Common Misconceptions About Studying Criminology

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When you hear the term “criminology”, what are the first things that come to mind? Perhaps it may be serial killers, CSI, detective work, and so on. While these are not necessarily untrue, it also does not exactly encompass what criminology essentially is.

It is an exciting course with thrilling career perspectives, however, it is also one of the most misunderstood majors. In this article, we will be debunking the most common misconceptions people have about studying criminology.

#1 You are training to be a cop

Untrue. Yes, you will be learning about law enforcement and criminal law. Yes, the criminal justice system is a large part of criminology studies. However, it is not the main unit of your field.

Criminology is more like social science. It is a study of criminal behaviour and the social factors that leads to that. Studying criminology is more focused on the scientific aspects of why certain people are more at risk of developing criminal behaviour and on understanding the mentality of those who already are. The study of criminology is vital for improving the current criminal justice system over a gradual period of time as its research can help reform the ways criminals are tried. The career prospects of criminology majors are broad!

So, yes. Criminology deals with the study of criminal behaviour and is closely related to the criminal justice system, but to view it as a form of training to become a police officer and other frontline responders to crime is sorely untrue

#2 You will only be working on murder cases

Who doesn’t love a grisly story on true crime cases? As strange as it is, human beings generally enjoy listening to sensationalized stories of serial killers and the crimes they commit. High-profile violent crimes have always been in the peak interest of our communities. It is always the gruesome details that we find thrilling!

But does this mean that criminology only consists of high-profile cases? Absolutely not. 

Criminology majors will definitely cover the subject of murder cases over the duration of their course, but it is not the only crime to be solved.  The world of crime is vast, and there is a lot to pick apart from it.

#3 You will learn how to solve crimes

Television series surrounding action-packed, investigative work has been around for a long time. CSI is probably one of the most popularly known shows that people often associate this misconception with. Criminal investigation is likely to be a part of the scope of your studies, but you will not be exclusively learning about how to solve crimes. 

This is not to say that you cannot pursue this line of career, but the study of criminology is more focused on the cause of crime and criminal behaviour than doing investigative crime work.

#4 Your job will only consist of collecting fingerprints and DNA evidence

Once more, shows like CSI are the main culprits of this misconception. Of course criminology majors will eventually come to learn forensic science, but criminology is based a lot more on the psychological aspects and research work, as opposed to being the team involved in collecting evidence. 

This major will be able to provide you will an understanding of the social and personal factors of crime. You will be given an opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and confidence when approaching a crime case. The ability to analyse and reflect on sociological, legal, and economical theories of what leads to criminal behaviour is also something you can look forward to learning. 

What is Criminology?

As mentioned above, criminology is a branch of sociology that focuses primarily on the examination of human behaviour and interaction in criminal settings. The root of what holds criminology’s foundation is to develop a deeper understanding of criminal behaviour and how our society can produce an effective way of preventing it. 

The study of criminology falls into biological, psychological, and sociological categories. Current approaches towards criminology are more involved with identifying criminal behaviour as an outcome of what people learn through their interaction with others and their environment. Other theories of criminology have also proposed that by training and encouraging law-abiding behaviour, these personal bonds will eventually give human beings the power to control the urge to break the law.

Additionally, criminologists may improve the criminal justice system as a response to both the crime and the treatment of victims and criminals. By examing the various aspects of deviant behaviour, criminologists have to look into the frequency, location, cause, and types of crimes. By collecting data from this can criminology majors be able to understand and help better to prevent crime. 

Interested in knowing more about Criminology? Contact us now to know more about this career pathway. 

Top Universities to Study Criminology in Australia

Below is a brief look at the top three universities in Australia that offers a course in criminology:

#1 The University of New South Wales


Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice 


3 years

Total Indicative Fee


For more information about the programme structure, intake, fees, and more, contact us now!

#2 The University of Sydney


Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Laws (with a major in Criminology)


5 years

Total Indicative Fee


For more information about the programme structure, intake, fees, and more, contact us now!

#3 The University of Melbourne


Bachelor of Arts (Major in Criminology)


3 years

Total Indicative Fee

Contact us!*

For more information about the programme structure, intake, fees, and more, contact us now!

General Pathway for International Students to Study Criminology in Australia

Below is a short summary of the general pathway international students undergo in their journey to studying in Australia.

  1. Submit your application and necessary documents to the university of your choice.
  2. Receive the acceptance letter from the university. 
  3. Receive an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment.
  4. Apply for a student visa to Australia. 
  5. Receive the approval of your student visa.
  6. Fly to Australia and begin your studies!

For more information about the process of applying for student visa, meeting the general requirements to pursue a major in criminology, and more, contact us now!

For more information about the programme structure, intake, fees, and more, contact us now!

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About The Author

Karisse Hannah 

Journalism and Advertising major. Passionate about reading and writing, and an advocate for the truth.

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