Bachelor of Arts


Now is an opportune time to study criminology in New Zealand. The country continues to be in a period of change in the ways in which we are policed and how the criminal justice system operates. The AUT criminology degree is the first programme of its type developed in Auckland.

Criminology is the study of:

  • Characteristics of criminal law
  • Extent of crime
  • Effects of crime on victims and society
  • Methods of crime prevention
  • Attributes of criminals
  • Workings of the criminal justice system, such as the police, the courts, and the prisons.

A unique aspect of this major is the placement of students with agencies and organisations in the third year of the degree. This means you can gain practical experience in criminology or criminal justice related matters.

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 165600 Undergraduate Writing for Academic Purposes
146734 Communicating
285104 Research and Analysis
287901 Cooperative Education
955203 Communication and Presentation Systems

Criminology papers

PSYC580 Introduction to Psychology A
CLSY500 Introduction to Sociology
285706 New Zealand Political Studies
286107 Criminology and Criminal Justice
286109 Understanding Crime
286110 Policing and Society
287001 The Police and Crime Prevention
287004 Prisons and Punishment
287005 Understanding Restorative Justice
287006 Current Issues in Criminology
287206 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.


Eve Cahill.
Working for people through government agencies is a career path that has always appealed to Eve Cahill.

"I see the positive impact government agencies can have on our society and want to be part of that."
Read more of Eve's story >>

Last updated: 24-Feb-2015 11.12am

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