Study Criminology

Criminology is a discipline in which a variety of approaches and theories are bought to bear on the study of crime and the criminal justice system. Criminologists have worked closely with government agencies in relation to the study and management of crime and the criminal justice system. This practical focus remains an important aspect of criminology. However, criminology also includes analytic and critical perspectives that explore the definition and construction of crime and examine the social processes through which individuals and groups are criminalised.

The Criminology program at the Western Sydney University provides students with a critical and reasoned understanding about the real nature of criminal offending and victimisation, and the police and criminal justice response to this. Our research and teaching program challenges commonsense assumptions about crime and emphasises the importance of the social and cultural forces shaping offending, victimisation and law enforcement and justice responses. Our interdisciplinary approach to criminology incorporates aspects of social science including sociology, politics, history, cultural studies, law and forensic studies, in our critical analysis and learning. We also work closely with industry partners in criminology and policing.

Criminology courses

Course NameLocationDurationATAR
Bachelor of Criminology Penrith; Liverpool 3F / 6P 68.30; 68.05
Bachelor of Criminal and Community Justice Penrith; Liverpool 3F / 6P 75.25; 72.15
Bachelor of Criminal and Community Justice / Bachelor of Social Work Liverpool 5F/10P 85.90
Bachelor of Criminal and Community Justice / Bachelor of Laws Penrith; Campbelltown; Bankstown; Parramatta 5F / 10P 95.00; 95.00;
Bachelor of Criminology / Bachelor of Laws Campbelltown; Parramatta 5F / 10P 95.00; 95.00
Bachelor of Social Science (Criminology and Criminal Justice) Penrith; Bankstown; Sydney City 3F / 6P 73.30; 68.25; 68.05
Bachelor of Science Criminology and Psychological Studies Online 3F / 6P 75.00

Career opportunities for Criminology graduates


Research involves compiling data, analysing trends and noting observations in the area of criminal and community justice. This work is recorded in reports that are used to assist with the development of that field.


Welfare work specifying in the area of criminal rehabilitation involves providing advice, direction and services that will assist in the transition of men and women from prison into life.

Correctional officer

Correctional officers work in prisons and correctional centres to ensure the safe supervision of inmates. Their duties involve observing prison behaviour, providing advice, administering first aid, assessing risk factors and preparing reports.

Police officer

With further training and/or qualifications, you may become a registered police officer. Police officers may specialise in certain areas including counter-terrorism, child protection or investigation to name a few. They are responsible with enforcing the law and detecting and preventing crime.

Juvenile justice worker

Working in juvenile justice may involve counselling, supervising or managing young people detained in a detention facility.

Academic Profile

Professor Stephen Tomsen

Stephen Tomsen is the Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at the University of Western Sydney. Previously he was Associate Dean / Research, University of Newcastle, Deputy Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology, and he held visiting fellowships and professorships in the United Kingdom (Birkbeck College, Keele University and University of Manchester)…

Read academic profile

Frequently Asked Questions

Why study criminology at the Western Sydney University?

  • Staff with national and international expertise
  • The most up to date criminology and policing curricula available
  • Motivated staff
  • Variety of expertise
  • Guidance and mentorship
  • Face to face work (lectures, tutorials)
  • On-line discussions
  • Fieldwork
  • Scholarships
  • Flexible
  • Knowledge that you can apply

What will I learn?

The Western Sydney University Criminology program provides students with a firm understanding of criminal justice institutions and practices, as well as:

  • criminological theories
  • forms and patterns of victimisation
  • crime prevention strategies and debates
  • juvenile justice
  • the evolution of prisons and different forms of punishment
  • law enforcement and surveillance
  • violence, gender and crime
  • cultural depictions of crime
  • contemporary debates in criminology.

Are there any research opportunities from studying Criminology?

The Criminology program at the Western Sydney University includes a number of areas of expertise, with a particular focus on:
  • Violence and gendered violence, including the study of violence against women, hate crimes, violence and sexuality, urban violence and disorder, masculinity and violence, and cultural depictions and meanings of crime and violence
  • Criminal justice systems, including the study of public and private policing, crime prevention, victim services, juvenile justice, community corrections, access to law and legal services