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Criminology involves the study of the complex issues of crime and criminal justice. It is primarily a social science concerned with how crime is measured, who commits crimes and why, and how society responds.  FutureGrowthModerate

Criminologists look for ways to understand the nature and impact of behavioural and social problems, and ways of alleviating their impact.

They contribute to study and policy-making in juvenile justice, drug addiction, cybercrime, corrections, violence, crime prevention, Indigenous justice, and organised crime. Criminologists are actively involved in community initiatives, offender assessment, and policy development and project management and evaluation within federal, state and local criminal justice agencies.

From a background in criminology, some people go on to join the police to train as crime scene investigators or detectives, whilst others pursue legal, forensic, policy or technology-related careers.



Knowledge, skills and attributes

To become a criminologist, you would need:

  • a non-judgmental attitude

  • numeracy and statistical apptitude

  • analytical and critical thinking skills

  • an interest in human behaviours

  • strong self-confidence.

Duties and Tasks

As a criminologist, you would:

  • study the criminal justice system across States and Territories

  • analyse crime data looking for patterns and emerging trends

  • help to develop crime policies, crime prevention strategies and policing strategies

  • attend crime scenes and interview criminals to gather data

  • compile statistics and reports on the justice system, types of crime and demographics

  • propose ways in which justice system resources can be used more effectively

  • propose ways in which the law can keep up with societal changes, such as cybercrime.

Working conditions

Criminology is a very small occupation. Criminologists may work in universities teaching criminology, justice and sociology while conducting their own research. Federal and state justice agencies such as research and statistics institutes, police, courts and correctional authorities employ criminologists as researchers, assessors and policy advisers. Others are in private practice providing consulting services for law reform, justice, forensic psychology, behavioural science, or crime statistics.

As a criminologist you would work a standard number of hours per week. Depending on your role, you may also be called out to crime scenes at unusual hours.

You would be based in an office and usually work for the government, a tertiary education institution or in private industry. You may travel to places such as prisons and community-based correctional centres for interviews.

Education and training/entrance requirements

Criminology subjects are taught within several Australian colleges and universities at the diploma, degree and higher levels. At university some students doing other degrees such as law, science and psychology may also do criminology subjects as part of their elective choices. There are generally no formal prerequisites, but most universities will require a good score in Year 12 English, in addition to an appropriate tertiary entrance for the degree course you do.

People wishing to make a specialised career out of their criminological studies generally need to complete at least a four year degree (BA with honours). Australian Institute of Criminology staff include people with qualifications in sociology, psychology, law, behavioural science, and justice studies. Statistical, analytical, and research skills are well regarded.

Did You Know? 


The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) is Australia’s national research and knowledge centre on crime and justice. The Institute seeks to promote justice and reduce crime by undertaking and communicating evidence-based research to inform policy and practice.

The AIC was established in 1973 under the Criminology Research Act 1971. Since July 1, 2011 the Australian Institute of Criminology, a Commonwealth statutory authority, is regulated under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act).

The functions of the AIC include conducting criminological research; communicating the results of research; conducting or arranging conferences and seminars; and publishing material arising out of the AIC’s work.
(Source: The Conversation)





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