This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- At Stage 1 you’ll study two 60-credit introductory modules – one with a focus on law and one with a focus on the social sciences.
- Next, at Stage 2, you’ll study two further 60-credit modules exploring public and criminal law, and criminology.
- Finally, at Stage 3, you’ll study two from a choice of three 30-credit law modules and complete your degree with a 60-credit criminology module.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll explore why laws exist, how they’re applied and interpreted, key concepts such as culpability and liability, and the nature of criminal justice processes and legal systems. Next, you will study a wide range of social science issues and topics including the theme of justice in relation to immigration and criminalisation.
At Stage 2 you’ll explore the relationship between the state and its citizens, and the principles underpinning constitutional and criminal law. You'll also explore ways in which criminology seeks to explain problems of crime, understands the role of criminal justice and experiences of victimisation.
At Stage 3, we offer a choice of four law modules. You can gain an intensive knowledge of different areas of European Union law; explore the relationships between law, society and culture; research a legal topic of your own choice or work on pro bono legal projects. For your study of criminology, you’ll explore crime and justice in both global and local contexts, and in particular the way that crime and justice are being continually redefined by global economic, social and political change.
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 (Honours) Criminology and Law 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 or 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 support website 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.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Criminology and Law 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.
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.
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
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. You will develop skills in critically scrutinising and reassessing everyday understandings of crime and criminal justice, as well as knowledge of 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.
Please note that completion of this degree will not provide you with a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD).
This degree opens up a diverse range of career paths, including:
- advice work
- community development
- the crown prosecution service
- human resources
- local government
- mental health support and drug rehabilitation
- the police and prison services
- refugee and victim support
- social research
- 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, while many students choose to progress to masters courses.
Outside of criminal justice and legal professions, typical employers include:
- banks and insurance companies
- the NHS
- educational institutions
- HR departments
- local and central government.
Some of these career paths relate directly to criminology and law, others draw upon the graduate skills that you’ll acquire. 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, 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 – 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):
- 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
- social researcher
- social worker
- trading standards officer
- youth worker
Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, Prospects and Plan IT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.