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Cyber criminology graduate

Why study cyber criminology at UQ?

Here are 5 good reasons
Study tips
Published 20 Oct, 2023  ·  4-minute read

Cybercrime and cyber security aren't just technical issues. They are human problems with human solutions.

Employ a human-centred approach to cyber security and cybercrime, and make your mark on the new age of cyber-based crimes.

When you study UQ's Master of Cyber Security with a specialisation in Cyber Criminology, you'll examine the human factors of cybercrime and cyber security, including the motivations, methods, behaviours, and beliefs that underpin offending, victimisation, and responses.

Whether you’re looking to upskill or re-stream into the cyber industry, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to make your mark in analysis, intelligence, law enforcement, security, policy, or research roles.

We asked several of our students and industry members to reflect on the question: why study cyber criminology?

Here’s what they had to say.

1. World-class staff and program

Our world-class teaching staff consists of experts who are leaders in the emerging fields of cyber criminology and cyber security.

The program will develop your broader strategic cyber security insight while deepening specialist skills and experience in the human factors of cybercrime, preparing you to lead at an organisational or policy level.

After studying anthropology and political science, graduate Oliver Enriquez pursued UQ’s Master of Cyber Security (Cyber Criminology) to explore the internet’s impact on people and communities.

"The world has changed dramatically due to the creation of the internet, and online spaces have created new challenges for governments and businesses to keep people safe," he says.

Oliver Enriquez, cyber security

It was surprising to have such a high level of support throughout the program, as the teaching staff genuinely care about setting you up for success and applying your knowledge to real issues.

Oliver Enriquez
Master of Cyber Security

"We also had flexibility within the program and were able to choose different electives, such as the Crime, Race and Gender class, which enabled me to enhance my knowledge and the way I respond to cybercrime,” says Oliver.

2. Human solutions to human problems

Cyber security is most often seen as a technical problem with technical solutions, with less attention paid to the people.

With the growing sophistication of cyberattacks, and more and more crimes now having digital aspects, the importance of embracing the human side of cyber couldn’t be more critical.

After completing UQ’s Bachelor of Criminal Justice (now the Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice), fellow master’s student Rae wanted to further her understanding of why people commit crime within cyberspace.

"I have always been interested in using my understanding of why people commit crime and their motivations for it and wanted to apply this understanding in the cyberspace," she says.

"Cyber is now a part of all crime whether that be a ransomware attack or just criminals using their phone to text one another."

In the Cyber Criminology specialisation, you’ll learn the criminological, psychological, sociological and anthropological factors behind cybercrime and victimisation. You’ll focus on how to use this knowledge to respond to new threats and problems.

Dr Jonah Rimer, Convenor of Cyber Criminology at UQ, says it is these human-centred perspectives that are both so crucial to learn and rewarding to teach.

"What I love most about teaching Cyber Criminology is watching the lightbulb go off for students who may have always thought of cybercrime and cyber security as mostly technical things," he says.

"When they realise how central and important people are to the entire equation, they gain a much more well-rounded expertise, and this is what makes our field of study unique."

3. Integrated learning experience

This postgraduate program is truly multi-disciplinary, bringing in technology, business, mathematics, social science and law disciplines to offer an integrated learning experience.

Rae, cyber security

Cyber security is a diverse field that requires experts from a range of disciplines, and it’s great I can get that experience already in the classroom. Studying in this stream meant my classes were constantly commenting on the most recent attacks against Australian organisations and individuals.

Master of Cyber Security

Cyber Criminology is 1 of 4 fields of specialisation in the UQ Master of Cyber Security, alongside Cryptography, Cyber Defence and Leadership.

Across all fields of study, students receive a high-level global perspective on cyber security and information security fundamentals by taking 4 interdisciplinary core courses in addition to the courses within their specialisation.

Each field of study concludes with a capstone project which flexibly enables students to undertake in-depth industry-linked or academic research according to their preference and career aspirations.

You'll get the opportunity to undertake an industry or research-based project to ensure you are ready to enter the workforce after graduating.

4. Industry growth

With soaring industry growth projections, it’s estimated that Australia will need an additional 18,000 cyber security professionals by 2026.

So, in partnership with industry experts, UQ has developed the first program to genuinely address the interdisciplinary nature of this field while still meeting the need for deep specialisation in core areas.

Mandy Turner, a senior manager in cyber security at a multinational tech firm, says employers value graduates with a strong foundation of criminology and social science.

"They play a key role in cyber security and cybercrime response," she says.

"Cybercrime is easy for criminals to do – they can do it from the comfort of their homes, they can easily hide, and the threat of cybercrime increases with emerging technologies, the unstable economy, and geopolitical unrest."

"Wars are started in cyberspace, critical infrastructure is disrupted, businesses are destroyed, and lives are impacted by cybercrime," says Mandy.

"Cyber security is a security discipline, not an IT one; therefore, the skills needed to be successful in a cyber security role are not the same as those needed for one in computing."

Mandy Turner, cyber security

Technology, using software, and understanding computers and networks can be taught on the job. When hiring, it’s not the candidate’s ability to use a computer that's important, but how they think.

Mandy Turner
Senior Manager in Cyber Security / Adjunct Lecturer, UQ School of Social Science

Cyber Criminology graduates find themselves in a number of successful careers including:

  • cyber security professional
  • policy adviser
  • intelligence analyst
  • cybercrime investigator
  • anti-money laundering investigator
  • dark web intelligence expert
  • researcher.

5. Commonwealth Supported Placements

Domestic places in the Master of Cyber Security are Commonwealth Supported. This means the cost of your education is shared between you and the Australian Government. Instead of tuition fees, Commonwealth Supported students pay what are called student contribution amounts. HECS-HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme to assist eligible students with the cost of their student contribution amounts.

Whether you’re looking to upskill or enter the cyber industry, make your mark on the security and crime challenges of the future by specialising in Cyber Criminology in the Master of Cyber Security.

Learn more about studying Cyber Criminology at UQ

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