Level 3 Criminology

Not all types of crime are alike. Are you interested in what different types of crime take place in our society and what kinds of crime exist, about which we know very little? How do we decide what behaviour is criminal? What are the roles of personnel involved when a crime is detected? Want a career in the police force, legal professions or forensic sciences? Perhaps you are interested to know more about the new exciting subject of Criminology? Either way this is the perfect course for you.

Crime Scene Investigation tape
  • Who Is This Course For?

    Criminology is a course that combines the subjects of Psychology, Law, Politics and Forensic Science to form a new discipline of its own.

    This is a growing subject nationally and one of the first Criminology courses offered at Level 3. It covers an exciting range of topics, covering the Changing Awareness of Crime, Criminological Theories, Crime Scene to Courtroom and Crime and Punishment.

    This course provides an opportunity to broaden your field of study in the social sciences, with a particular focus on crime. You will explore the causes of criminal behaviour, attitudes to crime, criminal investigations and the wider social and psychological aspects of crime. The first year of Criminology is used as a platform for the second year which will make up to full diploma.

    The College entry criteria for Criminology Level Three matches that of Applied Law. This information can be found on our ”Entry Criteria Guidance” pdf document.

  • Course Details:

    Exam Board


    Course Details

    Year 1

    Unit 1 – Changing awareness of crime

    Not all types of crime are alike. What different types of crime take place in our society? What kinds of crime exist about which we know very little, or which are simply not reported to the police and the media? How do we explain people’s reluctance to come forward about crimes of which they have been the victim? Some crimes which seem inoffensive, such as counterfeiting of designer goods, have actually been linked to the funding of more serious crime such as terrorism and people trafficking; so why do people turn a ‘blind eye’ to these ‘mild’ crimes? What methods have governments and other agencies used to raise social awareness of these crimes?

    Many people learn about the fear and fascination of crime from the media, but are the media are liable source of information? To what extent are we misled by our tastes in programmes and newspapers about crime? Who decides what behaviours should be against the law? Who gathers information about crime? Can this information be trusted? Can we trust our own instincts?

    Humans tend to judge other’s behaviour by a variety of moral principles, not all of which are consistent or based on accurate information. We gain our ideas of morality from a variety of sources and one of the most important is the mass media. Police gather information about crime; but the data can be inaccurate. Criminologists have developed procedures to learn about crime, but these too have their limitations. Knowing about the wide range of different crimes and the reasons people have for not reporting such crimes will provide an understanding of the complexity of behaviours and the social implications of such crimes and criminality. At the end of this unit, you will have gained skills to differentiate between myth and reality when it comes to crime and to recognise that common representations may be misleading and inaccurate. You will have gained the skills to understand the importance of changing public perceptions of crime. You will be able to use and assess a variety of methods used by agencies to raise awareness of crime so that it can be tackled effectively. You will have gained the skills to plan a campaign for change in relation to crime; for example to raise awareness, change attitudes or change reporting behaviour.

    Unit 2 – Criminological Theories

    How do we decide what behaviour is criminal? What is the difference between criminal behaviour and deviance? How do we explain why people commit crime? What makes someone a serial killer, or abusive to their own families? Criminologists have produced theoretical explanations of why people commit crime, but which is the most useful? Are these theories relevant to all types of crime? What can we learn from the strengths and weaknesses of each? How can these theories be applied to real life scenarios and real life crimes?

    Knowing about the different types of crime and the criminological approaches to theory will give you a sharper insight into the kind of thinking used by experts and politicians to explain crime and criminality. Public law makers are informed by theory and apply these theories to their own solutions to the problem of crime. By undertaking this unit, you will learn to support, challenge and evaluate expert opinion and be able to support your ideas with reliable and factual evidence.

    Year 2

    Unit 3 – Crime scene to courtroom

    What are the roles of personnel involved when a crime is detected? What investigative techniques are available to investigators to help to identify the culprit? Do techniques differ depending on the type of crime being investigated? What happens to a suspect once charged by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)? What safeguards are in place to ensure a suspect has a fair trial?

    The criminal trial process involves many different people and agencies. Learning about the roles of these will give you a clearer insight into what happens once a crime is detected and the process that leads to either a guilty or non-guilty verdict. There are strict rules as to how evidence is collected from a crime scene and also strict rules governing the giving of evidence in court; learning about these rules will allow you to review the trial process and assess whether the aims of the criminal justice system have been met. You may be familiar with the role of the jury in the Crown Court, but you may not be aware of the many different factors that influence jury decision-making. By undertaking this unit, you will be able to assess the use of lay people in determining the fate of a suspect and evaluate the criminal trial process from crime scene to courtroom.

    Unit 4 – Crime & Punishment

    Why do most of us tend to obey the law even when to do so is against our own interests? What social institutions have we developed to ensure that people do obey laws? What happens to those who violate our legal system? Why do we punish people? How do we punish people? What organisations do we have in our society to control criminality or those who will not abide by the social rules that most of us follow? We spend a great deal of taxpayers’ money on social control, so how effective are these organisations in dealing with criminality?

    Most people in our society are law-abiding and unwilling to break laws. Law-breaking is frequently of the petty variety, so serious crime and repeat offending is often restricted to a few people who cannot or will not abide by the rules that most of us consider to be so important. Society has had to develop a complex system of mechanisms, processes and organisations to ensure that people do not break the law. If they do commit crime, society needs to be protected from their behaviour. These social institutions each have different mechanisms, ideologies and policies. You will learn something of their variety, how they work and their effectiveness in preventing and protecting us from criminality.

    How the course is delivered

    Units 1 and 3 are assessed through coursework.

    Units 2 and 4 are assessed through examinations.

    Each unit is worth 25% of the overall grade.


    Certificate LEVEL (Year 1)

    There will be one controlled assessment in January and one written examination at the end of the course

    Part 1: Changing Awareness of Crime (Controlled assessment)

    Part 2: Criminological Theories (Variety of short answers as well as essay responses in examination form)


    Diploma LEVEL (Year 2)

    There will be one controlled assessment in January and one written examination at the end of the course

    Paper 3: Crime scene to courtroom (Controlled assessment)

    Paper 4: Crime & Punishment (Variety of short answers as well as essay responses in examination form)

  • Progression:

    This course is ideal for anyone that wishes to pursue a career in Criminology. This course can provide a route into Higher Education to study at degree level in a variety of areas such as Criminology, Criminal Justice, Psychology and Forensic Science. The course would provide an excellent basis to anyone wishing to pursue careers within the social workers, youth workers and community development workers.

    The qualification allows students to gain the required understanding and skills to be able to consider employment within some aspects of the Criminal Justice System, Law or police force e.g. the National Probation Service, the Courts and Tribunals Service or the National Offender Management Service to include police/prison officers, probation officers, social workers, youth workers and community development workers.