Crime and criminal justice are matters of pressing public concern and considerable controversy. Newly emerging problems offer challenges and require rethinking conventional understandings of criminology and criminal justice. Innovative technologies and justice practices may offer advantages and threats to due process and the integrity of the criminal justice system.  

The Criminal Justice and Criminology specialisation in the Master of Laws will provide you with advanced interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to research and analyse current debates, emerging problems, and new criminal law and criminal justice developments. The specialisation draws on the recognised expertise of UNSW in research and teaching of criminal justice and criminology, criminal law and procedure. You can also choose courses dealing with transnational developments, international criminal law and human rights, and the rapidly evolving sub-discipline of state crime. 

Courses are taught by leading Australian and international experts. The UNSW Centre for Criminology, Law and Justice offers added opportunities for you to participate in events, debates and developments in criminal justice.

Knowledge and experience you’ll gain from this specialisation

  • A deeper understanding of the criminal justice system. 

  • The capacity to critically examine criminal justice practices and institutions, including through a comparative perspective. 

  • The capacity to understand and apply relevant theories or doctrines to analysing problems or debates in criminal law, criminal procedure or criminal justice. 

  • Enhanced skills in legal and criminological research and in communicating complex ideas effectively.

Possible career outcomes

  • Legal, policy, research and administrative roles in public sector criminal justice and related agencies, NGOs and some private sector organisations.

  • Specialised legal practice in criminal law and procedure (if you also hold an LLB/JD). 

  • Specialist roles in research, investigative or regulatory agencies, e.g. BOCSAR, AIC, ICAC, ACIC, Ombudsman, LECC.

  • Client services roles with state or local government and NGOs, such as community corrections, youth work, post-release support.

  • Crime prevention, e.g. with local government.

  • Crime control, law enforcement, intelligence gathering and analysis, security (with police, corrections, intelligence agencies, private security). 

  • Some international opportunities with respect to transnational crime and control, international criminal law and associated agencies.

Who should study this specialisation?

Those with a focus on: 

  • research, policy and administration 

  • analysis of intelligence, investigation and regulation 

  • social work or client service roles related to criminal justice or security 

  • public sector agencies, NGOs or the private sector.

Related UNSW centres

International opportunities

These overseas electives are available as part of your specialisation:

For more information on the structure and courses available in this specialisation, visit the online handbook.

UNSW Master of Laws