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Police on patrol at a fun fair

BA (Honours) Criminology and Sociology

Building on the OU’s reputation for cutting-edge criminological and sociological teaching and research, this joint degree offers you the chance to study lively, topical and sometimes controversial subject matter. You’ll investigate questions of crime, criminalisation and social harm, to determine whether society’s responses to these questions are adequate or appropriate. You’ll also explore how social worlds are made and how we, as individuals, are shaped by the societies in which we live.

Key features of the course

  • Explore lively and topical issues about contemporary social life and about crime, harm and criminal justice
  • Learn to evaluate evidence critically and understand criminological and sociological problems better
  • Examine the role of both theory and research in shaping knowledge about crime, justice and the wider social world
  • Explore criminological and sociological topics of your own interest in depth in the final year

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

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
R46
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. 

  • 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 a further compulsory sociology module, followed by a choice from two criminology modules.

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

Stage 1 (120 credits)

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.

ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Introducing the social sciences (DD102)60
Introduction to criminology (DD105)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2 you’ll focus on how digital worlds are changing social life. You'll also explore ways in which criminology explains problems of crime and understands the role of criminal justice and experiences of victimisation. From October 2021 you’ll be able to choose between two criminology modules.

ModulesCredits
You'll study the following:
Understanding digital societies (DD218) – planned for October 202060
You'll choose one from the following:
Understanding criminology (DD212)60
Investigating crime and criminal justice (DD215) – planned for October 202160

Stage 3 (120 credits)

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. 

ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Making social worlds (DD308)60
Crime, harm and the state (DD311) – planned for October 202060

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 13 September 2019.


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 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
  • finding external/third party material online
  • working in a group with other students
  • working with specialist reading material.

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; 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’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.

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 Student Policies and Regulations website. 


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

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 multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to 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

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 £3,012*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,024*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £18,072*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. 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 computer, 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 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.

Career relevance

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.

Other careers

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
  • journalist
  • 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


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 05/12/2019

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