(Applied Certificate / Diploma)

Please note:  government expectation is that students should not take more than one certificate course as part of an A level programme.


Criminology is a modular two-year A Level equivalent course in the study of the nature, causes and control of criminal behaviour in both the individual and society. It is Interdisciplinary in that it draws on concepts from psychology, psychiatry, law, sociology and social anthropology.

Criminologists tackle some of the most pressing issues and dilemmas we face in society. They carry out research on crimes and try to explain why they happen, looking into the family life, mental state, social status, biology and other aspects of the lives of criminals. The main aim of criminologists is to find ways to predict, deter, and prevent future crimes. They may assist law enforcement in catching criminals.

The department has close links with a number of universities and students will have an opportunity to attend lectures by criminologists. Local universities also visit to offer support and guidance for university applications.



The first year of the course is at Certificate level and consists of two units:

Unit 1: Changing Awareness of Crime -This unit is assessed by internal controlled assessment

In this unit you will study:

  • Different types of crime, such as hate crime, domestic abuse, honour crime, cybercrime and white-collar crime.
  • Reasons why some crimes tend to go unreported, and the consequences of this for the victim, the offender, and the wider community.
  • How the media represents crime, for example in news reports, TV shows, films and games, and how this impacts on how the public perceive crime.
  • Methods of studying and collecting data on crime.
  • Campaigns for change in the awareness or legal situation of specific crimes.

Unit 2: Criminological Theories Assessed by external exam - In this unit you will study:

  • The definition of criminal behaviour and deviance.
  • The social construction of criminality and how our perceptions of what is criminal change over time, culture and situations.
  • Biological theories of criminality, including the role of genes.
  • Individualistic theories of criminality such as the role of childhood experiences.
  • Sociological theories of criminality, including the impact of social structure and labelling.
  • How social change and campaigns lead to changes in the law.

Year 1 assessments:

  • Unit 1: controlled assessment (8 hours)
  • Unit 2: exam (one and a half hours)


At the end of Year 1 students will need to have achieved at least a grade E in the Certificate Level course in order to progress onto the Year 2 Diploma Level course.

The Year 2 Extended Certificate course consists of the following subjects:

Unit 3: Crime Scene to Courtroom.

  • The process of criminal investigations.
  • Investigative techniques.
  • How evidence is processed.
  • Trial processes.

Unit 4: Crime and Punishment

  • The processes of law making and the organisation of the criminal justice system.
  • Forms of social control.
  • Aims of punishment.
  • Roles, contributions and effectiveness of agencies of social control. 


  • Unit 3: controlled assessment (8 hours).
  • Unit 4: exam (one and a half hours).


Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of:

Grade required Subject required

Grade 4

GCSE English Language or English Literature


Grade 5

In at least one predominantly written based GCSE subject (from English Language, English Literature, History, Religious Studies or Sociology) 

Criminology can be taken alongside a maximum of ONE of the following courses: Either A Level Psychology OR A Level Sociology OR A Level Law. You will also be advised to choose a facilitating subject as your third choice.


Criminologists work in a number of areas and therefore a criminology degree offers good career opportunities in fields such as policing, criminal justice, social work, the prison service, probation, youth offending, drug/alcohol services and victim support among others.

In addition, people with criminology degrees go into a range of other professions as they have gained a wide range of useful and transferable skills such as the ability to solve problems, the skills of project-based research, development and presentation, the ability to work alongside others in a professional environment and the ability to apply their learning in a variety of contexts.


This course is suitable for students with strong literacy skills. You will be required to write at length so will need good essay writing skills. It is recommended as a good alternative to Psychology if you feel that you may not achieve the mathematics and science grades required in Psychology. If you wish to pursue a career in prisons as a forensic psychologist then please also consider Psychology as this will provide a good grounding for a psychology degree. It is important to note that a degree in psychology or criminology does not require an A Level in either subject.