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


This unit sets out from the premise that there is nothing quite as practical as a sound theory and critically engages with a number of influential criminological theories including classical criminology, positivist theories (focused on individual pathology), sociological explanations such as anomie, conflict, social control and labelling theories, as well as recent critical and postmodern criminology. The unit discusses the relevance of these theories and perspectives to the study of the contemporary criminal justice system. General principles of criminal law and criminal responsibility, including the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof, the basis for criminalisation and the mechanisms by which the criminal law measures harm and culpability, are considered. Specific case studies are drawn from a wide field.

6 points

Students are able to (1) develop knowledge and understanding of the major criminological theories; (2) understand the strengths and limitations of these theories; (3) become aware of general principles of criminal law; and (4) become aware of the main features of the criminal justice process.


This comprises a take-home test and a 5000-word essay.

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

Unit Coordinator(s)
Thomas Crofts, University of Sydney
Contact hours
offered intensively
  • 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.