This qualification has two stages, each comprising two 60-credit modules.
- At Stage 1 you’ll study two introductory modules on criminology and psychology.
- At Stage 2 you’ll look at criminology and psychology in greater depth.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
At Stage 1 you’ll study how criminologists think about and explain crime, deviancy, harm and victimisation, and how psychologists investigate thinking and behaviour, why people harm others, and how ‘false’ memories occur.
At Stage 2 you'll explore ways in which criminology seeks to explain problems of crime, and understands the role of criminal justice and experiences of victimisation. You will also learn how psychologists have studied both practical and theoretical issues, such as nationalism or sexuality, with a particular emphasis on understanding and solving problems that directly affect people’s lives.
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 2020.
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 Psychology 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, interactive activities such as online quizzes
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
- working in a group with other students.
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. 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; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
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.
On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology and Psychology.
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 to study this qualification.
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
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
People, work and society Access module
Skills for career development
You will be introduced to skills for critically analysing everyday understandings of crime and how the criminal justice system operates. You will also develop the skills needed to critically analyse aspects of human behaviour, and some of the principles of forensic psychology and counselling. Alongside these you will build on some transferable general skills which may further help work or your career prospects, including:
- identifying and understanding some kinds of data and information
- analysing evidence
- applying your learning to some practical issues
- reflecting on your own learning
- developing strategies to update your knowledge
- communicating and presenting coherent arguments.
This diploma is relevant to a range of career paths, some of which are listed below. Some relate directly to criminology and psychology, others draw upon other skills which you will acquire. This diploma does not guarantee entry to the career fields listed, but it may ease access and increase your employability in relation to them, and it enhances prospects for progression once you are qualified to enter them.
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. Many of these careers require further study, training and/or work experience):
- crime prevention worker
- community development worker
- local government officer
- police officer
- prison officer
- probation officer
- public sector /third sector advice worker
- social researcher
- social services worker
- social worker
- victim support worker
- youth justice worker
- youth worker