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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. You’ll explore issues such as the role and place of law in modern society, processes of criminalisation, violence, anti-social behaviour, and inequality, as well as global threats from cyber-crime, terrorism and human rights violations, and their implications for justice. 

Key features of the course

  • Get to grips with the complex issues behind today’s crime, law and justice headlines
  • Understand, interpret and apply concepts about crime and law to the real world
  • Learn the tools of the trade for these two crucial subjects
  • Have an opportunity to gain practical experience by providing members of the public with legal advice in a virtual law clinic 

Please note, if you wish to gain a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) you should select our Bachelor of Laws (Q79).

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

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

Stage 1 (120 credits)

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.

ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
An introduction to law (W101)60
Investigating the social world (DD103)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

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.

ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Public law and criminal law (W203)60
Understanding criminology (DD212)60

Stage 3 (120 credits)

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.


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 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 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; 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. 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.

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 Essential Documents 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

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

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 a 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).

Career relevance

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

  • advice work
  • community development
  • the crown prosecution service
  • housing
  • 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
  • charities
  • 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.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018

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