What will I study?
Your course structure
The Bachelor of Arts requires the successful completion of 24 subjects (300-points), including at least one major. Most students study eight subjects each year (usually four subjects in each semester) for three years full-time, or the part-time equivalent.
Most Arts majors require 100 points of study (usually eight subjects) for attainment. This means out of your 300-point program, you have the opportunity to achieve two majors in your course.
Completing your major
If you are taking Criminology as a major, you must complete:
- One level 1 (usually first year) elective subject
- One Arts Foundation subject (MULT10018 Power is highly recommended)
- One level 2 compulsory subject (usually second year)
- 25 points (usually two subjects) of level 2 elective subjects (with a maximum of 12.5 points in non-core elective subjects)
- 25 points (usually two subjects) of level 3 elective subjects (with a maximum of 12.5 points in non-core elective subjects)
- One level 3 (usually third year) capstone subject
If you are taking Criminology as a minor, you must complete:
- One level 1 compulsory subject (usually first year)
- One Arts Foundation subject (MULT10018 Power is highly recommended)
- 12.5 points (usually one subjects) of level 2 compulsory subjects
- 37.5 points (usually three subjects) of level 2 or level 3 elective subjects
Breadth is a unique feature of the Melbourne Model. It gives you the chance to explore subjects outside of arts, developing new perspectives and learning to collaborate with others who have different strengths and interests — just as you will in your future career.
Some of our students use breadth to explore creative interests or topics they have always been curious about. Others used breadth to improve their career prospects by complementing their major with a language, communication skills or business expertise.
Aida Zepcan is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Criminology and Sociology
Studying Criminology and Sociology has provided me with an interdisciplinary skill set that has made me think critically about dominant discourses, and both domestic and global systems of domination and resistance.
One of my favourite subjects in the Criminology major has been Crime and Culture. This subject looks at how crime is represented within popular culture, television and films. Within the Criminology major I was fortunate enough to study a breadth of criminological subjects, some tackling troubling topics such as terrorism, youth crime, and indigenous overrepresentation within Australian prisons. Crime and Culture allowed me to analyse in depth some of my favourite crime dramas and films while also unpacking how these films and television shows change or strengthen society’s idea of what crime is.
I believe that the criminal justice system in Australia fails to accept multilayered identities and responds to crime through a very narrow lens. The criminal justice system in Australia has neglected the experiences and often confounding disadvantages faced by the Indigenous population – disadvantages that stem from colonisation – which continue to propel rates of recidivism among these populations.
Studying Criminology has also allowed me to delve deep into the psychologies of criminals while also learning about the criminological theories that underpin justice responses on both a national and international level.
I am currently applying for my Masters, which I plan to undertake overseas in ethnic nationalism and intercultural conflict – a topic very close to my heart, being a child of refugee parents.
I believe that an academic understanding of the processes of migration and cultural conflicts is vital for the development of adequate policies and interventions surrounding refugees and immigration, and I hope that one day I can use my own studies to propel positive change within these fields.
Explore this major
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this major.
Arts Foundation subjects
Who we are and what we do is all tangled up in our identity. This subject considers how identities are constructed and maintained through mediated processes of self and other. The subject investigates the myriad demands and devices that figure in constructing our senses of self and other (including language, leisure, beliefs and embodied practices). By exploring identity in diverse contexts, across time and place, the subject maps varying conceptions of self and other and how these conceptions are constructed and maintained. A key focus is on how these mediated conceptions of self and other are translated into material practices of inclusion, exclusion, discrimination, violence and criminalisation.
Language plays a central role in the central disciplinary areas in the humanities and social sciences. This subject gives students tools for thinking about language in a range of disciplines, including linguistics, history, sociology, politics, literary studies, anthropology, language studies, psychology and psychoanalytic theory. It shows how language can be analysed as a system, but also how language features centrally in politcal and social contexts: for example, in the processing of the claims of asylum seekers, in developing views of ethnicity, race and nation, and in colonialism; and in the construction of gendered and sexual identity. The role of language in the psyche, and the process of acquisition of languages in children and in adults, are also important topics. Knowing how to think about language, and familiarity with the main thinkers who have discussed language in a range of humanities and social science disciplines, provide an indispensable basis for study in any area of the Arts degree.
