Bachelor of Arts

AUT School of Art + Design

Student Profile — Ben Mugisho

Benjamin Mugisho has long been passionate about justice and human rights. Now enrolled in AUT's Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Bachelor of Laws double degree, he hopes to turn his passion into a career as a criminal lawyer. Read Ben's story here.


Criminology is the study of the extent of crime, the effects of crime on victims and society, ways to prevent crime, the attributes of criminals, and the workings of the criminal justice system including the police, courts and prisons. Criminology is a great choice if you want a career in an organisation associated with the criminal justice system.

Throughout your studies you investigate and critically assess current approaches to crime and its regulation. You also develop your problem-solving skills related to criminology and criminal justice.

Structure and content

This major will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the field of criminology, drawing upon the theory and practice of both national and international contexts.

You will explore crime and its control in New Zealand and other jurisdictions. It is our goal to educate students to assess the research literature within the discipline and formulate critiques of current approaches to crime and its regulation. You will also be encouraged to think beyond critique and engage in problem solving.

Key skills students learn

  • Knowledge of contemporary debates within criminology in regards to New Zealand society
  • A comprehensive understanding of criminal justice institutions and crime in New Zealand
  • The ability to critically examine criminal justice policies and practices
  • Use of comparative paradigms to gain a greater understanding of criminal justice in the NZ context
  • Awareness of community and crime prevention programmes
  • An in-depth examination of topical and controversial aspects of crime and its control
  • Being able to think beyond critique and engage in problem solving in order to envisage alternatives to present day criminal justice policies
  • A practical understanding of the ways in which criminological concepts can be used in real world settings
  • Knowledge of the international criminology context.

Throughout the three years of the BA, students take core papers that provide the necessary skills in writing, research and IT capability to prepare them for academic work and their working life.

Core papers
145713 Writing or COMM510 Undergraduate Writing for Academic Purposes
146734 Communicating
SOSC581 Research and Analysis
CLSY703 Cooperative Education
CLSY500 Culture and Society

Criminology papers
PSYC580 Introduction to Psychology A
POLS580 New Zealand Political Studies
CRIM580 Criminology and Criminal Justice
CRIM681 Understanding Crime
CRIM680 Policing and Society
CRIM780 The Police and Crime Prevention
CRIM781 Prisons and Punishment
CRIM782 Understanding Restorative Justice
CRIM783 Current Issues in Criminology
CRIM784 Crime and Deviance

Who studies criminology?

People who:

  • Are inquisitive and willing to challenge their assumptions about the world
  • Are determined to enthusiastically apply themselves to understanding the complexities of crime and its control
  • Are interested in understanding more about the police and crime prevention
  • Are interested in the prison system and alternative aspects of punishment
  • Are interested in the different causes of crime and its analysis
  • Have a social conscience and who are interested in human rights issues
  • Want to become experts in some aspect of criminology

Industry connections

  • NZ Police
  • Community Probation
  • Mason Clinic
  • Rethinking Crime and Punishment
  • Local councils

Career opportunities

Criminology is an excellent topic to study if you want to pursue a career in an organisation associated with the criminal justice system. Occupations include those within:

  • Department of Corrections
  • Local authorities
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • National and international human rights organisations
  • New Zealand Customs
  • New Zealand Police
  • Non-governmental community groups.


Erina Mako. When Erina Mako first came to AUT she planned to complete a business degree. Instead, she decided to follow her passion for criminology and discovered her dream career.

"I didn't realise at the time, but the decision to study criminology marked a turning point in my life. I've since joined the New Zealand Police and feel I've truly found my calling." Read more of Erina's story >>

Last updated: 05-Feb-2016 4.11pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.