It is a conundrum that most school leavers face at some point. What career path should they take, what university to study at or whether to go to university at all?

Dr Hannah Graham faced the same issues, choosing between the idea of going to TAFE or do some youth work. That was until she got a call from the University of Tasmania (UTAS), which proved to be a game-changer for her. 

“Someone from the university team rang up and said why don’t you come to us and study social sciences or anything else you want to study because thankfully you’ve got a good score and I thought why not do Arts? And I loved it,” Dr Graham said.

After studying sociology and psychology, she went on to do a Masters in Criminology and Corrections and later attained her Doctorate and was the Associate Lecturer in Criminology in UTAS before she left for Scotland for an academic career. 

Making a difference in Europe

Dr Graham works for the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Stirling in Scotland.

She is currently working with a group of research partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, England & Wales on the European Union funded comparative research project ‘Creativity and Effectiveness in the Use of Electronic Monitoring as an Alternative to Prison in Europe’.

“I have worked on EU-funded research projects in the EU network in the last 2-years," she said. 

“A lot of travel, a lot of planes and a lot of meetings, and a fairly incredible European colleagues from 23-30 different countries and being able to say how we can improve justice, how we can improve offender supervision and representing Scotland in that, which is a relatively new home, is quite amazing. I’ve really enjoyed it. 

“I split my time between teaching criminology to undergraduates, supervision and doing research with and for the Scottish Government policy makers and justice, spending a lot of time with the practitioners in justice." 

Why study in Tasmania?

“One of the things that I like about Tasmania and Australia is that we are quite calm and relaxed and we are also quite strong.

“I would encourage future students to not settle for inaccurate stereotypes of ‘you come from Tasmania or it is a small place’ but to realise that we can be part of very innovative things, we can travel and we can show other places what it is that we can do.

“So just not limit yourself to what it could lead to because our graduates end up in really diverse places and I think that is brilliant."

Size does matter

“I enjoyed the freedom to be able to build degrees to match what I really loved and fairly small class sizes so working fairly closely with the criminology staff who went on to become supervisors and colleagues.

“I have to say that being able to have an open door policy to ask them questions when you are quite passionate about something, when you don’t understand something or when you look in to try and get a job, those are fairly key.

“And in particularly large universities you might not have those same opportunities to build degrees flexibly, to know the staff quite well and for them to know you and I think UTAS is unique and Tasmania is one of that unique context where that could happen and it did for me.

“The opportunity to study there and to work there was key. You are expected to be quite independent but you are given support in that and I like freedom and autonomy so the ability to pick essays, pick topics, to pick subjects.

 “Make the degree work for you and if possible get some volunteering and employment experience with the agencies that UTAS works quite closely with because that will make you job-ready upon graduation.”

The University of Tasmania is offering a Bachelor of Justice Studies degree, where you can pursue your passion and interests in Criminology, Social Justice and Human Rights, Police Studies, or Forensic Studies.