The idea of power is a way to grasp the character of social relations. Investigating power can tell us about who is in control and who may benefit from such arrangements. Power can be a zero-sum game of domination. It can also be about people acting together to enact freedom. This subject examines the diverse and subtle ways power may be exercised. It considers how power operates in different domains such as markets, political systems and other social contexts. It also examines how power may be moderated by such things as regulation and human rights. A key aim is to explore how differing perspectives portray power relations and how issues of power distribution may be characterised and addressed.
Reason, many believe, is what makes us human. Until recently, most scientists and philosophers agreed that the ability to use the mind to analyse and interpret the world is something intrinsic to the nature of our species. Reason has a long and extraordinary history. We will explore a number of inter-related themes: the nature of reason from Ancient Greece to our contemporary world; the ever shifting relationship between reason and faith; reason's place in the development of scientific experimentation and thinking; shifting perspectives about the uses of Reason and, finally, how reason relates to theories of the mind, exploring the tensions between reason, the passions and the will.
Reason will take you on a journey from Plato's cave to the neuro-scientists' lab. We will visit revolutions in science, thinking and politics. We will explore the impact of some of the great philosophers of history, including Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Bentham, Coleridge, Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault and many more besides. By the end of this subject you will have a deep understanding of the importance of the idea of reason to human history and philosophy. You might, even, be able to answer the question: 'does reason exist?'
Reason is an Arts Foundation Subject and we will argue that understanding the history and philosophy of reason provides great insights into many aspects of the humanities from political philosophy to understanding history. We will, of course, be paying particular attention to the foundational skills that will help you successfully complete your Arts major: particularly critical thinking and argument development.
- First Peoples in a Global Context12.5
First Peoples in a Global Context
This subject will provide students with an introduction to the complexity, challenges and richness of Australian Indigenous life and cultures. Drawing on a wide range of diverse and dynamic guest lecturers, this subject gives students an opportunity to encounter Australian Indigenous knowledges, histories and experiences through interdisciplinary perspectives. Across three thematic blocks - Indigenous Knowledges, Social and Political Contexts and Representation/Self-Representation - this subject engages contemporary cultural and intellectual debate. Social and political contexts will be considered through engagement with specific issues and a focus on Indigenous cultural forms, which may include literature, music, fine arts, museum exhibitions and performance, will allow students to consider self-representation as a means by which to disrupt and expand perceptions of Aboriginality.
Humans grapple with representations of themselves and their contexts. They also like to imagine other possible worlds. We use words, language, images, sounds and movement to construct narratives and stories, large and small, about the trivial and the profound, the past and the future. These representations can help us to understand worlds but they can also create worlds for us. This subject explores how different genres such as speech, writing, translation, film, theatre and art generate representations of social life, imagination and the human condition. A key aim of the subject is to develop a critical appreciation of how language, images and embodied gestures are used to construct empowering and disempowering discourses.
- From Graffiti to Terrorism12.5
From Graffiti to Terrorism
This subject explores the motivations underpinning particular types of criminal behaviour. It begins with an overview of various definitions and ways of measuring crime and then looks at the causes of specific offences ranging through graffiti, to animal cruelty, to armed robbery, to illicit drug use, to terrorism. Wherever possible, the words and rationales of offenders are used to give a more grounded insight into the reasons for criminal behaviour. Overall, the course has been designed to facilitate: discussion of criminal events which feature prominently in the public mind and/or the popular media; discussion of the relationship between the perceived causes of crime and responses to criminal offending by police, courts and corrections; and discussion of the implicit models of personhood, choice, gender, economic position, geographic location, peer group dynamics and other variables underpinning particular theories of criminal behaviour and formal and informal mechanisms for controlling such behaviour.
- Law in Society12.5
Law in Society
Law in Society introduces students to theories, concepts, forms and practices of law in contemporary Australian society. It will provide a foundation both for socio-legal studies subjects in later years and for subjects in disciplines such as politics, criminology and law. In preparing students to engage critically with law, the subject looks at the ways that "harm" is constructed as a legal category. It encourages students to ask who is able to name something as either harmful, or not worthy of state intervention, and how this capacity to name effects socio-political relations. To develop this analysis, the subject discusses the norms that underpin the capacity to name particular practices as harmful, and engages critically with certain historical and current harms. Examples of such harms might include treachery, riot and disorder, terrorism, payback, the Northern Territory Emergency Response, torture, sado-masochistic sex acts, or female circumcision.
