Criminology is the study of crime. Criminologists explore various explanations for crime and social reactions to crime. It is an interdisciplinary social science subject, drawing from a range of sociological, psychological and biological discussions as well as law.

It is recommended to combine the WJEC Diploma (one A Level equivalent) in Criminology with one or two A Level or BTEC equivalent courses. These could include:

  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Sociology
  • Law
  • Politics
  • History

Many students opt to take this course simply as one of their three A Level or equivalent courses, because they’re interested in the subject matter, and have no intention of pursuing Criminology as a career.

Others do it because they intend to pursue a career or further study in something related.

The study of Criminology can support access to a wide range of Higher Education Criminology and related degree courses. An understanding of Criminology is relevant to many jobs within the criminal justice sector including Probation Officers, Prison Officers, Police Officers, Crime Scene investigators, Forensic Science, Social Workers and Youth Workers. It could also be of interest to someone considering Law as a possible, future career path.  

Students will focus on four areas of study during the course:

  • Changing Awareness of Crime – this looks at different types of crime, influences on perceptions of crime and why some crimes are unreported to enable students to develop an understanding of the complexity of behaviours and the social implications of crimes and criminality. 
  • Criminological Theories – this develops learning from Unit 1 and explores the difference between criminal behaviour and deviance and the theories behind why people commit crime. 
  • Crime Scene to Courtroom – students will gain an understanding of the criminal justice system from the moment a crime has been identified to the verdict in court, and will develop the skills needed to examine information in order to review the justice of verdicts in criminal cases. 
  • Crime and Punishment – this unit allows students to apply their understanding of the awareness of criminality, criminological theories and the process of bringing an accused to court in order to evaluate the effectiveness of social control and deliver criminal justice policy.

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

Students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences including:

  • A trip to the Old Bailey
  • Attending the National Criminology Conference
  • Speakers from the University of Law, Met Detectives, HMP, Probation Service

In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme – including our NEW Criminal Investigation Club (from September 2023).

All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.

Criminology is a Level 3 qualification and takes elements from BTEC and A Level. The course is assessed through a combination of two written examinations, set and marked by WJEC Eduqas, and two assessed internal assignments.

  • External assessments involve short and extended answer questions, based on stimulus material and applied contexts. Each question will have an applied problem-solving scenario.
  • Internal assignments are assessed through summative, controlled assessment.

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:

  • Grade 4 in English Language, and
  • Grade 4 in at least one Science subject (4, 4 in combined Science) or Maths

This is a new subject for most students, and therefore students must be prepared to learn a large number of new and complex concepts relatively quickly.

This course suits students who are:

  • Self-disciplined
  • Open to new ideas
  • Able to express ideas verbally
  • Able to communicate their understanding through written assessment and extended answers
  • Able to evaluate the effectiveness of different theories and research methods
  • Able to work independently or as a group
  • Organised in the way they structure their class notes

What skills and interests do you need to succeed in Criminology?

  • Good written English – you will need to write essays
  • Good critical thinking skills
  • Good time management and organisational skills
  • A passion for learning about crime, criminal case studies and issues relating to it
  • Open to new ideas
  • Able to express ideas verbally
  • Able to communicate your understanding through written assessment and extended answers
  • Able to evaluate the effectiveness of different theories
  • Able to work independently or as a group

Is the course a BTEC rather than A Level?

The course is equivalent to one A Level but is neither a BTEC nor A Level. It is a relatively new course nationwide and follows the WJEC Eduqas specification.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2024

Please apply (from 19 September 2023) via the link on this page:

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

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