This degree has three 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.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study two further compulsory modules, in sociology and in criminology.
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.
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 ways in which criminology explains problems of crime, and an introduction to social research methods.
You’ll complete your studies by exploring how social experience is shaped by the material world and how crime and justice are continually redefined by global economic, social and political changes.
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.
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 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
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
- 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 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
If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.
For more details and 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 Sociology 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.
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.
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?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
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
Skills for career development
This degree 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); work with others; and give and receive peer feedback. You'll have the chance to devise and conduct your own project and will develop substantial skills in time-management, self-reflection and self-motivation, and the ability to work independently.
A degree 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 degree will be relevant to a wide range of professions, some of which are listed below. You can also use your degree to pursue further study in the higher education sector.
Please note, this degree does not guarantee entry to the career fields listed, which may require specialist qualifications to enter. However, it may help you gain those qualifications and enhance your prospects for progression once you are employed.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to criminology and sociology graduates, particularly in business, the voluntary sector and the public sector.
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.
- 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
- trade union official
- university administrator.
Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, Prospects and Plan IT