CRIM 1001 - Understanding Criminology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

This course offers an introduction to the field of criminology by examining the nature of crime as well as exploring the main social theories that seek to explain why people commit crime. While the first part of the course briefly introduces the concept of crime, its social construction and various representations, the second component covers an array of broadly sociological arguments concerning possible explanations as to why crimes are committed, and how certain `deviant? acts become problematised. Topics covered in this latter section include criminological arguments drawing on Classicism, Biological and Psychological Positivism, Sociological Positivism, The Chicago School and Subcultural Theories, Interactionism and Labelling, Social Control Theories, Radical and Critical Perspectives, Realist Approaches, Contemporary Classicism and Feminism. Ultimately the question is posed whether the insights offered into the varied motivations to commit crime are practically useful in its prevention or reduction.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CRIM 1001
    Course Understanding Criminology
    Coordinating Unit Sociology, Criminology and Gender Studies
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible GSSA 1010
    Assessment Online test 20%, Essay 40%, Take home exam 40%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Andrew Hope

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    Understand the  conceptualisation and representations of crime

    Analyse the social, political and economic context of criminal activities.

    Critically examine the major criminological explanations of crime.

    Compare and evaluate explanations of crime.

    Use criminological theory to offer explanations for criminal and deviant behaviours.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
     Textbook: Newburn, T. (2012) Criminology. Cullompton: Willan.

    Additional readings will supplement the textbook with relevant journal articles and items for discussion each week. These readings will be digitised by the Digital Resources Management Centre and made available in electronic form via MyUni.  
    Recommended Resources
    Referencing, avoiding plagiarism, essay writing and report writing guides from the Writing Centre will be included in the course material. Students with further needs will be directed to the Writing Centre and the ‘Writing and Speaking at Uni’ MyUni course.
    Library Pages - The course will have a library page for resources maintained by the GSSA librarian.

    Turnitin - Students will be required to upload assignments to Turnitin for plagiarism checking. This can be done before the due date so that they can fix any problems and upload again, encouraging students to take responsibility for their own practice.

    Web resources - MyUni will be used to provide students with useful web links to appropriate Human Rights organisations and campaigns for use in researching assignments. MyMedia recording facilities will be required in lecture theatres to enable recording of lectures for external students.

    All of the above are standard resources already offered by the University and no extra resource or workload impact on the area is anticipated.  
    Online Learning
    Students will have access to recorded lectures.
    All students will receive announcements and assessment tasks via MyUni and submit assessments online through Turnitin or other relevant system. MyUni will contain links to the course library page and a list of useful web resources related to the course.
    All students will use the MyUni integrated version of Turnitin to check their own work for plagiarism. Turnitin’s Grademark facility may be used to give feedback to students on assignments.  
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
     Lectures will provide students with an overview of each week’s material, providing background, clarifying concepts, locating set readings within a larger context, and providing links to further resources. The aim is to provide a map that will enable students to find their bearings within each topic before they commence more independent and collaborative learning.

    Seminars will provide the opportunity for more participatory learning. Each week’s seminar will discuss the set readings for the topic and explore their responses to course materials together.

    The course will be structured throughout to give students maximum opportunity to share information with their peers, receive feedback, and develop their knowledge through collaboration.

    The course will be designed so that the needs of those from non-traditional backgrounds are met in standard course delivery, rather than requiring separate attention; for example through the provision of information on essay writing and referencing in the course reader, digitisation of course readings (allowing use of text-recognition software), use of multimedia in lectures, clarification of concepts in seminars, and choice of assignment topics allowing students to play to their strengths.

    As with most GSSA courses, the explicit focus on issues of privilege and social justice can be expected to make students from non-traditional backgrounds feel more included and comfortable in participating, as well as encourage more ‘traditional’ students to reflexively consider their own modes of interacting. The international focus of the course content will also provide opportunities for international and migrant students to be ‘experts’ in some areas rather than outsiders, although care will be taken not to position them as ‘examples’ or require them to ‘speak for the other’. Hence in general the course will seek to centre diversity rather than position non-traditional students as ‘lacking’ or as ‘problems’.

    Nonetheless accommodations for special needs will be made as required, for example lecture recordings can be provided to international students, those without an English speaking background, or those with learning disabilities, to allow them to follow at their own pace.  

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.




    2 x 1 hour lecture per week (x 12)

    24 hours

    1 x 1 hour seminar per week (x 12)

    12 hours

    1 x 4 hours reading (x 12)

    48 hours

    1 x 3 hours research per week (x 12)

    36 hours

    1 x 3 hours assignment preparation each week (x 12)

    36 hours


    Total = 156 hours




    Learning Activities Summary




    The Criminological Imagination in Context


    Representations of Crime


    Classicism / Biological and Psychological Positivism


    Sociological Positivism


    The Chicago School and Subcultural Theories


    Interactionism and Labelling


    Social Control Theories


    Radical and Critical Criminology


    Realist Criminology


    Contemporary Classicism


    Feminist Criminology


    Concluding Thoughts: Crime Prevention and Community Safety

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    SGDE will be a feature of the weekly seminars. In reflecting on the concepts and theories introduced in the lectures, students will work in small groups to find answers to key questions, before collaborating with the experienced academic to develop more complex, varied and nuanced responses.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary





    Formative and Summative


    1, 2

    Formative and Summative


    1, 2, 4, 5



    2, 3, 4, 5

    Assessment Detail
    Assessment 1. Formative test. 20% of marks

    Assessment 2. Theoretical essay focusing upon a newspaper article of a criminal event 40%

    Locate a newspaper article about a criminal event in a reputable, quality national newspaper. Write a 1800 -2000 word essay explaining the crime from the classical school and the positivist school perspectives. Students must be sure to include the principle tenets of each school of thought as they relate to the criminal event.

    Assessment 3. Take home paper. 40%

    Students will receive a home paper from which they must complete three essay questions. Once the paper is made available students will have seven days in which to write their answers and submit the assignment via TURNITIN.

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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