Criminology

Find out how to use the skills gained from studying Criminology to understand and contribute to improving the criminal justice system.

Criminology students analyse types of crime and the factors affecting criminal behaviour such as peer group, poverty, behavioural or psychological influences. They examine crime in the context of history, culture and location and also study how effective we are as a country in managing fair rehabilitation practices and systems.

Roles and career pathways

Criminology graduates gain strong skills in research, analysis and communication that can be used in roles as probation officers, policy analysts, researchers, community workers, coordinators, case managers, communications advisors, project coordinators and training facilitators.

For careers in policy advice, intelligence and research some study at postgraduate level can be valuable. To become a practicing criminologist, a PHD is generally required. Complementary study in Psychology, Law or other social science areas can help broaden your employment options. Graduates with Criminology degrees may apply to the Royal New Zealand Police College or work in police non-sworn support roles as communicators, advisors or recruiters. Some graduates move into youth work and mentoring roles (further study may be required for this). Criminology graduates with undergraduate degrees or seeking a first role may work initially in administration or coordination, or junior adviser or trainee analyst roles.

Where Criminology graduates work

Criminology intersects with areas of law, media studies, policy, policing, psychology and social sciences and graduates work across these diverse areas. This may include working for Government organisations involved in youth support, justice or surveillance and security or working for not-for-profit organisations involved with education, rehabilitation or victim support.

Criminology graduates have worked in organisations including:

Build relevant skills and experience

Part-time work and volunteering during study, especially in areas such as offender rehabilitation, mental health, justice or youth work can help you to learn more about these industries and develop valuable connections and relevant work experience. Part-time work in an entry level customer service or administration role at a justice related organisation or government department can also help to gain relevant experience and connections while studying.

The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps develop leadership skills and practical work place experience. Programmes such as Wellington Plus, and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience.

Make career connections

Making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help you learn more about career opportunities. The Criminology Collective is a hub of interesting information and is administered by staff at the Institute of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington. VIC Criminology is a student-led organisation for criminology student that offers support, events and networking. The Alumni as Mentors programme for final-year students also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.