About the Department

The Department of Social Inquiry is home to four of La Trobe's most dynamic social science-based programs - Anthropology, Sociology, Community Planning and Development, and Crime, Justice and Legal Studies.

The Department of Social Inquiry is renowned for both its subjects and research areas. We rank in the top 200 universities internationally for Sociology subjects (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020). La Trobe also ranks in the top 3 universities in Victoria and ‘at world standard’ for Sociology and Anthropology research (Excellence in Research for Australia). In 2019, Associate Professor Raelene Wilding was named Field Leader in the area of Human Migration in the Australian's Special Report on Research in the Social Sciences.

Each of these programs have established records of excellence in teaching and research. Together, their expertise and creativity provides a unique platform for interdisciplinary collaboration, inquiry and innovation. The activities of the Department are underpinned by a shared commitment to fostering critical ethical inquiry, community engagement and social justice.

The Department values teaching and consistently receives excellent feedback for student and graduate satisfaction.  It is a significant contributor to the Bachelor of Arts with offerings that extend from discipline-based majors such as Sociology and Anthropology through to offerings in interdisciplinary areas such as Aboriginal Studies and Sustainability and Development. The Bachelor of Criminology is co-taught by staff from the Department of Social Inquiry and the Law School. The Community Planning and Development Program offers professionally accredited graduate courses in planning from its base in Bendigo.

Researchers in the Department contribute to addressing some of the key challenges of our time, including working towards more just and equitable societies, ensuring a healthy, safe and equitable life course for everyone, and understanding the social and cultural impediments to protecting and restoring vulnerable ecosystems, preventing disease and producing high quality foods and medicines. Researchers contribute to several La Trobe research centres, including the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology, the Philippines Australia Studies Centre and the John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research. The Department also has a large cohort of postgraduate students drawn from across Australia and abroad.

Department staff are located at Bundoora, Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga and welcome enquiries concerning their activities. The Head of Department, Dr Raelene Wilding, is also available to be contacted on R.Wilding@latrobe.edu.au.