- Critical Analytical Skills12.5
Critical Analytical Skills
This subject introduces students to the fundamental analytic skills that are used in social science research. It provides an introduction to the theoretical and epistemological foundations of social science research, familiarises students with the different methods of inquiry in the social sciences and provides an overview of key historical and contemporary debates and trends. Different theoretical approaches and their associated methods of inquiry will be introduced through practical examples in order to show their strengths and limitations.
- Criminal Law and Political Justice12.5
Criminal Law and Political Justice
Criminal law has a central importance in criminology, since it is the criminal law which determines the legality or illegality of behaviours. This subject studies social and political dimensions of the criminal law as it governs institutional processes and the construction of criminality. The first section of the course covers differences in the ways that criminal law and criminology construct social issues as crime, with particular emphasis on the legal processes of criminal justice. The next sections provide substantive examinations of different aspects of the social and political dimensions of criminal law with particular emphasis on topical areas currently subject to contestation and change: such as the regulation of public space; and the ways in which the criminal law seeks to regulate the production of images.
This subject introduces students to the historical, political and social forces which shape police organisations, policies and practices. The subject covers the origins, functions and structures of contemporary policing , and identifies key emerging issues and challenges in policing such as the effectiveness of policing in crime control, the emergence of community policing, police culture, police misbehaviour and accountability, organisational change and organisational renewal. The emphasis is upon public (state) policing sector and to 21st century developments in multi-agency policing. Upon completion of the subject, students should be able to analyse critically current developments in policing in terms of their historical, theoretical, political and functional contexts.
- Genders, Bodies & Sexualities12.5
Genders, Bodies & Sexualities
Bodies, genders and sexualities are at the heart of many contemporary social, cultural and political debates. Bodies in the plural are the focus of this subject - fat bodies and perfect bodies and trans bodies and leaky bodies, for example - and are analysed through a discussion of contemporary social research and an exploration of visual depictions (including advertising, film, music videos, photography). This subject examines the nature of debates around bodies, genders and sexualities, questioning the how, why and the politics underpinning them.
- Australian Indigenous Politics12.5
Australian Indigenous Politics
The subject studies Australian indigenous politics in the comparative context of settler societies. First, it explores their historical dispossession and exclusion that left Indigenous people as citizens without rights, and economically and socially marginalized in their own country. Second, it evaluates the ongoing processes of recognition and inclusion, including anti-discrimination measures, land rights, state and federal policy measures, social policy and Indigenous initiatives that have marked the uneven path to reconciliation and recognition of the full rights and entitlements of Indigenous people, including special group rights and compensation.
- Terrorism: Shifting Paradigms12.5
Terrorism: Shifting Paradigms
This subject examines the various dimensions of terrorism and its manifestations. This includes the nation state's capacity to authorise and to create the conditions for the practices known as terrorism. In this subject we interrogate the role of the nation state and the rhetoric/s of anti-terrorism that both produce and contain acts known as terrorism. We look at the psychology of both the nation state and the terrorist through different anaytical approaches. To this end we examine the function of different terrorist acts - including suicide bombing in Iraq, Israel/Palestine, London and New York, assassinations and bombings in Northern Ireland and England, and practices of state terror in the context of acts of genocide, disappearance and torture. All of these examinations are used to assist in trying to think about a new way of conceptualizing violence performed by the state, the individual and the group.
- Order, Disorder, Crime, Deviance12.5
Order, Disorder, Crime, Deviance
This subject analyses the nature of social order and how need for order brings an inevitable consequence that deviance and non-conformity will result. Classical and contemporary sociological and criminological theories are explored that help explain the nature of social order and crime and deviance. Each theory is developed through grounded examples that can illustrate both its strengths and weaknesses. Topics covered in the course include suicide, industrial disasters, religious cults, sexual assault, racism, terrorism and the witchcraze of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe.
