You can study individual units for personal or professional development without having to apply for a full QUT course.
If you successfully complete a unit, you may be eligible for credit if you decide to apply for a degree course in the future.
Units anyone can study
These units don’t have any requirements for previous study or background knowledge.
But if your previous studies were not in English, or were completed in a country where English is not the first language, you will need to demonstrate that you meet our English proficiency requirements when you apply.
Introduction to Criminology and Policing will provide you with an introduction to the disciplines of criminology and policing. This unit will provide you with a foundation for understanding theories, concepts, and issues related to criminology and policing in an Australian and international context. It begins with an exploration of the existing explanations of crime from both an individual and social theoretical perspective and will provide you with a background of policing in Queensland, Australia, and internationally. The remainder of the unit then covers topics of interest to those within the area of criminal justice, policing and criminology, for example, crimes in the home, crime in public, white collar crime, and youth crime.
An understanding and appreciation of the complexities of social justice, and particularly their impact on criminal justice outcomes in our society, is a key skill for competent justice professionals. This unit provides the foundational sociological and criminological knowledge that is necessary to understanding justice in a social context, and which is essential for ensuring justice professionals act in socially just and ethical ways.
Professionals in many fields including Justice are required to have outstanding academic literacy and professional skills, particularly the ability to source, understand and analyse written sources and synthesise evidence into professional written formats. This unit gives students a thorough grounding in the core academic and professional literacies required during their studies and into their graduate careers.
Justice professionals require a thorough foundational understanding of how Australia’s systems of justice operate structurally and how people progress through those systems. This unit provides a critical overview of the Australian Criminal Justice System through examinations of the key arms of policing, courts and corrections and their processes.
Forensic Psychology is readily acknowledged as one of the fastest growing areas of psychology in the world. Psychologists are now involved significantly in policing, judicial procedures and correctional processes. The term 'forensic' literally means 'of or used in law courts' (Australian Oxford Paperback Dictionary). The phrase 'psychology and the justice system', however, is now used more generally to describe the different ways in which psychology and law intersect - namely the psychology of the law, psychology in the law, and psychology by the law. By its very nature the study of psychology and law draws from a wide multidisciplinary base for the application of specialised knowledge. As a student of this discipline area, you will need a broad introductory appreciation of (and a critical perspective on) what the study of psychology involves.
This unit is designed to introduce students to the practice and theorising of politics and policy making. It will provide you with a foundation to understand the people, systems and structures that influence how our government works. Understanding political dynamics and how good policy-making happens helps prepare students to work in government agencies, or to work more effectively in non-governmental roles concerning law and justice. In addition to providing a conceptual overview of the structures and functions of government, this unit introduces students to the practical elements of policy-making enabling you to develop basic political communication skills.
Justice students work, or hope to work, as justice professionals in areas related to the criminal justice system or human rights. They need an understanding of fundamental principles of criminal law and of social justice issues related to violent offending. Laypeople may assume that the law is shaped by rational decisions aimed at reducing crime and punishing wrongdoing, when in fact a closer examination of the policy underpinnings, the substance of the law and the way in which it is applied demonstrates that such an analysis is overly simplistic. A deeper understanding of the forces that shape policy objectives is essential to those who wish to contribute to more effective responses to violent offending.
The study of deviance engages with fundamental aspects of criminology and justice studies, such as the making and breaking of laws, the analysis of issues pertaining to marginalised social groups and activities, and other important social justice concerns. Drawing on problem solving skills and interpretive traditions in the social sciences, the unit encourages students to think critically about "deviance" (often manifesting as a social problem or contested behaviour), asking why some activities and social groups are considered deviant and others not across various historical and cultural contexts. The unit examines social and legal responses to managing and controlling deviance and engages with important related problems in social justice, such as gender equality and racial discrimination. The scope and concerns of the unit make it broadly accessible to students and the unit's focus on real world social problems will appeal to a broad cross-section of QUT's student market.
