Australian Institute of Criminology

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Study and career opportunities in criminology

What do criminologists do?

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. 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.

Many people studying or working in criminology are members of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, or ANZSOC and keep in touch with news and developments through Crimnet.

How do I get into criminology?

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.

Check with the tertiary admission centres for further information.

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.

Visit the criminology studies pages for more information.

Working in criminology

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.

Visit the criminology careers pages for more information about related careers.

The Australian Institute of Criminology's work

The Institute is a research body, and does not offer courses in criminology. However, by looking at the different areas of the website such as conferences, research,  publications and  crime and criminal justice topics, you will be given an overview of the kind of work the Institute does. There are also  staff profiles which will give you an idea of the types of academic qualifications and employment backgrounds held by current AIC researchers.

The Institute offers a number of work experience internships for eligible university students. These are advertised on the website in the second half of each calendar year.

Visit the  positions vacant page for more information about vacancies at the AIC.