A Career in Criminal Law

By Laura Molloy - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

Are you interested in an intellectually challenging career? Are you fascinated by the criminal justice system, preventing crime and understanding how criminal minds work? You could be the perfect candidate to pursue a career in criminal law by enrolling on in a criminal law course.

What is Criminal Law?

Criminal law, or penal law, is the body of law that regulates and punishes acts considered undesirable to the state. Consequently, crimes of this nature include theft, assault, robbery, murder and drug trafficking. Career pathways available open to those who are interested in the criminal justice system are varied. These include legal secretarial work, practising criminal law, policing and crime scene investigation. Courses in criminal law in Ireland are varied, depending on the career pathway the graduate wishes to follow.

Career pathways after a Criminal Law Course

Legal secretaries, who want to work for a criminal lawyer, can enrol on training courses in law. Training courses provide secretaries with the knowledge and practicalities of how a criminal law department operates. In addition, students learn how to take statements of the accused, prepare witness information and instructions to counsel as well how to deal with offenders and legal aid.

To pursue a career as a criminal lawyer, applicants should consider undertaking a law degree. Universities in Ireland offer studies in criminal law as a core component of the Bachelor of Law programmes (BCL and LLB). Upon completion of a law degree, graduates can continue to attain a qualification as a solicitor or barrister.  Studies focus on the theoretical knowledge of penal law such as criminal justice, global crime problems and human rights. On the other hand, if a student wishes to focus on criminal law or criminology at the post-graduate level there are a number of professional diplomas and Masters programmes available.

A professional diploma course in criminology is designed for lawyers and non-lawyers.  Graduates pursue careers in;

  • Policing
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Forensic science
  • Corporate fraud

Furthermore, a number of courses offer students the opportunity to take advanced disciplines of criminal law. Students delve into the history of criminal behaviours covering a broad range of high profile offences. In addition to the exploration of the theories of crime including the psychology of criminal behaviour in an Irish context. Modules include;

  • Criminal justice history
  • Advanced criminology theory
  • Crime and punishment
  • International and transitional crime


Students gain in-depth skills in research methods, theoretical principles as well as debating, communication and argumentation skills. Specifically, graduates have robust analytical skills and excellent attention to detail.  In addition, they use logical reasoning to solve problems and rely on their persuasiveness and good judgement.

Career Prospects

Qualified solicitors and barristers can specialise in criminal law and work independently or for a law firm. Specifically, they can become a criminalist, criminologist, public interest lawyer, judge or lecturer. Therefore, it is a career that can be highly rewarding with high earning potential and flexible working hours.

Furthermore,  non-legal professionals can specialise in forensic psychology.  In addition to fraud investigations, working as a police detective, a probation officer or a crime analyst.

Find a criminal law course near you in’s national course finder.

Laura Molloy

Have you considered a quantity surveying course?
Courses in Marine Biology in Ireland


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to send you the latest news and articles about evening classes, further learning and adult education by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Comments and Reviews Policy