CQUni knows Emma

Emma Sutherland

Applications to study at CQUni in Term 1, 2023 are open now. Visit our Criminology and Justice courses page to explore your options.
Emma Sutherland

Bachelor of Science (Criminology and Psychology)

After high school, I did a couple of TAFE courses and worked. I realised I wanted to go to university and wasn’t sure how I could get there without having finished high school. I was searching how I could get to uni, and CQUni and STEPS came up – it looked like the right fit. STEPS is the bridging course, and through that I was able to get entry into undergraduate degrees at CQUni.

I was planning on doing a different undergraduate degree once I’d finished STEPS but looking through the university website, I saw the Bachelor of Science and Criminology and Psychology was an option. I thought that’s something that I’ve always been interested in, so I figured I’d give that a go. I’ve always enjoyed documentaries about crime, but I didn’t really realise that it was an option to study.

I wanted to learn more about why people commit crime, the social and personal factors that contribute to why it happens. I have always been interested in understanding how and why things happen, and the way the mind works. I’d rather be able to work on prevention and understanding the factors contributing to it before it becomes a problem.

I chose CQUni because I knew that, for online learning, it was one of the best. Online study is the most flexible because I can fit it in around my schedule, whether late at night, early in the morning, or during the middle of the day. If I was studying on campus, I would have to be somewhere at a certain time and that really limits work opportunities, which is important. I have read through other universities and seen that the focus is on on-campus learning. With CQUni, I don’t feel like I’m getting any less of a chance at it than the people who are studying on campus. I’ve got the same opportunities to speak with lectures in real-time, online. It’s well set up.

I chose CQUni to study criminology because I knew from my experience in STEPS that the uni was supportive of its students, that it was well-structured, that I would be able to make contact with the lecturers and with the rest of the students easily via the online platforms.

The best part has been that I’ve been able to learn a lot in a way that’s really suited me. It’s felt like I’ve been able to tailor the course to fit me. It’s been very flexible with units, the order I would study in, the times I would be able to study. The lecturers have been easy to communicate with; they’ve done a great job sorting out any questions or concerns that I’ve had. And I’ve seen other students posting on the forums. It’s always been answered quickly – it’s very thorough. The lecturers have often referred back to their professional experience in the field when they’ve been lecturing and answering questions, [they] aren’t just reciting a textbook. I’ve learned a lot about the criminal justice system and the social factors relating to crime.

CQUni is helping me be what I want to be by giving me the opportunity to study something that I wouldn’t have been able to at another university. I wouldn’t have been able to study without the online flexibility, without the lecturers. I’d like to work in forensic mental health… a forensic psychologist working in a secure hospital. That’s how I’d like to help people. With a background in criminology, it makes it more desirable to employers when looking to move into that field, with more of an understanding of crime and criminal behaviour than others who have just done a straight psychology degree.

The most fascinating thing about the criminal mind is probably how some people can be in awful circumstances and come out very twisted and hurt other people, whereas, some go through the same thing and it doesn’t have that effect on them. Those people deserve proper care, even if they’ve done terrible things. They need people who understand criminal behaviour and the mind. I think that the most interesting part… it isn’t the ‘what happens’, I think it’s the ‘why it happens’. Because you can’t stop the ‘what’ from happening, but you can stop the ‘why’. And I’d like to be able to make a difference in that way.

There’s a lot of grey areas in criminology. People might come into it expecting it to just be almost degrading to criminals or prisoners, but really, it’s about helping them as much as it’s about helping anyone else. It’s about preventing crime from happening again. It’s preventing crime from happening in the first place. It’s about protecting people from themselves and everyone else by understanding why things happen the way they happen.

What’s motiving most people is that it’s an area of interest for so many people. In this era where the media spreads so much about crime, you can’t go on the Internet, you can’t turn on your TV, you can’t listen to the radio without hearing about crime. And I think a lot of us want to understand why it’s happening. It’s becoming a lot more normalised to have an interest in that area. That’s what’s driving a lot of people to study criminology… why it’s becoming a discipline that is in high demand for students.

We can’t fix the problems in society that are pertaining to crime if we don’t understand why it’s happening, and understand the social factors and the environmental factors, and the economic factors that are contributing to people committing crime. If we don’t understand those then we can’t prevent crime from occurring. And criminology—studying criminology—is the way that we can understand those.

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