Is Criminology a Science or a Pseudoscience? 

Criminology is a research-based study that focuses on both behavioural and social sciences. This vast field draws research made by sociologists, scientists, psychiatrists, social anthropologists, biologists, and law or judiciary experts. Practices prove this study as a part of science, therefore it is still under debate and an undecided dispute. Now as technology helping the study of traits of criminals, some thoughtful experts includes this in Pseudosciences.


Criminology is a detailed study of crime that majorly talks about its causes, then the involvement of law enforcement agencies following with the strategies to prevent crimes. The main objective of criminology is to observe the reasons and consequences of the crime, criminal conduct, and study of their actions. Sociological techniques are pretty dominant in criminology that is why it is a subgroup of sociology. Furthermore, criminology comprises of:

  • Penology revolves around the study conducted on prison and prison systems. 
  • Bio-criminology emphasises the biological basis of criminal conduct. 
  • Feminist criminology: the review of women and crime.
  • Criminalistics: The analysis of crime detection. 

Criminologists work and investigate crime and the response of the population towards crime. Criminologists observe the common ways and practices or behavioral habits of criminals. Moreover, criminologists manage research and investigations on the way criminals behave in certain situations. They build theories and assess observed patterns based on their deep observations. 

Although some researchers argue whether criminology can be considered a science or not. Let’s find out more about this part of the social and behavioural study conducted for criminals.

Criminology isn’t a kind of science with complicated theories and figures such as chemistry, physics, etc. It is known as part of social sciences. Criminology can be known as a science as it studies the non-legal factors of law and delinquency. However, some people disagree whether criminology can become a scientific discourse. The reason behind it is that there is a shortage of universal proposition of crime and scientific studies, which makes it somewhat impossible. We will further discuss in the passage where the discipline of criminology belongs. 

Criminology and its vastness 

Criminology is a unique discipline that caters to many other disciplines as well. In the 1990s, criminology introduced specialised study areas. Criminology further ventured into a new subject called “victimology.” The particular subject investigated the victims of the crime, the relationships between criminals and victims, the position of the victims, and the cause of crime at the crime scene. Criminal justice is an academic field, emphasising the structure and functioning of criminal justice agencies- including the police, courts, juvenile agencies. They don’t focus much on the objective of crime.

It is been found that many universities place criminology into fields such as social sciences, law, or psychology. While in the UK, the discipline of criminology is placed under the study of law. In South America, the medical and anthropological factors dominate. Mostly criminology is placed in the department of sociology. 

what is Pseudoscience studies?

Pseudoscience contains beliefs or practices which claim to have scientific and factual value but are not compatible with the scientific method. Pseudoscience is mostly contradictory, exaggerated, or undeniable claims. It is based on confirmation bias rather than difficult attempts at refutation. There is not much openness to the evaluation conducted by experts. There is a lack of systematic methods while creating hypotheses. Examples of pseudoscience are astrology, Celtic myths or legends, psychic reading, star signs, and UFOs.

Difference between Pseudoscience and science

Science is a collection of methods that aim at testing hypotheses and developing theories. If scientists discover a new idea, then research is conducted which produces valuable information. The knowledge is reflected in publications, presentations, and inquiry and research. These procedures prove that it is science. 


There are some methods and modes of investigations in criminology which cater to pseudoscience. One of the method is called synergology. The approach of synergology allows identifying some specific states of mind from non-verbal behaviour. A training programs are conducted in synergology which are offered to the sector of education, health, and criminal justice.

This discipline has also been known to prevent terrorist attacks. It is quite helpful during interrogation, video analysis, and crowd monitoring. During the observation of a suspect or an interaction among people, this discipline could prevent terrorist attacks and handle a crisis. hence, it is a scientific discipline for interpreting body language.

MEthods used in CRIMINology

Scientific methodologies are advancing by the time figuring out criminals, and their actions before and after crimes to prevent future crimes. Pseudoscience has its various techniques, which clash with scientific methods. The example of Sherlock Holmes’s theories as the guide to search out criminals in reality is the one big aid to this field. The fiction detective began his search through empirical evidence. Technology has advanced and made great strides, but still, till now empirical evidence from the police laboratory determines criminals. Evidence such as shoe print, fiber analysis, handwriting, hair analysis, and fingerprints are lacking in scientific validation. 

Criminology and Science

In many definitions you’ll come across criminology is known as social science. However, lots of the people disagree with this claim. Science in lament terms is the general approach towards the problems of human knowledge. Further, empirical experiences and experiments helps more in drawing researches and results. Criminology focuses on the scientific method of investigation that include:

  • Defining the issue.
  • Assessing the literature.
  • Creating the hypotheses to elaborate on certain facts. 
  • Building the research design.
  • Collecting information.

Criminology includes an emphasis on scientific theory. Thus, a theory is a simplification intermediate in point of verification between a law and a hypothesis. Therefore, the above-mentioned statements explain that criminology is a science rather than pseudoscience. 

Scroll to Top