Criminology is the study of crime and criminals through science. It utilises knowledge of behaviour, crime statistics, government reactions, and punishment to better understand and prevent unlawful action. Postgraduate study into criminology arms students with critical thinking ability, deductive reasoning, theoretical concepts, and behavioural knowledge, making it ideal for those pursuing a career in the field or building upon one.
Views of crime and punishment have fluctuated across time, from the exceptionally violent to relatively measured approaches of modern times. Laws and codes of conduct have existed since biblical times, with Greek philosophers informing the earliest lexicons of criminological thought. It wasn’t until 1827 when France became the first to measure national crime statistics that sociologists gave importance to understanding criminal reasoning.
The criminology of today informs legislation, government and law enforcement decision making. Modern courts and police utilise it to understanding crime, stop it and punish the guilty.
Criminology is for anyone with a strong sense of justice wishing. Anyone with great attention to detail, reasoning, and interest in behaviour are always needed within this field. If you are a person aspiring to become a policymaker, inform judges and consult or work with the police in catching criminals, criminology might be for you.
Criminology can be taken up to master level. Each type of course has its own specialisations and priorities.
The Graduate Certificate in Criminology is for students wanting an entry-level qualification. Those with prior study in psychology, counselling or social sciences will have the opportunity to refine their knowledge through programs like those offered by Bond University. Students can expect to learn about forensic criminology, security and politically motivated violence if they wish, with mandatory units in epistemology and humanities research methods. These take six months to complete if studied full time, or a year full time.
Graduate diplomas offer more extensive knowledge, offering courses in specific areas like child abuse, forensic psychology, youth crime, policing and more. Students undergoing courses offered by the University of Sydney even have the opportunity to take a criminal justice internship, providing experience alongside course completion. Graduate diplomas take a year to complete if studied full time and two years if part-time.
The Master of Criminology is for students who desire a comprehensive knowledge of the field. They can study all manner of specific areas, including counter-terrorism, criminal justice research, organised crime, drug use, indigenous justice, contemporary punitiveness and a great deal more. The University of Melbourne offers an incredibly extensive course like this, taking two years to complete if studied full time or four years part-time.
These are commercial detectives, collecting information at the behest of a private client to determine wrongdoing. Companies like Lyonswood Investigations and Forensics are made up of highly qualified private investigators. Graduates from criminology courses are well suited to this career because of their critical thinking proficiency and knowledge of applied psychology.
Criminology graduates are well-positioned to go into detective work for a law enforcement agency. This career path will generally lead them through a career as a police officer to begin with, giving them the chance to learn how best to utilise their skills. Graduates can aspire to join the Australian Federal Police, dealing with nationwide investigations and high-level criminal investigations.
Professionals in this field monitor criminals under probation, preempting, preventing and dissuading them from committing new crimes. They must be highly observant, determining whether individuals under their watch are suitable for return to society, making a degree in criminology highly useful for this profession. The Department of Parliamentary Services is a classic employer of probation officers, as this role is for the public good.
Criminology degrees can be used across a variety of other specialised fields. The following are some examples of these: