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BA (Honours) Youth Justice Studies (England and Wales)

The last time you can start this qualification is in October 2018 and you must complete it by December 2025.

If you work with young people in the youth justice system, or want to do so in the future, this degree will have a real impact on your practice and prospects. It will help you become more knowledgeable, versatile and confident that you have what it takes to help children and young people in trouble with the law. Strong links with current research will equip you to analyse this fast-changing field, and you’ll develop the practical skills needed to support and make a positive difference to the futures of young people whether you’re a volunteer or paid professional.

Key features of the course

  • Develop critical understanding of issues about young people, crime and justice
  • Extend your knowledge of young people's needs in the youth justice system
  • Learn skills needed to support and make a positive difference to the futures of young people
  • Suitable for paid professionals and voluntary workers
  • Provides a solid basis for further study and research

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course



  • 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


  • 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.
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • Stage 1 modules will introduce you to effective practice in youth justice, childhood studies and child psychology, which provide underpinning knowledge and skills.
  • At Stage 2 you’ll focus on the overarching principles and understanding needed to be an effective youth justice practitioner.
  • Finally, at Stage 3, you’ll explore how social research can deepen your knowledge and broaden your critical appreciation of youth justice.

Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll explore two potentially conflicting goals in youth justice, welfare and punishment – including preventing offending and re-offending; how to balance the care needs of children and young people while addressing their troublesome behaviour. You'll consider how children develop and how perspectives on childhood and child psychology are important to youth justice.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2 you’ll focus on the contested understandings of crime and different ways of working with children and young people. This includes exploring how to be an effective youth justice practitioner, international approaches to youth crime, the relationship between theory and research, and interventions designed to prevent re-offending.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

Finally, at Stage 3, you’ll explore how you can use social research to deepen your knowledge and broaden your critical appreciation of youth justice – drawing lessons from existing research and conducting your own.
You'll study both of the following:
Young lives, parenting and families (KE322)60
Exploring practice (K316)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 21 March 2018.


We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Hons) Youth Justice Studies (England and Wales) 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
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • finding external/third party material online.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our disability 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 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) Youth Justice Studies (England and Wales) degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.


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. However, the last time you can start this qualification is in October 2018 and you must complete it by December 2025.

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

Counting previous study

You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification if you have:

  • already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
  • other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

Find out more about credit transfer

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

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, management and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you.

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.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,928*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £5,856*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £17,568*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. 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 a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.

Skills for career development

This qualification will provide those who work with young people in the youth justice system or who want to enter the field (from a background in more general youth or voluntary work) with the skills and knowledge needed to move forward in their practice. It develops critical and creative thinking that are essential to anyone seeking employment in a dynamic and challenging area of policy and practice.

Key employability skills include the ability to:

  • communicate ideas, principles, theories, arguments and analyses effectively in speech and in writing, using visual and ICT tools where appropriate
  • identify, present and develop systematic arguments, drawing on appropriate, up-to-date evidence, literature and theory
  • reflect on your own learning constructively in order to develop as an effective and antonymous learner, including maintaining records of your personal learning and development
  • apply relevant IT solutions to situations.

Career relevance

This degree is relevant for anyone wanting to work in the area of Youth Justice including Youth Offending Teams and 'secure estate' staff, general volunteers, locum and sessional workers as well as Referral Order Panel members in England and Wales. The degree will also be relevant to other specialist workers or volunteers in youth, care and education sectors who want to develop their skills and qualifications in working with troubled and troublesome young people.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.

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 – including 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 (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • Youth worker
  • Probation officer
  • Social worker
  • Police officer
  • Housing officer
  • Teacher
  • Health worker
  • Outreach worker
  • Mentor
  • Legal adviser
  • Advocate
  • Personal officer (youth offending)
  • Prison officer
  • Advice worker
  • Counsellor.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018

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