cccc Photographers pursue gangland figure Carl Williams after his associate, Andrew Veniamin, was shot dead in 2004. Deakin’s criminology course looks at media portrayal of crime, along with criminal behaviour, law, terrorism and ethics. Photo: Angela Wylie

Bachelor of criminology at Deakin University

What’s this degree all about?

It’s about trying to understand why some behaviours are defined as criminal, and why certain people become criminals, explains Darren Palmer, associate professor of criminology at Deakin University. Students start by considering crime, theories about behaviour and our responses to it. As you progress through this degree, you’ll get to explore everything from sentencing, law, terrorism and ethics to international and comparative criminal justice. There’s a course looking at the way the media portrays crime and a new one in surveillance studies.

Surveillance studies?

According to Dr Palmer, there has been a shift in surveillance methods in the past 10 years. This course will look at the legal powers of surveillance agencies to collect mega-data, as well as at the impact of changing surveillance techniques on society.

Now, that’s very topical.

You bet. Keeping current, there is also a course in “sex, crime and justice in an electronic age” and a course in crime prevention and security.

Cool. So who signs up?

About 80 students every year. “Criminology is booming,” says Dr Palmer, who says matters relating to crime, justice and security have become more pressing in the past 15 years. “They’re part of our everyday thoughts,” he says. “Students have a desire to have a richer understanding of what’s going on.” Most students come straight from school and two-thirds are female, he says. Though this course is taught at Deakin’s campus at Waurn Ponds, in Geelong, one-third of students are off-campus with the course available online. You’ll need an ATAR score of about 60 to 70. What’s more, you could be finished in just two years.

How’s that?

With Deakin’s trimester model, it’s possible to complete the degree in two years, though there is no requirement to do so. On graduation, students often look for police or security work. Some go on to work for the public service, federal agencies or non-government organisations dealing with some aspect of criminal justice.

What will it cost?

In 2013, students with a Commonwealth-supported place on this course could expect to pay about $6150 for the year.

What do students have to say?

Erin Byrt, 21, is doing a double degree pairing criminology and law, and is in her fourth of six years. She is enjoying the criminology major, and has found some of the electives, such as terrorism and transnational crime, particularly interesting. She notes that the use of peer mentoring, in which students read and reflect on each other’s work, is “incredibly useful”. “I started to notice great things about other people’s work and flaws in my own,” she says.

Where will I find more info?

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.