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BA (Honours) Criminology and Law

Crime, justice and the workings of the law are matters that affect us all and often dominate the news. This degree takes a critical and analytical view of the role and functions of the legal system, and examines its relationship with crime, harm criminal justice. You'll learn to apply research tools, and access and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data on crime, victimisation and the societal responses to them. With an appreciation of criminological theorising and evidence, you will develop the skills to comment on crime, victimisation, and responses to crime and deviance, including policy questions, at national, international and global levels. You'll gain the ability to critically assess everyday understandings of crime, harm and criminal justice, the social, political, economic, historical and ethical dimensions of law, as well as gain knowledge of the key institutions which make up criminal justice and legal systems.

Key features of the course

  • Explore the complex issues behind today’s crime, law and justice headlines.
  • Understand, interpret and apply concepts about crime and law to 'real world' problems
  • Develop transferable employability skills to support career progression.
  • Identify where criminal justice and law is failing to provide social justice, fairness and equal opportunities in society. 

Please note, if you wish to gain a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) you should select our Bachelor of Laws (R81).

We also offer a Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology and Law (W52) that is the same in structure as the first two-thirds of this degree.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q92
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.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits. 

  • At Stage 1 you’ll study introductory modules in criminology and in law. 
  • Next, at Stage 2, you’ll explore public and evidence law, and criminology. 
  • Finally, at Stage 3, you’ll study crime, social harm, trusts law and complete your degree with a choice of law 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 criminology, thinking about the ways in which the study of crime has been informed by a variety of disciplines. You'll also be introduced to key social problems and criminal justice responses. Next, you'll explore criminal law and the courts, looking at how the criminal law operates in real-life scenarios and how the English criminal justice system operates within the wider legal system.

ModulesCredits
You'll start your degree with:
Introduction to criminology (DD105)60
You'll complete this stage with:
Criminal law and the courts (W111)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2, you'll begin by developing your knowledge and understanding of criminological concepts and theories, with a focus on how these concept and theories can help you to understand, interpret and reinterpret the social world in new and exciting ways. Next you'll explore the relationship between the state and the individual in the UK by considering the UK constitution and some areas of administrative law. You'll then go on to learn about the law of evidence which determines what evidence the courts can consider within court proceedings.

ModulesCredits
You'll study the following:
Understanding criminology (DD212)60
Public law (W211) – planned for October 202230
Evidence law (W250) – planned for February 202330

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3, you'll explore some of the fundamental distinctions between crime and social harm, with a particular focus on the role of the state. You'll also study trusts law and select your final law module. Within these options, you can either gain an intensive knowledge of different areas of European Union law; explore the relationships between law, society and culture; land law; or research a legal topic of your own choice.

ModulesCredits
You'll study:
Crime, harm and the state (DD311)60
Trusts law (W311) – planned for October 202330
You’ll also choose from:
European Union law (W330)30
Exploring legal boundaries (W350)30
Land law (W312) – planned for February 202430
Law, society and culture (W340)30

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 BA (Honours) Criminology and Law uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying online – some modules have a mixture of printed and online material, and others are entirely online. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • online tutorials
  • developing numeracy and academic writing skills
  • working in a group or collaborating with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
  • working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts
  • 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 degree

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.


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; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University 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. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Criminology and Law degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

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 £19,008*.
  • .

*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

As well as the specific knowledge gained from studying this OU degree, you'll develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers. These include:

  • analytical and problem-solving skills
  • IT skills
  • search, retrieval and interpretative skills
  • self-reflection skills
  • responding to feedback skills 
  • personal and career development skills.

You will also develop subject-specific skills, such as critically scrutinising and reassessing everyday understandings of crime, law and criminal justice, as well as in-depth knowledge of key concepts in law and criminology, and the key institutions which make up criminal justice and legal systems. You will study two of the foundation subjects for an English Qualifying Law Degree, and develop legal research skills as well as skills of comprehension, analysis and presentation. Independently plan, study and manage a sequence of work to an agreed timetable which includes the meeting of deadlines.

Please note that completion of this degree will not provide you with a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD).

Career relevance

This degree opens up a diverse range of career paths, including:

  • advice work
  • community development
  • the crown prosecution service
  • housing services
  • human resources
  • local and central government
  • mental health support and drug rehabilitation
  • the police, prison and probation services
  • refugee and victim support
  • social research and policy analysis
  • social and youth work. 

You might use your degree to access a law conversion course, to qualify as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales. Some students choose to undertake further study, such as a postgraduate course.

Outside of criminal justice and legal professions, typical employers include:

  • banks and insurance companies
  • 'third sector' organisations such as charities
  • the NHS
  • educational institutions
  • HR departments
  • local and central government. 

Some career paths relate directly to criminology and law, others draw upon the graduate skills that you’ll acquire through this qualification. This degree does not provide direct entry to the career fields listed, but it may ease access and increase your employability in relation to them. It may also enhance your prospects for progression within a chosen field once you are qualified for entry.

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 beyond your degree):

  • adult guidance worker
  • advice worker
  • chartered accountant
  • Civil Service administrator
  • community development worker
  • housing manager/officer
  • human resources officer
  • local government officer
  • police officer
  • prison officer
  • probation office
  • social researcher
  • policy analyst
  • trading standards officer
  • social/youth worker

Register for this course

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

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