Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


True crime podcasts, criminal underworlds, serial killers, outlaw biker gangs, police corruption, dark tourism, environmental crime, Indigenous massacre sites and celebrity criminals. This unit explores an alternative history of Australia's criminal underbelly. It looks at true-crime documentaries and ethical considerations surrounding it, the culture and customs of organised crime, the minds and traits of serial killers, media depictions of high-profile female crime suspects, the evolution of criminal profiling, the policing of the colonial frontier and marginalised groups, and Rottnest Island's prison history. It also considers how Australia packages, markets and exploits its criminal heritage – and what it chooses to include and what it ignores. Students will come away with an understanding of Australia's dark criminal history; how it has shaped modern institutional practice in criminology, law, criminal psychology, media and marketing; and what lessons have been learnt from the past and what have still to be learned.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History; Criminology; Criminology and Criminal Justice major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) distinguish between different source types, historical theories and research methodologies; (2) identify, interpret and analyse historical evidence; (3) critique the merits of contrasting historical arguments; (4) apply archival and digital research skills to construct historical knowledge; (5) present research findings in oral form and engage in group discussion; and (6) work with other students on key historical questions and debates.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research essay; (2) reflective commentary; and (3) workshop performance. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor David Barrie
Unit rules
Successful completion of
two level 1 6 points Unit(s)
Advisable prior study
Any level 1 history, criminology, law and society, psychology unit.
Contact hours
Two-hour workshops and up to 45-minute online lectures for up to 12 weeks
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.