A banner image with yellow police tape and text that reads, crime scene do not cross.


The Institute of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington has a long and illustrious history.

Established in 1975, the Institute holds a highly regarded international reputation for world-leading research and teaching in Criminology.

Our academic staff and postgraduates are involved in acclaimed criminological research. As a criminological community, staff and students at Victoria University of Wellington 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, they also contribute to significant legal, social and political shifts in responses to crime.

Criminology degrees

To enroll 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.

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 courses right through to postgraduate study at Honours, Master's by thesis and PhD level.

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, as well as extending your general knowledge of theory and research methods.

Find out the requirements for Major 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 across two trimesters, and involve workshop-style learning and one-on-one supervision. As part of your study, you can pursue internship opportunities across government and community agencies.

Master's and PhD offer the opportunity to conduct in-depth research into your area of interest, usually involving a practical research component which is then written up as a thesis. These degrees are the benchmark for transforming you from student into criminologist, allowing you to develop the highest level of expertise in the subject.

See our full ranges of course on offer.

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.

Criminology Collective

Institute of Criminology staff and students are all part of the Criminology Collective. Connect with us on Facebook.

At Criminology Collective, you can read all kinds of work, from our media commentaries through to our emerging research on varied issues, including victimology, bail, imprisonment, drug policy, criminalisation, corporate crimes, environmental crimes, institutional abuse, sexual violence, poverty, gangs, sentencing, mental health, and sports crime.

Contributions, from professors through to undergraduates, demonstrate the wide array of topics important to us as well as our colleagues across Aotearoa and beyond. Follow us, and if you'd like to be more involved, contact us through our sites.

Criminology careers

Our graduates go on to work in interesting and rewarding jobs. 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 supports 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, currently providing great opportunities for well-qualified graduates with expertise in criminology. Each year some of our students benefit from internship and other placement or short-term working arrangements with organisations in Wellington, the capital and focal point for public sector activity in policy and government.