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About the major

Criminology is a rich discipline that examines the complex definitions and dimensions of crime and the criminal justice system, and assesses the effectiveness and implications of crime prevention and crime control measures. Through criminology study, you will gain an advanced understanding of crime and its causes, criminal justice institutions and practices, victimisation and marginalisation, social control, juvenile justice, Indigenous justice, crime prevention, prison and other alternatives to punishment. You will also explore a suite of articulating issues around crime and the media, medico-legal and forensic criminology, and the methods and contributions of criminology research.

The first-year units lay the foundation to the study of crime, harm and the criminal justice system, and you will launch your exploration of key criminology concepts, theories and practices. Second year units will deepen your understanding of disciplinary ideas and further your knowledge about criminal justice institutions and processes. You will analyse key debates, explore critical histories and current issues, and study new developments around crime and criminal justice in relation to topics such as youth, race, gender, ethnicity and Indigeneity. In addition, you will critically examine how society responds to crime through social control and criminal legal institutions and practices.

A key focus will be placed on features of policing, sentencing, punishment, prisons and incarceration, and alternatives to punishment. In third-year units you will consolidate your critical analytical skills in criminology as you delve into the complex relationship between crime, law, medicine and science. In addition, you will critically analyse the development and nature of criminal justice in relation to the complex interface of 'law and order politics’, the media, culture, crime and society. Finally, and significantly, you will consolidate your knowledge by considering the relationship between crime, research and policy, and be able to apply your advanced knowledge to developing a piece of criminological research of your choice.

Requirements for completion

The Criminology major and minor requirements are listed in the Criminology unit of study table.

Advanced coursework

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the advanced coursework units of study.


The one year Criminology Honours program is designed to provide students with the training and skills to complete a substantial piece of self-directed criminology research. The program consists of two advanced level seminar courses and the preparation of an honours thesis based on original research on a topic of the student’s choice. The Criminology honours thesis is an independent research project that is planned and completed under the supervision and guidance of a member of the Discipline. Criminology Honours offers high achieving students the opportunity to develop superior research, writing and communication skills, which prepares graduates for careers in research, policy and related areas. It also provides a pathway into postgraduate study. This subject area is available to students who have previously completed a major in Criminology.  

Contacts and further information

Website: Discipline of Sociology and Criminology 
Undergraduate Coordinator: