Crime, how we define it, how we understand its causes, and the ways we respond to it provides, a window into a society’s challenges, values and aspirations.
The Bachelor of Criminology offers a world-leading program to equip you with the professional skills, specialist knowledge and key capabilities relevant to careers in a wide range of Criminology related fields.
There is an increasing global demand for graduates with a deep understanding of the role of crime in contemporary social and economic life, and well-developed professional skills in understanding global issues in crime.
On completion of this course, you’ll be prepared to work in a broad range of professional domains, including: International Criminal Justice Organisations, Anti-Corruption organisations, Human Rights Organisations, the Police Force, the Courts system, Department of Justice, Attorney-General’s Departments, Community Legal Centres, and a range of private organisations in which Criminology specialist skills will provide a key competitive advantage.
You can choose to develop specialist knowledge in specific criminal concerns, including hate crime, serious and violent crime, cybercrime, and transnational and organised crime.
The Global Crime Problem
This core unit is only available to students studying the Bachelor of Criminology. This unit presents contemporary global challenges for those tasked with responding to crime and criminality. Students will be presented with several topical issues that are key challenges for contemporary governments and non-state actors. The unit is global in focus but relates examples back to concerns found on our doorstep. Students will be immersed in examples of successful and unsuccessful responses to unwanted and criminal behaviour. Topics may include: terrorism, the war on drugs, organised crime, migration and criminality, over-policing and government inertia to escalating crisis.
The Complexity of Crime
This unit introduces students to the complexity of crime as a social phenomenon and maps the key theoretical frameworks that have been advanced to explain crime and deviance. The unit requires students to engage their 'criminological imaginations' to understand the causality of crime and the infraction of social norms and values. The unit begins by examining how deviancy and crime are socially constructed. Various theoretical perspectives that have been developed to try and explain crime and deviancy will then be explored. Beginning with the classical school of criminology that emerged in the late 18th Century, the unit presents how understandings of criminal behaviour have developed and advanced. Subcultural theories and the labelling of individuals as 'deviant' will be examined, alongside Marxist readings that help explain social inequality and the links between poverty and the criminal justice system. The unit critically engages students with the theories presented; and teaches students to critique their value, utility and explanatory power in contemporary society.
Controlling Crime, Controlling Society
This unit facilitates student development of foundational knowledge in policing and crime prevention as forms of social control. Students will be introduced to different ways of thinking about social control in Australia and other societies. The unit introduces students to policing as a form of social control, with students examining the role of law, civil rights and occupational culture in the context of police operations. Students examine the historical development of police services and their transformation since 9/11 along with emerging challenges associated with policing transnational threats. The focus then shifts to different forms of crime prevention that have gained popularity in recent decades as a means of addressing the shortcomings of criminal justice institutions in reducing the incidence and prevalence of crime. Students learn about different approaches including situational crime prevention and social crime prevention and consider the advantages and limitations of these in practice.
Punishment, Courts and Corrections
The unit presents the administrative workings, functions and experiences in areas such as courts, sentencing, imprisonment, community corrections, parole and release. The unit will equip students with a solid understanding of courts and corrections in the criminal justice system. Importantly, students will observe how the administration of justice is played out through the court system and consider punishments against themes of human difference, exclusion, human rights and social justice. This unit presents basic penological theories and understandings of punishment and its role in our society. The unit encourages students to grasp how punishment and prisons cannot be viewed outside broader social, political and economic contexts. Applied focus is upon the administrative functions in courts, correctional settings and prisons in Australia.
Youth, Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
This unit examines youth crime and deviance, with a focus on the experiences of youth within the criminal justice system in Australia. The unit investigates the social construction of young people as a deviant and anti-social group, and explores the developmental risk factors that may contribute to involvement in crime. Students will engage in debates about the legal and moral regulation of youth, and observe the differing roles of socialisation through family, peers and the media. The unit discusses the social control of young people and presents effective prevention and interventional programs to reduce their involvement in crime. Attention is given to building skills and knowledge required to work with at-risk youth. Students will be exposed to current issues and debates in youth and juvenile justice, with a focus on contemporary Australian experiences. Topics may include gendered offending patterns, restorative justice, detention centre ‘riots’, youth gangs, subcultures of violence, and international approaches to managing youth crime.
Victims, Crime and Society
Students are exposed to understandings of the lived experiences of victims and the begin to challenge the usefulness of the criminal justice system in responding to victims’ needs. In this unit, students are introduced to the concept of ‘victimhood’ within domestic and international social and legal settings. Using a mix of practical and theoretical frameworks, this unit develops student understandings of victimisation experiences both within and beyond the realm of law using case studies. The impact of victims’ rights movements and the emergence of a ‘victim focus’ in shaping traditional and alternative responses to crime and punishment is explored. Students are also required to consider the changing role of the victim in the legal system and victim participation in the resolution of offensive (non-criminal) and criminal behaviour.
Crime, Justice and the Public
This unit prepares students to shape crime and justice policies in government agencies and non-governmental organisations by introducing them to the process of making and implementing of criminal justice policies. It utilises contemporary case studies and engages active and retired policy makers and practitioners. Students are introduced to the procedural dynamics of crime and justice policy-making in Victoria (state), Australia (federal), and internationally. The politics of crime and justice policy-making in Victoria are explored. The significant obstacles faced by policy makers, when attempting to develop effective and humane crime and justice policies, are addressed. Building on this foundational knowledge, students are given a practical introduction to the skills of policy development and writing. The focus of the unit then shifts to the implementation of crime and justice policy, with students examining the various challenges associated with translating these into practice.
Criminalisation, Marginalisation and Inequality
In this unit students explore the contemporary and historical significance of ‘difference’ in structuring patterns of law making, offending, victimisation, criminal justice system responses and experiences. Students are introduced to theoretical paradigms and empirical approaches for identifying and understanding marginalization and inequality in society. Students are taught how to identify and draw connections between broader societal experiences of inequality and marginalisation with the development and orientation of systems of law and criminal justice. The unit focuses on factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, (dis)ability, regional inequalities, income and wealth distribution, social class and homelessness to examine how current patterns of social and economic inequality contribute to the disproportionate victimisation and criminalisation of certain marginalised populations in society.
Crime, Risk and Surveillance
This unit provides a background to the challenges facing contemporary criminology nationally and internationally. Students will identify and interrogate the narratives that make up the diverse perceptions of crime, the evolution of 'risk society', ideas of local and global security/insecurity and the impact this has on criminal justice policy and the rights and liberties of individuals. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the study of crime, risk and surveillance students engage with the various ways individuals experience, understand and act upon perceived risk in various contexts. Students explore how perceptions of risk are used to justify both necessary and excessive forms of intrusive surveillance. Students learn to question the extent to which government and non-government organisations can effectively mitigate threats that exist within and beyond the state, and critically engage with crime prediction, risk assessment and surveillance strategies of criminal justice agencies in Australia and internationally.
You can choose to develop specialist knowledge in specific criminal concerns, including hate crime, serious and violent crime, cybercrime, and transnational and organised crime. At least six of the following criminology electives must be chosen from below.
Students learn about Indigenous peoples, populations and communities through academic and Indigenous perspectives. This unit examines the historical and cultural scope of law and criminal justice, criminal justice administration, and the legal representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in Australian systems of justice. This unit examines the use of the criminal justice system in Australia to manage Aboriginal people from colonisation until now. Considering crime and criminal justice through a settler-colonial lens, students will learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices about experiences of crime and criminal justice, emerging trends in Indigenous justice and consider the role of self-determination and reconciliation in the 'decolonisation' of criminal justice. It utilises Indigenous perspectives and critical inter-disciplinary work to examine topics such as: Indigenous customary law, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, mandatory sentencing practices, and the policing of public space.
The unit presents a theoretical and empirical introduction to cybercrime. It identifies the impact of information and communication technology on the nature of crime and in surveillance. It begins by exploring how new information communication and technology such as the internet has facilitated existing crimes and facilitated new types of crime including hacking, online fraud, identity theft, digital child pornography, revenge pornography, online hate crime, and cyber-bullying. Criminological and regulatory theories are critically examined to explain how new crimes are created and old crimes facilitated by new technologies. The unit introduces the use of technology and surveillance in modes of crime control. Surveillance is historically embedded within early criminological theory, but more recently has become a standard policy response connecting intelligence, new technology and rapid information flows to convey an appearance of an efficient and responsive justice system. However, critical surveillance theory also recognises the problems of focusing on technology alone given the broader expansion of ‘governance through crime’ in recent times. Students learn about the implications of mass surveillance such as big data from social and legal dimensions and how technology facilitated the development of a new surveillance architecture.
Transnational and Organised Crime
This unit requires students to unpack and understand the dynamics of transnational and organised crime. It identifies and compares the characteristics, actors, activities and organisations of organised crime. It also explores transnational organised crimes including human trafficking and smuggling, money laundering, telecommunication fraud, drug trafficking and corruption. How transnational organised crime syndicates use new technology like darknet to develop their illicit business is explored. Case-based approaches are used to analyse the practices and modus operandi of transnational and organised crime groupings. Different approaches are used to explain organised crime including theoretical and practical perspectives are presented and analysed. Students are required to consider how organised crime challenges existing criminal laws and criminal procedural laws, and discuss the cross-national and international efforts of police, courts, diplomacy and international agencies in dealing with these emerging issues in national, regional and global settings.
Drugs, Harm and Crime
In this unit, students will be presented with the criminological implications of drug use and drug control policies. Students will gain a theoretical understanding of both legal and illicit substance use, and of the nature and composition of different drug markets. The history of drug policies and illicit drug enforcement practices will be explored in Australian and international settings. Students will explore the differing opportunities to reform drug policies and will analyse a wide range of drug-related harms including those arising from the use of alcohol and drugs, drug market violence, and the indirect and secondary harms of criminalisation and aggressive drug enforcement practices. Students will consider the relative advantages and limitations of alternative models for regulating or reducing drug-related harms including harm-reduction and legalisation to assess their cultural and political viability.
Serious and Violent Crimes
In this unit, students will explore why some crimes are considered more serious than others. Students will consider why some types of crime and violence appear to be more tolerated while other types of crime and violence are condemned by governments and non-governmental actors. Serious and violent crimes will be explored as a social phenomenon across a range of historical and contemporary settings. Students will explore different conceptualisations of serious and violent crimes and the way that such terms and labels can be contested in specific circumstances. Case studies include homicide, rape and sexual offences, paedophilia and child abuse, hate crime and terrorism, gangs and drug smuggling. Students will examine and critique domestic and international responses to a variety of such serious and violent crimes and contrast the personal, societal and political ramifications of these.
In this unit, students study crime involving unlawful, violent, destructive or threatening behaviour in which the perpetrators’ motivation is a prejudice towards a central element of the victim’s identity. Hate crime acts to establish and reinforce a social hierarchy in which the victim is subordinate. Motivations may be based on the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or (dis)ability. Although targeted victimisation has long existed, the position and definition of hate crimes as a legal category is a relatively new practice. Students explore the socio-legal development of hate crime policy and legislation. The causes, penalties and consequences of hate crime, and the larger social context within which they occur are addressed. Students will explore and define the identities of victims and perpetrators. Students will consider domestic and international perspectives of differing hate crime legislation in countries including Australia, the US and the UK. The unit will explore debates concerning contemporary issues in hate crime, such as which groups should be deemed to be vulnerable, the constitutional issues around hate crime laws, and the spectrum upon which prejudice becomes hate and free speech becomes hate speech.
Politics of Crime
This unit will engage students with the factors that shape public policy outcomes and the consequences that result from policy choices in responding to crime and criminal justice. This unit examine the significant and lasting effects of the politics of law and order on different populations in our society. Students are tasked to consider a range of issues including popular and punitive approaches to crime, Indigenous politics, and the struggles of access to justice for individuals and groups from non-English speaking backgrounds and those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage. Students will be shown the politicisation of criminal justice and the process through which political leaders use criminal justice issues to enhance their own popularity, electability, or power. Students will unpack political considerations and their effect on crime through the lawmaking process as they influence laws and criminal justice responses that legislatures enact. This unit further contrasts the politicisation of crime in Australia with its international neighbours.
Sex, Gender and Crime
This unit examines the intersection of sex, gender, sexuality and crime with the role gender stereotypes play in the operation of the criminal justice system. Students will utilise criminological, feminist, masculinities and queer theories to explore how social norms of femininity and masculinity produce sexed understandings of crime and criminality. Theoretical insights and contemporary understandings of the criminal justice system, popular and media representations, and development of public policy responding to sex and crime are surveyed to make critical assessments. Topics include sex and the nature of crime; LGBTIQ identities and crime; gender and policing; femininity, masculinity and violence; and, sexed and sexual violence.
Crime in the City
Crime is not randomly distributed across cities, neighbourhoods and streets. Nor is crime reducible to the socio-economic characteristics of particular places. In this unit, students explore and interpret the important social processes and structures that influence crime across different spatial granularities to gain analytical skills and in-depth knowledge. Students explore formal and informal responses to crime and how these might differ across contexts, with a focus on neighbourhoods, streets and land-uses that generate and/or attract crime. Further, this unit highlights how crime, and responses to crime, are shaped by spatial inequality; ethnic/racial segregation and diversity; and competing interests in access and use of public spaces. Students gain an in-depth knowledge of the social and spatial processes that lead to the concentration of social problems. By applying theoretical concepts and methodological approaches, students will understand how people intersect and interact in different kinds of places – and how this hinders or encourages crime.
International study tours
- Crime and criminal justice in Asia
- Comparative criminology USA
- Human rights and criminal justice USA
- Contemporary issues in UK criminal justice
See the section below for details on these international study tours exclusive to the Bachelor of Criminology.
This degree allows you to further your knowledge in Criminology, or include study from other areas of the Faculty or University. Up to 48 points of other electives may be chosen as long as you have the prerequisites and there are no restrictions on admission to the units.
International study tours
You will also have opportunities to travel internationally to meet criminal justice experts across Asia, Europe and the Americas, through a selection of exclusive field trips to the course.
Learn about cultural and socio-economic development of Asian countries and its relevance to crime and justice through an intensive study tour programme to countries in Asia.
Analyse issues affecting our region and consider how dominant Western ideas of criminological theory and research might/might not apply in Asian countries through comparative studies.
You'll have the rare opportunity to learn from experienced academics and professional practitioners such as police, crime investigation agents, prosecutors, judges, prison staff and NGOs in Asia.
Learn about the comparative study of criminology which involves the study of crime and social control across different cultural contexts. While it may appear easy to make simple comparisons, there is a need for a far greater understanding of what, how and why a comparison is being made.
You have the opportunity to gain on-location access to experienced professional practitioners - Judges, Police/FBI, Prison staff - in the field of criminology in the United States of America. Examples of topics for comparative understanding include: prisons and punishment, policing, social inequality and crime, immigration and race/ethnicity, organised crime/gangs, and juvenile justice.
This intensively delivered unit is part of our Criminology Overseas program. Students study human rights in relation to criminal justice and criminology through interactive experiences delivered on location in New York with criminal justice system and NGO actors.
The unit will trace the impact of human rights across the differing phases of the achievement of justice in the criminal justice system. Students will be presented with and analyse issues of human rights affecting the United States and consider how dominant Australian ideas of criminological theory, practice and research might/might not apply in the European countries through comparative studies.
Focusing on some specific rights as case studies students will contrast definitions of human rights in understanding responses to crime Examples of topics for comparative understanding include: human rights and difference, human rights and social media, human rights and the criminal justice system, and human rights and the contemporary world.
Students gain on-location access to experienced professional practitioners - police, crime investigation agents, prosecutors, judges, prison staff and NGO workers to understand how human rights impacts their professional activities and daily operations.
The unit seeks to enhance the ability of students to undertake independent research under the guidance of supervision.
This intensively delivered unit is part of our Criminology Overseas program. Students will travel to Europe and have the opportunity to directly witness the impacts of historical and contemporary criminological concerns in global justice by visiting and engaging with experienced processional practitioners and academics.
Students study the production of criminological knowledge across cultures as well as its meaning and how we understand it. Students will undertake study with a focus on identifying the ways in which the achievement of justice operates, as well as examining their aims, purpose and consequences of responding to crime and criminality.
Students undertake site visits that will permit meaningful engagements with serious and violent crimes, terrorism and hate crime, private detention facilities, mass murder, organised crime and people smuggling. Students gain on-location access to experienced professional practitioners – Judges and Court staff, Police, Prison staff and NGO workers - in the field of criminology in the United Kingdom.
The unit seeks to enhance the ability of students to undertake independent research under the guidance of supervision.
In the Professional Project units you will work closely with our industry partners, opening up new pathways and opportunities for your career, and capping off your Criminology study by bringing together all your knowledge and skills in your final year. The Professional Project features real life scenarios and your work will be assessed by both academics and industry.
There are further opportunities and internships available to you through Arts Internships, both in Australia and around the world, so you can get hands-on experience while you gain study credit.
You can gain credit with an internship unit ranging from general Arts Internship units to specialised offerings in journalism, the Victorian Parliament, Theatre and Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics.
Current internship positions:
You can gain industry experience locally or internationally through a range of our partners (view current internships open for applications) or through an institution of your own choice.
CRICOS code: 096756F