- Punishment and Social Control12.5
Punishment and Social Control
This subject is designed to introduce students to the major forms and structures of punishment in our society. The subject examines why we punish individuals, how we do so, and how the punishment process can be viewed in a wider social context. The first part of this subject considers the broad justifications for punishment, and experiences of imprisonment with particular emphasis on hidden groups such as female and indigenous prisoners. We consider the process of punishment, from sentencing to imprisonment and punishment in the community. The second part of the subject examines the work of major writers who have provided a theoretical critique of punishment and the role it plays in our society. By the end of the subject students should have a good understanding of the correctional system and be familiar with the work of important theorists like Foucault, Cohen and Garland.
- Law, Justice and Social Change12.5
Law, Justice and Social Change
Law, Justice and Social Change examines the ways in which law can be seen and used as both an instrument of positive social change and yet also as a means of confirming existing social arrangements and resisting social change. Through a series of case studies, it critically reflects on the key goals of law reform (such as access to justice and equality) and different ways of understanding what constitutes a just outcome. It looks at a selection of issues such as gender politics, ethnicity, race, disability, indigenous politics, class and economic struggles and sexual orientation and social dissent. There is also a strong practical component to the subject - students learn about the law reform process and choose a current law reform issue to consider in light of the issues discussed in the subject and interview a staff member from a community legal centre or government body involved in writing a report or submission that advocates for legal change. These organisations have in the past included the Human Rights Law Centre, Youthlaw, Victorian Council of Social Services, YACVic, Liberty Victoria, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, JobWatch, Berry Street, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. the Mental Health Legal Centre, amongst others.
- Cybercrime and Digital Criminology12.5
Cybercrime and Digital Criminology
Whilst mobile and social media benefit society in many ways, they have also given rise to a range of cybercrimes and online harms. In this subject we examine the origins, nature, and prevalence of a range of cybercrimes and online harms. Further, through considering cybercrimes in the context of recent debates within criminology, sociology, media studies and software studies, we consider the unique challenges of preventing and regulating these online forms of harm. Finally, we look at the opportunities the Internet provides for responding to crimes, through addressing how victims of crime have sought justice through social media and online activism. Topics covered in the course include hacking, revenge porn, online abuse, phishing, antisocial media, and illicit drug distribution through dark net cryptomarkets.
- Crime and Culture12.5
Crime and Culture
Cinema and television have become immensely popular and influential cultural forms. This subject investigates the relationship between crime and culture by focusing on representations of crime and justice in film and television. The subject considers these representations in the context of recent debates about the cultural construction of crime in criminology, socio-legal studies, cultural studies and film theory. It will develop the skills necessary for analyzing images of crime and justice in film and television and will also examine a number of case studies (including television crime drama, police procedurals and trial movies, cinematic fascination with the serial killer, cinematic representations of 9/11, and the cinematic depiction of violence and gender).
- Managing Justice: Agencies and the State12.5
Managing Justice: Agencies and the State
This subject examines the intersections between social justice and criminal justice in the state's management of individuals and groups it considers to be at risk of harming, or being harmed, by others. Its core interests are to explore the relationship between different agencies and the state in the management of criminal justice in Victoria; the broader socio-political and historical context in which they operate; and the theory-practice nexus. To complement scholarly perspectives on complex social concerns, (including, for example, in relation to youth justice; family violence and sexual assault; mental illness; drug and alcohol use; imprisonment detention), guest lecturers from local agencies and institutions will discuss contemporary practices of criminal justice management in Victoria and their implications for social justice more broadly. Students are encouraged to theorise, historicise, analyse and reflect upon these matters including with reference to a particular case study. The subject encourages critical reflection on the discipline and practice of criminology and holds additional appeal for those intending to work in criminal justice/social justice fields immediately after graduation, as well as those keen to pursue further studies (including internship options) at Honours, Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) or Masters level.
- Young People, Crime and Justice12.5
Young People, Crime and Justice
This subject charts the experiences that young people have as subjects and resistors of social control, victims of crime and young offenders. These experiences are contextualised by an appreciation of youth crime and justice as products of historical, theoretical and political junctures which have variously sought to protect, treat or punish. The first part of the subject critically explores young people and social control; considering the boundaries between rights and responsibilities, anti-social behaviour and crime and adolescence and adulthood. The second part of the subject considers young people in relation to crime- as victim-survivors and offenders. The third part of the subject analyses the system and process of youth justice in Australia.
