You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.
Police on patrol at a fairground

Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology and Sociology

This diploma offers you the chance to study topical, and at times controversial, criminological and sociological subject matter. As you’re investigating questions of crime, criminalisation and social harm, you’ll look at society’s responses to these questions to determine if they are appropriate and adequate. You’ll explore how social worlds are made and how we are shaped by the societies in which we live. You'll also consider the impact of digital technology on individuals and society, power and inequality and, people and things, drawing on your own experience of the interactions you have with technology in your daily life.

Key features of the course

  • Explore topical issues about contemporary social life and about crime, harm and criminal justice
  • Learn to evaluate evidence critically and better understand criminological and sociological problems
  • Examine the role of both theory and research in shaping knowledge about crime, justice and the wider social world
  • Learn about social research methods
  • Builds on the OU’s reputation for cutting-edge criminological and sociological teaching and research.
A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this diploma of higher education is also equivalent to the first two thirds of the BA (Honours) Criminology and Sociology (R46).
 

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Diploma

Diploma

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree.
  • Enhance your professional and technical skills or extend your knowledge and understanding of a subject.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Top up to a full honours degree in just two years.

This type of course may be of particular interest if you’re living or working in Scotland.

Course code
W80
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
240
How long it takes
Part time – 4 years
Full time – 2 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a compulsory module in inter-disciplinary social science, followed by a compulsory module in criminology.
  • Next, in Stage 2, you'll study a compulsory sociology module, followed by a choice from two criminology modules.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

At Stage 1 you’ll begin with a broad introduction to the social sciences, giving you a strong grounding in sociological and social scientific ideas and approaches. You'll then be introduced to key concepts in and approaches to understanding crime, criminal justice, harm and victimisation.

ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Introducing the social sciences (DD102)60
Introduction to criminology (DD105)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2 you’ll investigate how the social world is being transformed by the internet and digital technology. You'll also choose between exploring the ways in which criminology explains problems of crime, and an introduction to social research methods.

ModulesCredits
You'll study the following:
Understanding digital societies (DD218)60
You'll choose one from the following:
Understanding criminology (DD212)60
Social research: crime, justice and society (DD215)60

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology and Sociology uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • finding external/third party material online
  • working in a group with other students
  • working with specialist reading material
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance 
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your diploma.

If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support page to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. For more details and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology and Sociology.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £12,672*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


Skills for career development

This diploma will enable you to formulate and investigate sociological and criminological questions; build arguments; assess the methods used to generate evidence and research; and analyse, interpret and evaluate a wide range of information. You'll also learn how to communicate effectively with different audiences (e.g. through reports, policy briefs, blogs, and presentations); and work cooperatively with others. You will develop substantial skills in time-management, self-reflection and self-motivation, and the ability to work independently.

Career relevance

A qualification in criminology and sociology can lead to employment across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Businesses, public sector organisations and educational institutions increasingly have to deal with social issues, and value the skills that criminology and sociology graduates can provide. Consequently, your diploma will be relevant to a wide range of professions, some of which are listed below. You can also use your diploma to pursue further study.

Please note, this diploma does not guarantee entry to the careers listed, which may require a degree and/or other specialist qualifications. However, it may help you gain those qualifications and enhance your prospects for progression once you are employed.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience.

  • criminal justice worker – in prison, probation, police, victim and youth services 
  • voluntary or third sector work with communities, victims, vulnerable populations 
  • non-governmental organisations and aid workers
  • social researcher
  • community development worker
  • social worker
  • civil servant
  • local government officer
  • private risk and security worker
  • human rights and other advocacy NGOs 
  • legal work
  • secondary school teacher
  • journalist
  • trade union official
  • university administrator.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 05/08/2021
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021

Request your Social Sciences prospectus

Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

Request prospectus