University of Technology Sydney

98000 Introduction to Criminology

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: International Studies: International Studies and Global Societies
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


This subject introduces students to essential concepts, central issues and theoretical foundations, in the field of criminology. The subject focuses on defining crime, explaining how and why crimes are committed, how societies respond to crime, including the role of policing, prisons and community corrections as well as the changing nature of crime over time and in different social contexts. Through case studies, students develop foundational skills and knowledge necessary for work in the contemporary criminology sector/field.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Explain criminological concepts and theories, and historical and contemporary perspectives of the discipline and allied professions.
b. Describe the functions of the criminal justice system and its key players.
c. Critically analyse and explain the institutional frameworks and principal sites of criminal justice intervention and their effects.
d. Critically examine crime and crime responses and their impacts on vulnerable and marginalised groups, including Indigenous Australians.
e. Use the work of major theorists and authors to inform a criminological understanding of crime and crime responses.
f. Develop professional capability by being professional in all communications and conduct with others, and through the presentation of assignments.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (INT = International Studies CILOs):

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the criminal justice system and existing and emerging threats to justice, public safety and property (1.1)
  • Apply and evaluate methodologies, technologies and practices relevant to contemporary criminology for policy formulation, risk analysis and stakeholder cooperation (1.2)
  • Employ skills in critical analysis, problem solving, data literacy to analyse and respond to criminal justice and social policy challenges within organisations, communities and systems of governance (2.1)
  • Analyse crime as a global phenomenon and explain how different jurisdictions define and respond to current and emerging trends in crime (3.1)
  • Examine the impact of historical and contemporary legal and criminal justice policies and practices upon Indigenous peoples and communities (4.1)
  • Act with personal and ethical integrity and demonstrate social responsibility, demonstrating a critical understanding of the links between criminal law, criminal process, criminalization, poverty, disadvantage and justice (5.1)
  • Convey complex concepts clearly, logically and effectively in written and oral forms to a variety of audiences (6.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Teaching and learning opportunities in this subject utilise recorded lectures and explanations to be reviewed as preparation for interactive and practical weekly sessions where students discuss and analyse current and contemporary issues. Students are expected to complete all preparation activities prior to attending their class session. Formative online activities (discussions, unmarked quizzes, polls) and the low-stakes quiz-assessments allow students to track their progress and improve their comprehension of the material and their study skills.

Throughout the subject students develop a broad skillset such as information finding and gathering, critical thinking and analysis, along with developing their written and oral communication skills, that are useful in preparing future practitioners in criminological careers. Assessments contribute to the development of these capacities and deepen knowledge of the subject content.

An aim of this subject is to help students develop academic and professional language and communication skills in order to succeed at university and in the workplace. To determine their current academic language proficiency, students are required to complete an online language screening task, OPELA (information available at Students who receive a Basic grade for OPELA must attend additional Language Development Tutorials (each week from week 3 to week 12 in order to pass the subject. These tutorials are designed to support students to develop their language and communication skills. Students who do not complete the OPELA and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a Fail X grade.

Content (topics)

This subject introduces students to criminology both as a discipline and as a profession by exploring two overarching themes: Understanding crime and Responding to crime. Students begin their learning in the subject with theme 1 and consider what crime is and how crime is defined; this involves canvassing a range of crime types such as violent crime, transnational crime, cybercrime and sex crimes. This introductory subject then moves on to study criminological theories and victimology. In the first part of the subject, students also examine crime through a lens of demography which also includes exploring crime, justice and Indigenous peoples.

Under the second theme underpinning this subject, students explore coverage of how crime is responded to. This part of the learning involves understanding the criminal justice system and a range of institutions who seek to both prevent and reduce crime. This second theme in the subject focuses on a range of professions aligned to the discipline of criminology such the police, prison officers, probation and community corrections officers as well as research and policy professionals.


Assessment task 1: Quizzes



Weight: 30%

Students will have a testing window of 30 hours in which to complete the quiz.

10 questions/quiz.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Accuracy of answers 100 a 1.1, 4.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Short answer response


a, c, d and f

Weight: 30%

1250 words (sum of all responses; indicative lengths for each answer will be provided. References are required but not included in word length).