Research within criminology highlights that in order for justice students to undertake research themselves and be able to critically read and assess the research of others they need to have a clear understanding of the research methods commonly used in the field of justice (Kleck et al., 2006). This unit is designed to provide students with essential knowledge and skills required to undertake justice research. At completion of this unit, you will: (a) be able to take these learned skills and apply them to your practice as a future justice professional, (b) develop skills that can be used for further advanced study in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and analysis, and (c) practice research in culturally safe and ethical ways.
Units you need background knowledge to study
These units have requirements for previous study or background knowledge. Check the unit’s previous study requirements for details. If you have any questions, contact the unit coordinator for the semester you want to study.
If your previous studies were not in English, or were completed in a country where English is not the first language, you will also need to demonstrate that you meet our English proficiency requirements when you apply.
In the modern Western context, concerns with crime, victimisation and social harm are key concerns for the citizenry. These issues also make up a significant part of media and political discourse and it could thus be argued that crime and punishment are defining cultural motifs of modern Western societies, forever concerned with security and safety from the 'criminal other'. This unit offers you a critical overview of the evolution of Western responses to crime over the past two centuries. The unit introduces the philosophies and theories that have underpinned the development of penal policy during that period. Using Australian and other case studies, you will be introduced to a range of policies and interventions associated with the construction of the modern penal system. The various stages of the development of penal policy will be covered. The unit will challenge you to think critically about a range of key issues confronting the penal system and policy-makers.
The Justice degree aims to produce competent justice professionals. In order to achieve this purpose, this degree combines knowledge of the criminal justice system with an understanding and appreciation of the complexities of social justice. This unit explores patterns in gendered:1. offending2. victimisation, and 3. experiences with criminal justice systems.
This subject addresses the ways in which trauma is important to theory and practice in criminal justice and social justice discourse. Trauma informed practice is explored in ways that introduce students to theory and skills in order to inform their engagement with policy and practice and expand their understanding of professional work in criminal justice. This is particularly important in understanding intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities. This subject will build on understanding gained in core units to help prepare for careers working in criminal justice agencies and policy development in criminal justice related fields.
Criminology becomes forensic criminology when research and theories are used to answer specific questions for investigations, court, or corrections. Forensic criminology uses the scientific method to apply traditional criminological knowledge to issues arising in specific cases. In this unit, students will be introduced to the application of criminology to case work, including the overarching principles, ethics and ethos of forensic best-practice. Students will learn about how forensic criminology is used in: investigating criminal behaviour and deaths; complementing the forensic sciences; understanding victims and miscarriages of justice; predicting risk; and preventing revictimization and recidivism.
Technology is becoming increasingly used within society and is an important domain of knowledge and skills for justice professionals. This unit provides students with a grounding in how technology may be used to perpetrate crime and respond to crime problems. Students will learn about different types of crime that may be perpetrated using technology, such as cybercrime, image-based abuse, and technology facilitated coercive control. Students will also learn how technologies may be used in modern policing practices, including the use of body worn cameras, apps and other technologies. At completion of this unit students will be able to consider the implications of technology in the practice of justice.
Few people in justice fields are trained investigators. Justice professionals are routinely communicating with and obtaining information from clients and others. Their roles may also require them to conduct an investigation and provide a report of their findings. The skills required to conduct an effective and ethical investigation are however quite specific and may ultimately result in the investigator giving testimony in court proceedings. Further the scope of possible investigations is very broad. While most will associate investigations to suspected breaches of criminal laws, investigations may relate to non-compliance with workplace policies e.g. health and safety incidents, negative workplace behaviour. Workplace Investigation Skills provides foundational investigation skills that will enable each student to plan an investigation, gather evidence, identify witnesses and suspects, and produce an professional report articulating the findings of the investigation.
