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Bachelor of Social Science with a Major in Criminology

Pursue a rewarding career where your knowledge of the criminal mind can help transform lives and protect your community.

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3 years full-time

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Mar, Jul, Nov

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100% Online

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‘The benefit of studying online with Swinburne Online has allowed me to schedule my time efficiently and effectively around [my life]. I have been provided with a world-class education led by industry leaders and professionals.’

Kate, Swinburne Online graduate

17.7% ▴

Dream of being a Criminologist? Jobs are set to increase by 17.7% over the next 5 years

The Good Universities Guide 2024

The Social Science faculty was awarded a 5-star rating for overall experience, learning resources, skills development, student support and teaching quality, by the Good Universities Guide 2024.

‘The benefit of studying online with Swinburne Online has allowed me to schedule my time efficiently and effectively around [my life]. I have been provided with a world-class education led by industry leaders and professionals.’

Kate, Swinburne Online graduate

17.7% ▴

Dream of being a Criminologist? Jobs are set to increase by 17.7% over the next 5 years

The Social Science faculty was awarded a 5-star rating for overall experience, learning resources, skills development, student support and teaching quality, by the Good Universities Guide 2024.

The Good Universities Guide 2024

If you love watching true crime documentaries, this course is for you.

As a student of criminology, you’ll dive into the world of criminal behaviour, illicit drugs, arms or counterfeit goods and learn how to create industry-standard solutions to local and global crime problems.

You’ll get to study selected true crime stories where immersive journalism practices have uncovered new evidence and changed the course of investigations. This will give you an understanding of police practices and help you uncover the motivations which result in young people encountering the criminal justice system. Importantly, you will also analyse these topics from the worldviews, histories and standpoints of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. You’ll consider how these histories continue to impact Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system today.

You’ll learn from experts who have worked in the field of corrective services, counter terrorism and transnational crime, giving you real-world knowledge from highly experienced professionals. This will set you up with a practical skillset and assist with your job readiness upon graduation. You’ll also have the freedom to tailor half of your course based on your interests by taking electives you’re passionate about.

This course will gear you towards a future where your knowledge will help provide actionable solutions in relation to crime and make a lasting difference to our society. You’ll join a cohort of graduates who work in various areas of the criminal justice system, such as victim support, intelligence analysts, and corrections programs.

What will you learn?

  • Criminal Behaviour: What defines criminal activity? Which factors put people at risk of developing criminal behaviour? Unpack these questions and learn about how these relate to the criminal justice system.
  • Policing: Learn about policing issues, crime statistics, the history of the police and where the future of policing lies in Australia.
  • Illicit Markets: How do counterfeit goods, illicit drugs and global illicit markets impact the world? Learn about their impact on a local and global scale.
  • Juvenile Crime: Learn about the motivations that may result in young people encountering the criminal justice system.

Learn more about our professional accreditations. Download a Course Guide.

Flexible study

What does flexible study mean for me?

Studying at Swinburne Online gives you the freedom to study how it suits you. Learn when and where it fits in with your life and tailor your study journey to your own needs without giving up what’s important.

Flexible study at Swinburne Online

Set a study pace that work with what’s going on in your life. If you’re unsure about how much you can commit to, we can offer part-time options and the option of increasing your unit load as your progress. Interested in fast-tracking your studies? You also have the opportunity to complete up to 12 units per year.

You don’t have to put your life on hold to study. Prioritise what matters to you and fit study around family, work and personal commitments through a course that is flexibly designed for online learners.

Start when it suits. Swinburne Online offers multiple intake dates and flexible unit availability, so you can choose when you begin your studies or if you need to take a break.

Flexible study requires flexible support. As a Swinburne Online student, you’ll have support for extended hours, 7 days a week, with Student Advisors available to help with anything from tech support to research advice and dedicated online tutors in each of your units.


Your course structure

The Bachelor of Social Science – Criminology consists of 24 units, including four core units, eight Criminology studies major units and 12 electives.

Your core units provide an essential foundation for studying social science. In this major you must complete COM10003 Learning and Communicating Online and SOC10004 Sociological Foundations. You may then choose ANY TWO of INS10001 Connecting with Culture: Indigenous Australian Experiences, POL10001 Australian Politics or PSY10005 Introduction to Research Methods.

In your 12 elective units, you might like to choose study that compliments your degree, such as psychology or politics units.

Why study a degree in Criminology with Swinburne Online? Our courses are at the forefront of industry and provide you with the practical skills to success come graduation. Get a taste through the course highlight below, or view all units in this bachelor’s degree.

View All Units

How you'll learn

Learning designed for online

Your study journey with Swinburne Online is tailored to the digital space. You’ll study in a dynamic virtual classroom environment, interact with your peers in the custom-built social platform, and receive support at the times you need it from advisors who understand studying online.

Your online study journey

You’ll complete each of your units in Canvas, your online classroom, and guided through coursework by an online tutor with real-world experience in your field of study. Canvas is where you’ll access classes, assignments and discussion boards with your peers.

