Course Outline

CRM102 Understanding Crime

Course Coordinator:Nadine McKillop ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 2

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


Understanding the complex causes of crime is essential to developing just and effective responses to offending. This course introduces you to the main theories of crime developed over the last 250 years. The approach explains the origins of theories according to their social contexts. The course also develops your knowledge of the main critiques of these theories ' focusing on evidence and scientific verification, and the implications of different theories for criminal justice practice.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Asynchronous online learning materials 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Face-to-Face Tutorial 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Seminar – Introductory Seminar 1hr Week 1 Once Only
Learning materials – Asynchronous online learning materials. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Online tutorial 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Seminar – Introductory Seminar 1hr Week 1 Once Only

Course Topics

Module 1: Introduction to Theory and Theory Testing

  • Introduction to Theory and Theory Testing
  • Role of Theory and Theory Testing

Module 2: Classical Criminology

  • Pre-Classical and Classical Theory: Classical Criminology and Deterrence Theory
  • The Neo-Classical Age: Rational Choice and Routine Activities/Lifestyle Theories

Module 3: Positivist Criminology

  • Biological & Biosocial, and Psychological perspectives
  • Social Process and Learning Theories (Learning, Social Bonding and Control perspectives)
  • The Chicago School (Social Disorganisation Theory)
  • Social Structural, Anomie and Strain Theories
  • Social Reaction and Critical Theories (Labelling and Reintegrative Shaming; Conflict, Marxist & Feminist Theory)
  • Life-Course Perspectives of Criminality

What level is this course?

100 Level (Introductory)

Engaging with discipline knowledge and skills at foundational level, broad application of knowledge and skills in familiar contexts and with support. Limited or no prerequisites. Normally, associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Identify and describe the origins and main concepts of modern criminological theories. Knowledgeable
2 Explain the relevance of different theories to specific crime problems, using creative means of communication. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
3 Critique crime theories from a scientific point of view and in terms of their implications for criminal justice. Creative and critical thinker
4 Integrate different theories to explain specific crimes and crime patterns. Empowered
5 Demonstrate high-quality written and oral communication skills, including scholarly writing, research and reference practices. Empowered

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Interactive quizzes (using Kahoot or similar app) is built into class activities from week 1 to assist you with learning and retaining key theoretical concepts learnt throughout the course; and for students to bench mark their progress.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Oral Individual or Group 25%
5-7 minutes
Week 6 Online Submission
All 2 Essay Individual 40%
2000 words
Week 12 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Examination - Centrally Scheduled Individual 35%
2 hours
Exam Period Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Multimedia-based recorded presentation
The goal of this assessment is to produce a multimedia-based recorded presentation that demonstrates your knowledge and application of classical criminology.
Product: Oral
This task can be completed individually or in pairs. You are required to produce a pre-recorded 5-7 minute presentation. You must demonstrate how the nominated classical theories explain a crime. This should include a critique of the theories. More information will be provided in tutorials and on CANVAS to help you prepare for your presentation.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Identification and accurate description of theoretical concepts
Application of theoretical concepts to explain a specific crime
Accurate critique of theory for explaining a specific crime and its implications
Quality and creativity of presentation to convey key messages
All - Assessment Task 2:Essay
The purpose of this assessment task is to demonstrate your knowledge of positivist criminological theories and apply them to a specific crime problem. The goal is to demonstrate your ability to integrate and evaluate these theories to explain the crime and identify implications for responding to the crime.
Product: Essay
You are to produce a 2000-word academic essay that integrates three positivist theories covered in the course to explain a specific crime and identify how this translates to practice (i.e., preventing or responding to the crime problem).
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Accurate description of relevant concepts for each chosen theory
1 2
Integration of chosen theories to explain a crime specific crime and implications for criminal justice
Accurate critique of chosen theories in relation to one another and for explaining the specific crime
Appropriate use synthesis of literature to support key arguments
Appropriate and effective structuring of arguments, clarity of expression and correct use of grammar, punctuation and spelling
All - Assessment Task 3:Online Examination
This end-of-semester exam allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and 
understanding of course materials covered throughout the semester.
Product: Examination - Centrally Scheduled
The exam is open book and administered online. Questions will be drawn from course materials covered during the semester. You will have 2 hours available to complete the task.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Accurate recall of course material indicated by correct answers on multiple choice questions
1 2 3 4
Systematic presentation of relevant knowledge addressing the nature and scope of the short-answer questions posed
1 2 3 4

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Akers, R.L., Sellers, C.S., & Jennings, W.G. 2021 Criminological theories: Introduction, evaluation and application. 8th edition Oxford University Press.

Specific requirements

Not applicable

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • UniSC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • UniSC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
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