You cannot fully understand our system of government without understanding the history of the theories that have led to this point. This is core knowledge for working in policy or politics. This unit will run through all the major theories of how governments should operate and the basis of authority, legitimacy and freedom. JSB261 Theory of Government will provide you with the necessary knowledge of what our system of government is designed to do and why we have this rather than another system of government.
Justice graduates are increasingly taking on key roles working in or alongside political institutions. It is essential that graduates have a full and working knowledge of the structure and process of international governance in order to excel in these roles in an increasingly professionalised and globalised public sector. This unit will explore the establishment, evolution and functioning of key international and Australian political institutions, in order to increase students' understanding and awareness of our systems of governance.
The study of public sector ethics covers the types of actions and the methods of enforcement required to bring about performance in the public interest. This unit will introduce you in detail to the most important issues of public sector ethics, both in Queensland and the world. As government employees, it is essential that you not only understand these concepts but put them into practice. White collar crime is becoming more common in Australian society. There are a larger number of people in a position to participate in white collar crime and new opportunities are presented by a more corporatised and technological society. Greater resources are being applied to detect these crimes within police services. The study you will undertake in this unit follows on from learning in JSB172 Professional Academic Skills or JSB178 Policy, Governance and Justice.
To contribute to policy development in the global sphere, justice professionals need a thorough understanding of different forms of marginalisation, their development, and their cultural and social context beyond Australian borders. Justice professionals who are able to critically reflect on global inequalities and the contexts from which they arise offer much more effective contributions to policy development in the interests of global justice.Using the concepts of identity, marginalisation, power, and resistance, this unit will provide the conceptual and practical tools with which to understand marginalisation in global contexts and particularly in the global South. These concepts will be used to evaluate existing policy responses and formulate new and innovative policies addressing global injustice. The unit aims to produce justice professionals who are able to engage in public policy debates, and thus achieve effective change, at a global level.
In an increasingly globalised world, justice professionals are frequently faced with challenges that are international in scope. Human rights abuses, environmental instability, poverty, conflict and regional instability act as obstacles to the maintenance of domestic order and international peace and security, as well as an individual's capacity to live a dignified life. This unit explores challenges to human rights in a global context, with a focus on human rights violations during conflict, issues of justice and equity associated with the movement and migration of people, and the human rights environment for marginalised communities. The unit also introduces students to theories of global justice as a lens through which to understand human rights. This unit will assist students to understand challenges in the global context and how they might work to address them.
Criminology is a multi-disciplinary field and this is reflected in the diversity of theoretical approaches, which draw on various sciences, psychology, sociology, philosophy and politics. Theory is typically offered as distinct from methods of research; however, together they provide the foundation for policy and practice. The unit provides an analytical framework in order to critically assess the epistemological claims and justifications found in criminological theory. A range of criminological explanations and theories of crime are explored: classicism/neo-classicism; biological and psychological positivism; anomie; strain theory; the Chicago school; labelling theory; feminist criminology; Marxism; critical criminology; new right theory; left realism; and cultural criminology. The course stresses the relevance and application of theory, examining how theory 'works' (or 'fails') in practice.
Drugs, both legal and illegal, present challenges to individuals and the community as well as to the criminal justice and health systems in Australia. The unit is designed to introduce students to key issues associated with drug use in Australia, including trends, patterns of usage and drug-related harms. Students will develop their skills proposing policy responses to drug control. The scope and content of the unit make this an important unit for justice professionals or those wanting to work in policy development, welfare and policing, and the unit's focus on real world social problems will appeal to QUT's student market.
This unit is concerned with the diverse roles, duties, powers and problems of policing in Australia. These issues are explored through a variety of topics, which include the history and context of policing in Australia, the powers and duties of police officers, the varied tasks that police are required to perform as part of their job, ethics, and the key issues that police face in undertaking their role in society.
