University Of Tasmania

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Redrawing the boundaries of criminology: increasing forensic literacy by including forensic Studies in the curriculum

Forensic science is a topic of fascination and intrigue, yet popular understandings do not always accord with the realities. Trenchant critiques of forensic science - and how it is used in the criminal justice system - highlight a need for greater forensic literacy amongst criminal justice practitioners. Drawing on 15 years of unit outlines, 10 years of student evaluations and recent reflections by the teaching team, this article documents the development of a suite of forensic studies units at one Australian university. Discussed chronologically, the findings show how the content of units has been shaped over time by critical social sciences research, while their form and intended student body has been influenced by institutional change. Student evaluations consistently noted the benefits of forensic practitioners’ contributions and increases in skills of critical analysis. These findings augment arguments for including forensic studies in the criminology curriculum to best equip practitioners.


Publication title

Journal of Criminal Justice Education






School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Higher education; Law enforcement; Legal processes