• Offered by POLIS: The Centre for Social Policy Research
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Criminology
  • Areas of interest Law, Sociology, Security Studies, Criminology, Human Rights
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Criminologists have a long standing interest in how offenders are punished. Situating punishment historically and comparatively before focusing on the functions, experiences and implications of modern techniques of punishment, this course introduces students to the key thinkers, ideas, problems and debates within the field of penology. This entails evaluating theories, studies, trends and practices of punishment. We will consider the history and changing function of punishment before analysing issues such as: court/trial administration, sentencing,rehabilitation,prison privatisation, mass incarceration, incapacitation, juvenile detention, probation, justice reinvestment, restorative justice, collateral penality, and alternatives to prison. We will contemplate how broader social, economic and political forces significantly shape the everyday administration of punishment and explore how criminal justice policies and programs differentially impact upon particular groups, ensuring their over-representation in prison facilities. We will also explore the arguments and activities of prison reform activists and imagine the future of penality.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of how social, historical, cultural, political and economic forces shape the administration and experience of punishment;
  2. source and evaluate research that engages the effects of criminal justice punishment on individuals, families, communities and society, as a whole;
  3. identify and engage the key issues, problems, trends, ideas and debates within the field of penology; and,
  4. discuss research, present findings and develop arguments, both orally and in writing.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar participation (10) [LO 1,3,4]
  2. Individual presentation (3 minutes) (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Research project (2000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Take home exam (2000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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The mode of delivery for this course may be either in person or intensive:

In person

130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of lectures and tutorials taught intensively.

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level Criminology (CRIM) or Sociology (SOCY) courses, or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

No prescribed textbook will be set for this course.

Preliminary Reading

The prescribed reading will be available on Wattle. It will include texts from a range disciplines, including criminology, law and sociology

Assumed Knowledge



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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