“The Criminal Justice degree through NCPS is great for people who know they want to work within the justice system but aren’t quite sure which pathway to take.”

Samantha was an Arts student with an interest in criminal justice and a future policing career, when she saw a poster on the NCPS window on her way to lunch. She returned to the campus later to find it was Orientation Week. After an interview with a course adviser, Samantha was ready to apply. She studied on-campus full-time, and graduated in 2013. Samantha is now a paralegal assistant at a boutique law firm, and previously worked as a registrar for the Victorian Magistrates Court. She also studies Law part-time, having earned course credits from her NCPS degree.

“I have always had an interest in Criminal Justice and when I started at NCPS I was 100 per cent set on joining the AFP as I wanted to protect Australia and be able to work overseas,” said Samantha.

An early challenge was keeping motivated through her long commute, as Samantha lived two hours from the Melbourne CBD.

“Ultimately, I realised after six months just how much I loved the teaching staff and the content of each subject and it pushed me to make sure I made every single class so I could learn more,” she said.

The course highlights for Samantha were around the focused content and teacher expertise at NCPS, which only offers the Bachelor of Criminology and Justice.

“I absolutely loved that the people teaching me were also involved in the profession. Being able to hear speakers from outside in the criminal justice realm discuss their pathways into being a lawyer, or psychologist or even about the internal workings of prison systems always kept each class interesting and I was constantly motivated,” said Samantha.

Her nervousness about mastering researching and working in groups was overcome when Samantha became so engrossed in learning these new skills that they influenced her career goals.

“My favourite subject was Research. At the beginning I absolutely dreaded the thought of having to work with people I didn’t know very well, and undertaking different research methods to come to a conclusion, nevertheless having to write nearly 20,000 words on a topic.

“By the end of this subject I had further cemented my career goals, was able to put everything from every subject I had studied into one final assessment and made two of the best friends whom I am still in close contact with today 3 years later.”

Samantha’s study snapshot

What were some highlights from your placement at a police station?

  • There was no such thing as a ‘typical day’.
  • It was great knowing that every day was different and I got to experience the various roles within the Victoria Police.
  • I was able to spend one-on-one time with officers who worked in different roles.

How do you draw on your NCPS studies today?

I still look at my notes, essays and even my thesis to draw on information for my current studies and within my current job role.

I plan on becoming a solicitor or police prosecutor in the short-term future, in the long term I would love to sit the bar and become a Barrister and be able to act in a variety of different types of matters.

What would you say to people who are thinking of studying at NCPS?

Go for it! Jump in, take the plunge, because it will be worth it in the end.