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If you are interested in this field, you should also look at
courses in law (if you meet the entry requirements), social work
and certain specialisations within the humanities and social
sciences. Depending on your interests and career needs, you
may also find courses that appeal to you in fields as varied as
business and management or education and training.
Courses and specialisations
Although paralegal courses were traditionally offered in the
vocational education sector, many are now available at degree
level — either as standalone degrees or as majors within arts or
social science programs. Some of the newer specialisations
include defence and counter-terrorism studies.
Graduates work in the justice system, legal services,
protective services and government departments, among others.
Opportunities also exist in private industry and, depending on the
specific area of specialisation, in independent private practice.
Where to study
Relevant courses are offered at most universities, although some
will boast a more extensive course menu than others. Some
degrees are designed to provide upgraded qualifications for
people already working in these occupations and are offered part
time or sometimes even externally.
Entry to these courses is generally easier than law, although
the overall level of difficulty has increased over time. This may
reflect the rising demand for forensics-related courses, which also
fall into this category, as well as for courses like criminology,
defence and terrorism. To compare entry difficulty at different
institutions, see the ‘How tough is it to get in?’ tables in Section 4.
Karina — Bachelor of Forensic Biology
Why did you choose to study
I was always interested in having a
career in science, and forensic
biology fascinated me. I wanted to
have a job where I could use my
skills to make a difference. I saw
forensic biology as an opportunity
to help the victims and those
wrongfully accused of crimes.
Furthermore, as a perfectionist, I
liked the idea of working in a field where a meticulous
approach and a fine attention to detail are crucial.
What was the best thing about your course?
I enjoyed the hands-on nature of the course, particularly the
subjects specific to forensic biology, which included crime
scene investigation, DNA profiling and investigation of human
remains. Half of the face-to-face hours at university were
devoted to laboratory work and practical classes. These
classes covered everything from documenting and collecting
biological evidence from crime scenes to DNA testing and
reporting on the results for the courts. This gave the students
a taste of the many different facets of forensic biology.
What was the worst thing about your course?
There was very little flexibility to choose elective subjects, and
the majority of forensic biology-specific subjects were isolated
to the third and final year of the degree.
What did your course involve?
My course involved lectures, tutorials and lab classes, as well
as some excursions (including visiting the morgue to watch a
Have you found work in your field?
Yes. After graduating I worked as a research assistant for two
years, before finding work as a forensic biologist in a state
government testing laboratory.
What advice would you give to students considering
studying paralegal studies?
In terms of coping with the course, my advice would be to
maintain a healthy uni/life balance and to stay on top of the
workload from day one. Unfortunately there are very few job
opportunities for forensic biologists in some states. For those
graduates interested in DNA testing of forensic evidence,
there are state and federal government testing laboratories.
Alternatively, graduates could work as crime scene officers for
the police, which usually requires that they become sworn
The student body and graduate ratings
THE STUDENT BODY
tuition costs for
Teaching quality Generic skills
The fees shown are for the whole course and are approximate. Confirm with the institution concerned. For an explanation of abbreviations, see page 429.
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