Criminological Theories - 2018

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 14 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sess 1
  • Availability for 2018: Sess 1
  • Assessment: Assignment - Weekly Topic Questions (50%) , Essay - Research Essay (50%)

Unit provided by

2018 Fees
Domestic 2,625.00
International 2,875.00

This is a survey unit that aims to introduce students to the central concepts of modern theories of crime, linkages with their historic antecedents and criteria for evaluating theoretical validity. A range of different perspectives will be presented covering the dominant sociological and psychological explanations of crime and criminality. On completion, students will have an understanding of the nature of theory, the ideas of key theorists and have the ability to critically evaluate theoretical explanations.

Using an inter-disciplinary approach, this course explores how offenders and offending have been conceptualised, and the consequent implications for the criminal justice system. There is a diverse range of theoretical frameworks used to understand crime; in this unit we will particularly focus on sociological, psychological and biological perspectives. The types of policies and interventions which have been promoted, and adopted, have been influenced by the extent to which weight is given to individual, social or environmental factors.

This unit will consider how different theoretical approaches can be applied to understand a selection of contemporary crime problems, the strengths and weaknesses of different explanations and the implications for prevention and intervention.

After successfully completing this unit you should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the breadth and diversity of criminological theories from a psychological, biological and sociological perspective.
  2. Critically compare and contrast the utility, strengths and limitations of different theoretical approaches to explaining the causes of offending and the implications for public policy
  3. Demonstrate written and verbal communication skills applying critical thinking, analysis and application to a real world context
  • Assignment — Weekly Topic Questions (50%)
  • Essay — Research Essay (50%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Putting Theory into Context
2Biological and Psychological Theories
3Introduction to Sociological Theory
4Understanding Youth Offending
5The Problem of Arson
6The Problem of Fraud
7Situational Factors
8Labelling and Restorative Justice
9Crime from a Gendered Perspective
10Applying Theory Race and Ethnicity
11The Victimiology Perspective
12From Theory to Public Policy

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • Printable format materials

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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