills and training to start in the fields of criminal justice and criminology or advance in your current position. With the help of highly qualified professors who have strong professional contacts, applied criminology graduates go on to positions in local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies;  victim-witness units; threat assessment teams; and correctional institutions.


Applied Criminology Courses

Applied criminology students build a strong foundation of theoretical and research knowledge and skills, and learn to apply this framework to real-world situations.



Course Credits
CRM 700  Advanced Criminological Theories  3
CRM 720  Research Methods in Criminology 3
CRM 810  Violent Crime Analysis 3
CRM 820  Ethical and Legal Aspects of Criminology 3
Total 12



Admission Requirements


Regular Admission Requirements

  • Regionally Accredited Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Official transcripts from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution
    • International Global Online Applicants must meet the minimum graduate English proficiency requirements.  A satisfactory viva voce interview with a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice may be considered in lieu of the minimum score.

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.9 and below will be reviewed for a decision once the following documentation has been received:
      • Resume
      • 500-word essay supporting application
        • If admitted, students will be required to earn a 3.0 in their first term to remain in the program

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Submit the nonrefundable $35 Application Fee
  • Submit required documentation by mail or email:
    • Mail:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

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On-Campus Expertise

The applied criminology program is also associated with the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences at PennWest California, which provides an array of real-time investigative consulting activities along with professional training programs for police officers, detectives, district attorneys, public defenders and others involved in the administration of justice.

Graduate certificate in criminal behavior online

Professional Connection

PennWest California is attuned to professional standards in applied criminology and criminal justice through faculty who are members of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. ACJS is an international association established in 1963 to foster professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice. ACJS promotes criminal justice education, research, and policy analysis within the discipline of criminal justice for both educators and practitioners.

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Job Outlook

Graduates in applied criminology can prepare for such career positions as police officer, criminal investigator, violent crime analyst, victim-witness coordinator and threat assessment specialist.  

Applied Criminology