The Student Hub is your online campus, where you’ll access the support and resources to assist you throughout your study journey. From managing your course to technical support and library resources, you’ll find it all in one easy location.

Swinburne Online will be there for you each step of the way. From enrolment through to graduation, we offer extended, flexible support in each of your units and advisors to assist with anything from technical support to referencing and assignment tips.

Entry requirements

Completion or partial completion of an approved tertiary qualification (including diplomas, advanced diplomas, associate degrees and degrees). Additional performance criteria and prerequisite requirements may also apply.

Applicants without a formal qualification but with significant and relevant work experience and appropriate English language skills, or a suitable Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) result, will be considered if they can demonstrate that they can undertake the course with a reasonable prospect of success.

Read our Applying and Enrolling FAQs.

The University may determine selection criteria and restrictions in respect of courses to apply in addition to these entry requirements.

VCE Units 3 and 4: a minimum study score of 25 in any English (except EAL) or 30 in English as Alternate Language (EAL) or equivalent. Minimum ATAR requirements may apply.

Meeting the minimum entry requirements for the course does not guarantee offer of a place. See Admissions at Swinburne, for general information about admission process

Credit transfer

Credit is granted in recognition of previous study and/or experience and allows students to gain advanced standing towards their course. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Speak to a Course Consultant about applying for credit.

Applicants who have completed a Diploma in a related discipline may be eligible for credit of up to 8 units; the equivalent of a third of the course. Students admitted to the course with prior tertiary studies that satisfy part of the academic requirements of this course may be eligible for academic credit of up to 16 units.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) allows students to gain credit (advanced standing) towards their course in recognition of skills and knowledge gained through work experience, life experience and/or formal training. Applicants are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Speak to a Course Consultant about applying for RPL.

Pathways allow students to progress from one qualification to another where the first course is recognised as an entry requirement and provides advanced standing to the second.

Credit available may vary depending on the major selected within any given degree but in most instances you may receive up to 8 unit credits.

Our Course Consultants will step you through the process of entry and credit using previous study.


The estimated annual fee for this course is $16,323*. This is based on completing eight 12.5 credit point units in one calendar year.

Commonwealth provided loans are available to assist eligible students to pay their course fees and there are a range of university, government and privately funded scholarships and prizes.

Discover more information about HELP loans.

Course fees will be affected by a student’s unit selection and any credit awarded in recognition of previous academic experience.

This course is offered to domestic and offshore international students. Depending on your citizenship, you may be eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place.

Domestic students also contribute to student services and amenities via an annual fee.

Scholarships are available for both commencing and current students. You may be eligible for Swinburne Scholarships.

Career Outcomes

Launch a career you’re passionate about

The Bachelor of Social Science – Criminology prioritises your readiness to succeed come graduation through industry connections embedded in your degree:

  • Professional Teaching: You will be taught by professionals with experience in not-for-profit and corrective services and knowledge of counter terrorism and security. Learn from experts with practical, real-world experience who are ready to share their knowledge with you.
  • Networking: Develop professional connections with your peers as you collaborate on projects and learn industry level skills.
  • Create Crime Prevention Initiatives: In this course you’ll develop practical skills to create proactive crime prevention strategies which will help prepare you for any role relating to crime prevention and correction.

Specialise in your interests; such as law enforcement, victim support, preventing crime or offender rehabilitation.

Help to monitor developments in social, cultural, political or military matters to assist with Australian national security.

Help individuals meet their court or parole conditions and keep them connected to community services and programs to assist with their rehabilitation.

Use your knowledge of social science to help address issues facing communities and work to find solutions to problems facing various groups.

Ensure the security of inmates and staff inside prisons, help to supervise activities and play a key role in maintaining safety.


‘At Swinburne Online you learn from real people. It’s all fully online, I’d do my remote learning in the car before work, which makes it so easy to have your own life. I love the fact that they cater to all learning styles. Swinburne Online has had a profound impact on my journey and I would recommend it to anyone else.’


Swinburne Online graduate

What are other students asking?
For students undertaking a degree, most of your learning materials are included with a free license provided to you by Swinburne Online. However, in some cases, you will be notified via your student email that you will need to buy specific software or eTexts. For TAFE Business students, all of your learning materials will be available online and are covered by your course fees. You won’t need to purchase any further materials.
When you enrol to study a degree with us, you will nominate how many units you would like to select per teaching period, based on a recommendation from one of our Course Consultants. From here, our enrolments team will allocate you automatically to the units they feel will be best suited to your needs, so you don’t need to worry about choosing units. If you want to choose something different than what you are allocated to, that is no problem, just get in touch with our Student Advisors and they will take care of it for you.
You won’t normally have to be online at a specific time. Your course material is available for you from the beginning of each teaching period and you can work through it in the hours that suit you. There are some live webinar sessions that run approximately once a month. These are a special opportunity for students to sign in at the same time as their tutors, normally before an assessment deadline. It gives you the chance to ask any questions relating to the assignment in real time and hear other student’s questions and thoughts. We understand that students won’t always be able to make these sessions, so they can be replayed the next day.

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