Find out about research, teaching, and other activities conducted by the Institute of Criminology at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Established in 1975, the Institute is internationally renowned for its world-leading research and teaching in Criminology.

Our academic staff and postgraduate students are involved in acclaimed criminological research. As a criminological community, staff and students at the University are regular recipients of prestigious academic awards and grants, and their work is published around the world.

With active connections to New Zealand communities, policy-makers, and politicians, our researchers also contribute to significant legal, social, and political shifts in response to crime.

Criminology degrees

The Institute of Criminology provides rigorous and critically focused teaching on the nature of crime, harms, and justice, from local to global levels. We study the impacts and effects of offending behaviours, as well as societal attempts to prevent or punish them.

With the largest Criminology programme in Aotearoa New Zealand, recently internationally peer-reviewed as ‘rich in content and very strong’, the Institute offers expansive and engaging options, from undergraduate level through to postgraduate study at Honours, Master's, and PhD level.

Undergraduate study

Taking our 100-level undergraduate course, Introduction to Criminology, you explore the development of criminological thinking and reflect on how diverse groups experience crime and justice in different ways.

At 200-level, our courses allow you to deepen your understanding of significant current issues in Criminology and to appreciate the specific nature and context of crime and justice in Aotearoa NZ—social, cultural, legal, political, and historical.

Pursuing our 300-level courses, you engage with criminological theory and practice more broadly. You can develop a deeper understanding of topics like prisons, policing, sexual violence, white-collar crime, or environmental crime. You’ll also extend your general knowledge of theory and research methods.

Find out the requirements for a BA majoring in Criminology.

Our Honours programme in Criminology is all about exploring particular areas that interest you. You will study three specialist courses of your choice, plus a research paper. Courses run for one trimester each, and involve workshop-style learning and one-to-one supervision. As part of your study, you can pursue internship opportunities across government and community agencies.

Postgraduate study

Master of Criminology

Our Master of Criminology programme gives you the chance to develop specialised knowledge and explore the latest developments in crime and justice.

If you’ve completed your undergraduate study and are interested in moving on to advanced postgraduate study—or if you’re aiming for a career in criminal justice or a related sector—the Master of Criminology is the perfect next step.

MA and PhD

You can also pursue postgraduate Criminology by studying a Master of Arts or a PhD. On this study pathway, you conduct in-depth research into your area of interest, usually involving a practical research component which is then written up as a thesis. Studying a PhD will transform you from student to criminologist, allowing you to develop the highest level of specialist expertise in the subject.

Criminology courses

See our full ranges of course on offer.

Apply and enrol

To enrol in any of our Criminology courses or degrees, go to the University's enrolment pages. Scholarships are available at all levels of study. Have a look at what is available on the University’s scholarships pages.

Criminology careers

Our graduates go on to work in interesting and rewarding careers. They progress to roles in the criminal justice sector, for example within police, corrections, or government departments like the Ministry of Justice.

They are also involved in activist non-governmental groups which support victims and lobby for criminal justice policy change. Many are engaged with community organisations, providing significant support to those dealing with crime. Quite a few have progressed to work in politics, law, media and, of course, academia.

Many of our graduates now work internationally, such as in the criminal justice divisions of the United Nations. Globally the production, management, or analysis of research in crime, justice, and human rights is a growth sector. There are great opportunities for well-qualified graduates with expertise in criminology.

Each year some of our students benefit from internships and other placements or short-term working arrangements with organisations here in Wellington, the nation's capital and the focal point of public sector activity in policy and government.

Seminars and events

Alongside our teaching, the Institute hosts a rich calendar of events, offering opportunities to hear from leading local and international scholars, as well as policy makers and practitioners. Find out about upcoming events.