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Coherence and comprehensiveness of answer (Q1) 20 a, d 3.1
Depth and relevance of supporting research and evidence (Q1) 20 a, d 3.1
Coherence and comprehensiveness of answer (Q2) 20 c, d, f 5.1
Degree of accuracy and insight in application of theory (Q2) 25 c, d, f 5.1
Clarity of written communication 10 f 6.1
Accuracy and completeness of referencing 5 f 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Multi-media Infographic


a, b, c, d, e and f

Weight: 40%

1250 words (references and visuals excluded)

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Depth and relevance of research and evidence 30 b, c 1.2
Depth and accuracy of analysis of crime impacts 30 a, c, d 4.1
Degree of insight into institutional response(s) 30 b, c, d, e 2.1
Clarity of written and visual communication 10 f 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

It is a requirement of this subject that all students complete OPELA [or a written diagnostic task]. Students who received a Basic grade in the OPELA [or the written diagnostic task] are required to attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials in order to pass the subject. Students who do not complete the OPELA and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a Fail X grade.

Required texts

Dalton, D., de Lint, W., and Palmer, D. [Eds] (2021). Crime and Justice: A Guide to Criminology. Sixth Edition. Pyrmont: Lawbook Co.


Ashworth, A., & Kelly, R. (2021). Sentencing and criminal justice. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Bagaric, M., Alexander, T., & Edney, R. (2018). Sentencing in Australia (6th Edition). Thomas Reuters.

Barberet, R. (2014). Women, crime and criminal justice: A global enquiry. Routledge.

Birch, P., & Herrington, V. (2011). Policing in practice. Palgrave Macmillan.

Birch, P., Kennedy, M., & Kruger, E. (Eds.). (2020). Australian Policing: Critical Issues in 21st Century Police Practice. Routledge.

Birch, P., & Sicard, L. (Eds.). (2020). Prisons and Community Corrections: Critical Issues and Emerging Controversies. Routledge.

Broadhurst, R. and Davies, S.E. (Eds.). (2009). Policing in Context: An Introduction to Police Work in Australia. Australia and New Zealand: Oxford University Press.

Burke, R. H. (2018). An introduction to criminological theory. Routledge.

Cunneen, C., Baldry, E., Brown, D., Brown, M., Schwartz, M., & Steel, A. (2016). Penal culture and hyperincarceration: The revival of the prison. Routledge.

Cunneen, C., & Tauri, J. (2016). Indigenous criminology. Policy Press.

Decker, S. H., & Marteache, N. (Eds.). (2017). International handbook of juvenile justice. Springer International Publishing.

Doerner, W. G. (2017). Victimology. Routledge.

Duncanson, K., & Henderson, E. (2021). Courthouse Architecture, Design and Social Justice. Routledge.

Hayes, H., & Prenzler, T. (2019). An introduction to crime and criminology. Fifth Edition. Pearson Australia.

Hucklesby, A., & Lister, S. (Eds.). (2017). The private sector and criminal justice. Springer.

Hudson, K. (2013). Offending identities. Willan.

Ireland, J. L., Ireland, C. A., & Birch, P. (Eds.). (2018). Violent and sexual offenders: Assessment, treatment and management. Routledge.

Lilly, J. R., Cullen, F. T., & Ball, R. A. (2018). Criminological theory: Context and consequences. Sage publications.

Prenzler, T. (2017). Understanding crime prevention: The case study approach. Australian Academic Press.

Rodas, A., Simpson, M., Rawlinson, P., Ryan, E., Kramer, R., Taylor, E., & Russell, E. (2020). Crime, Deviance and Society: An Introduction to Sociological Criminology. Cambridge University Press.

Ronel, N., & Segev, D. (Eds.). (2015). Positive criminology. Routledge.

Scott, D., & Flynn, N. (2014). Prisons & punishment: The essentials. Sage.

Strang, H., & Braithwaite, J. (Eds.). (2017). Restorative justice: Philosophy to practice. Routledge.

Sutton, A., Cherney, A., White, R., & Clancey, G. (2021). Crime prevention: Principles, perspectives and practices. Cambridge University Press.

Terrill, R. J. (2013). World criminal justice systems. Anderson Publishing, Limited.

Tilley, N. (2014). Crime prevention. Routledge.

Walklate, S. (Ed.). (2012). Handbook of victims and victimology. Routledge.

Zimring, F. E., Langer, M., & Tanenhaus, D. S. (Eds.). (2017). Juvenile justice in global perspective (Vol. 1). NYU Press.