- Australian Indigenous Public Policy12.5
Australian Indigenous Public Policy
The subject examines the governance arrangements that have shaped the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since settlement. Prior to, at the time of, and since Federation, Indigenous Australians have been uniquely affected by a range of public policy settings, approaches and frameworks. Part One of the subject introduces students to foundational concepts in public policy making and then critically examines different ‘epochs’ in Australian Indigenous Public Policy: elimination, assimilation, self-determination and intervention. Part Two will explore various policies across these periods that have shaped Indigenous Australians’ experiences of land, family, health, education, employment and justice in different ways. Across both parts, students will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge about historical and contemporary political controversies, including: the Don Dale controversy, the refusal of The Uluru Statement from the Heart, the Closing the Gap framework and others. Students will be expected to use knowledge of particular cases to examine the social, political and institutional challenges that shape the landscape of contemporary Australian Indigenous Public Policy.
- Law in Social Theory12.5
Law in Social Theory
Law in Social Theory builds upon issues introduced in Law in Society, and Law, Justice and Social Change. Through a seminar-style format, it examines the theories of the function and role of law propounded by a range of social and legal theorists and movements, including Jürgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann, Patricia Williams, Pierre Bourdieu, Catharine McKinnon, and others. Students examine these different theories of how law works and law's role, using them as a lens on questions of justice and crime. Each week these theories are considered in light of and tested against contemporary criminological and socio-legal problems selected by the students and the lecturer. Case studies in the past have included Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, and the Review of the Australian Defence Force's Treatment of Women. The purpose of the course is thus two-fold: to become familiar with different theories of the function of law in relation to society, and to consider the insight these theories bring to different criminological and socio-legal problems.
- Crime and Public Policy12.5
Crime and Public Policy
Many criminology graduates find themselves researching, developing and applying crime policy in government, political and other contexts. This subject helps prepare students for such work. As well as providing an overview of factors shaping policy in Australia and other countries, it reviews challenges associated with making theory relevant in practical contexts. Emphasis is on exploring contemporary issues of public policy such as control of the sex industry, drug law reform, HIV policy, public drunkenness, multiculturalism and the interlinking themes of these public issues. The subject also draws on sociological, psychoanalytic and philosophical theory to help understand opportunities for, and obstacles to, the introduction or reform of public policy. Specific theorists used include Foucault, Zizek, Marx, Butler, Deleuze and poststructural feminist theory. These theorists are used to consider the philosophies that underpin rationales for deciding what is deserving of state intervention and comment as either public policy or criminalization.
- Global Criminology12.5
Global Criminology examines crime and deviance from on a global scale. A new area of criminological research, this subject focuses on crime problems that have typically gone below the criminological radar. The subject will ask students to think about the problem of crime outside the traditional parameters of criminological study. This will include crimes that cross national borders, new forms of organised crime, crimes committed by nation states and new, trans-national, definitions of criminal conduct. In this subject students will encounter case studies of crimes from a variety of global locations and will engage with up to the minute criminological research and theorising that attempts to understand and explain this new phenomenon of global crime. On completion of the subject, students should have an understanding of how 21st century crime challenges traditional ways of thinking about crime, defining and penalising criminal conduct and establishing a global notion of 'justice'.
- Corporate Power and White Collar Crime12.5
Corporate Power and White Collar Crime
This subject analyses the crimes and harms of the powerful. The subject examines the relationship between government, business and law both theoretically and through a series of case studies to explore the reasons behind business harms and crimes and why they are so difficult to tackle. The subject traces three different entry points into crimes of the powerful: corporate and white collar crime; business corruption and crimes of the powerful in a globalised economy. Students will explore a range of criminological theories that can help explain the harms perpetuated by the powerful as well as the techniques employed by the state in regulating white-collar and corporate misconduct. This includes the challenges of defining such harm as criminal and the strengths and weaknesses of trying to use the criminal law in curbing such activities. Case studies are used to deepen student's understanding of the breadth of such crime and harm as well as the the similarities and differences between them. Case studies include complex financial fraud, industrial disasters, professional misconduct, tax avoidance and environmental harm.
- Applied Research Methods12.5
Applied Research Methods
This subject provides students with training in applied social science research methods. Students will learn how to connect a research question with appropriate research design and methodology and acquire practical skills in utilising different research methods and tools, including analysing data and presenting results. The subject will enable students to develop a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods and the practical skills to carry out social science research.