Responding to rising interest in crime prevention and the need for more Australian research in the criminal justice sector, The University of Western Australia has launched a new criminology major.
Dr Joe Clare, Director of the Criminology major from UWA’s Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education said criminology had risen in popularity because people were becoming more interested in trying to understand offending behaviour.
“I think people want to know more about how the criminal justice system works,” Dr Clare said. “They want to experience it in a way that’s real, but without being an actual victim of crime themselves.”
The criminology major challenges students to apply criminological theory to analyse contemporary challenges relating to crime, victimisation, crime prevention and the criminal justice system.
“Criminology is an inherently interdisciplinary subject and most likely emerged from trying to understand deviant human behaviour but has since branched out to include a wide variety of disciplines,” Dr Clare said.
Students will study crime and criminal justice while drawing on knowledge and perspectives from a range of disciplines, including law, psychology, history, anthropology and geography.
“A criminology major is very policy relevant and is always topical, with students developing skills in research and the ability to deal with complex problems,” Dr Clare said.
“I think criminology is an excellent interdisciplinary major that you could include as part of an arts degree, but would also be a beneficial second major for any other undergraduate degree.
“The general skills obtained would allow graduates to take on a wide range of policy-related roles and specialist work in the criminal justice sector, such as policing, intelligence, corrections and managing offenders,” he said.
Companies that have a problem they are trying to prevent or a risk worth mitigating, such as insurance providers, would highly benefit from employing a criminology graduate.
In the future, Dr Clare would like to develop a strong honours program that could contribute towards advancing criminal justice research.
“There hasn’t been a research centre focusing on crime and justice in Western Australia for the last 10 years,” Dr Clare said.
“I’m hoping we can fill that void, develop momentum and lead interesting criminal justice evaluation research at UWA that will help inform and add value to public policy.”
For further information on UWA’s new major, visit the Criminology webpage.