Understandings of multiple forms of political violence (including terrorism) is crucial for work in the law enforcement or justice sectors and agencies. Political violence and terrorism take many forms and are a growing form of conflict and insecurity globally.The history of political violence and terrorism and the issues that motivate individuals, non-state groups, and governments to engage in violence are complex. In order to understand the existence and influence of, and responses to, political violence and terrorism, this unit explores: the defining characteristics of political violence and terrorism historical and geographical contexts of political violence, drawing on historical and contemporary examples responses to political violence and to terrorism, and current developments and challenges in addressing such violence
Domestic and family violence are crimes that are pertinent to virtually all justice professions and contexts from policing to law and justice policy. It is also a central issue in health care and social services, and arises in many other employment contexts. This unit provides a comprehensive introduction to research, issues and professional practice that students will be able to apply in many areas.
Crime and criminality are ubiquitous in popular culture. Justice studies and criminology are multidisciplinary enterprises with a longstanding interest in cultural and social responses to crime. A critical account of how criminality and justice are represented in popular culture will provide a better understanding of how cultural genres shape mainstream attitudes and responses to crime, including shifting political and policy responses. This unit provides a comprehensive introduction to research and issues in the field that students will be able to apply in many areas of practice, including the analysis of media responses to crime.
Intelligence is increasingly taking a leading role in investigations and security procedures, with analysts setting a direction for criminal investigation and security teams. The unit exposes students to the essentials of the criminal intelligence systems, the intelligence process and creative problem-solving skills. Intelligence professionals are also concerned with support to government, the private sector and the community. Criminal intelligence offers an advantage through the provision of accurate and timely advice. Criminal intelligence requires proficiency in thinking strategies and skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills, teamwork, and application of intelligence process methodologies in a variety of cultural contexts.
The unit teaches specialised knowledge to students in their final years of study and is imperative for students interested in working in the field of youth justice. It connects broader knowledge about policing and criminal justice with specific issues relevant to young people who become involved in the criminal justice system, with a focus on socially just outcomes for young offenders.
In recent years the effectiveness of the criminal justice system has come under sustained criticism. A key criticism of traditional criminal justice responses to crime involving police, courts and imprisonment is that they are reactive responses, occurring only after a crime has been committed. This has led policy makers, criminologists and criminal justice practitioners to develop schemes that involve federal, state and local authorities working together to predict, identify and address causes of offending. Such approaches to crime control emphasise proactive responses, which seek to prevent the crime before it has occurred. There are various approaches to crime prevention, as well as many perceived barriers to its successful implementation. This unit introduces students to the concept of crime prevention as well as its application to societal problems.
There is increasing demand in Australia for graduates with the skills and expertise required to contribute to the policy-making process and delivery of democracy. It is therefore necessary for students who wish to work in the public sector or as part of the political process to understand the role of people power in political decision-making. This unit offers students an insight into global and national social movements, political lobbying, and political participation.
Critical policy analysis is an essential ability in the justice sector, and policies in this field have significant social consequences. It is imperative that those employed in areas connected to justice are equipped with the skills to critically interrogate policy evidence, impacts and implications. This unit will draw on important debates in contemporary policy (including Indigenous policy) to explore some important ways policy works - as a practical expression of government intentions, as a mechanism for social inclusion and exclusion, and as an expression of social and political relationships. This unit provides the opportunity for you to draw together the knowledge and skills you have developed in this area, and build on them, in order to hone and practice these capabilities.
The investigation of death is a well-regulated system, orchestrated through the coronial system with identification of suspicious deaths undertaken by the criminal justice system. This death investigation model involves legal, medical and criminal justice personnel to establish both the medical cause and legal circumstance of death. The information gathered in this way is also used to inform government policy, including preventing deaths. In the wake of Harold Shipman in the United Kingdom and Dr Patel in Australia, the issue of concealed homicide has become topical, with questions asked about how the coronial system can better investigate death. Detailed knowledge of death investigation in Australia is crucial for legal and medical professionals as well as criminal justice agency personnel. This unit examines the history, processes, procedures and outcomes of death investigation in Queensland; including overrepresentation, cultural issues, trauma and determining manner of death.