Griffith University logo

Postgraduate | GRF-CCJ742-2023

Criminological Theories

Through the lens of sociological, psychological and biological perspectives, you’ll appreciate how offenders and offending have been conceptualized. Use your learning to articulate the resulting implications on the criminal justice system.

Study method

100% online


100% online

Entry requirements

Part of a degree


13 weeks

Start dates

  • 06 Mar 2023

FEE-HELP available

About this subject

What you'll learn

After successfully completing this subject 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
    • Putting Theory into Context
    • Biological and Psychological Theories
    • Introduction to Sociological Theory
    • Violence on the Road
    • The Problem of Arson
    • The Problem of Fraud
    • Situational Factors
    • Labelling and Restorative Justice
    • Crime from a Gendered Perspective
    • Applying Theory Race and Ethnicity
    • The Victimiology Perspective
    • From Theory to Public Policy
  • This is a survey subject 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 subject 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 subject 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 subject 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.

    • Research Essay (50%)
    • Weekly Topic Questions (50%)
  • For textbook details check your university's handbook, website or learning management system (LMS).

  • With a network of campuses spanning three cities in South East Queensland, Griffith University is committed to progressive multidisciplinary teaching and research and a valuable online provider with Open Universities Australia. Already attracting students from over one hundred countries, Griffith's dedication to academic excellence is available across Australia through OUA.

    Learn more about Griffith.

    Explore Griffith courses.

    QS Ranking 2023: 19

    Times Higher Education Ranking 2023: 16

Entry requirements

Part of a degree

To enrol in this subject you must be accepted into one of the following degrees:


  • GRF-MCJ-GCE-2023 - Graduate Certificate in Criminology and Criminal Justice


  • UNE-PRO-GCE-2023 - Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice
  • OUA-PSU-GCE-2023 - Postgraduate Single Subjects

Additional requirements

No additional requirements

Related degrees

Once you’ve completed this subject it can be credited towards one of the following degrees