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CRIM1004 - Theoretical Criminology

Criminology Unit


One trimester



Credit points: 




Mode(s) of delivery:




Unit Objective

To introduce students to the major theories prevalent in criminological thought, and engage students in the evaluation of these theories

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Identify the major theoretical perspectives within criminology;
  • Understand the historical, intellectual and political origins of these perspectives;
  • Identify areas of the criminal justice system where these theories have been influential;
  • Understand and apply key concepts and terms within criminology;
  • Discuss critically the strengths and weaknesses of techniques used to measure, classify, define and respond to crime and criminality.

Unit Content

The unit commences by introducing students to the broader perspectives and orientations within which criminological theories are situated.  Students will then compare the various definitions of crime, including the legal, human rights and labelling definitions.  Following an introduction to these foundational concepts, students will then examine major criminological theories, beginning with Classicism, Positivism and social theories.  Labelling perspectives will then be introduced, and the sociological origins of these models explored.  The final major theoretical areas to be outlined are the conflict and radical perspectives, Marxist and Feminist perspectives.  The critical ideas inherent in these models will be used to analyse the assumptions of previously analysed theories. The contemporary perspectives of New Right Criminology and Left Realism will also be examined, and the unit will conclude by examining Critical Criminology’s post-modern and structuralist approaches. 

Throughout the unit, students will examine the historical and social contexts within which theories have arisen, as well as their current relevance the Australian criminal justice system and society.  

Unit Workload

1 x 2 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial each week for 12 weeks. The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week

Assessment summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of trimester.