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Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology

If you're interested in exploring cutting edge, topical and often controversial criminological issues, then this diploma is for you. You'll explore how crime and justice are defined, controlled, theorised and studied. Your knowledge of how to evaluate evidence and analyse information about crime and justice will be developed, ensuring you have the skills to confidently and expertly examine crime, victimisation, and criminal justice at national, international and global levels. 

Key features of the course

  • Explore controversial issues of crime, harm and criminal justice
  • Evaluate claims made about crime, criminals, victims and criminal justice
  • Learn to critically evaluate evidence to better understand criminological problems
  • Examine the development of criminological knowledge about crime and justice
A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this diploma of higher education is also equivalent to the first two stages of our BA (Honours) Criminology (R21).

Course Summary

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Diploma

Diploma

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree.
  • Enhance your professional and technical skills or extend your knowledge and understanding of a subject.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Top up to a full honours degree in just two years.

This type of course may be of particular interest if you’re living or working in Scotland.

Course code
W67
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.
240
How long it takes
Part time –  4 years
Full time –  2 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • At Stage 1 you’ll study two 60-credit introductory modules – one with a focus on criminology and one with a focus on the social sciences. 
  • Next, at Stage 2, you’ll study two further 60-credit modules exploring theories and research methods in criminology and criminal justice.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

At Stage 1 you’ll begin with a broad introduction to social sciences thinking and the ways in which the study of crime has been informed by a variety of disciplines. You'll also be introduced to key concepts and theoretical approaches to understanding crime, criminal justice, harm and victimisation. These modules provide important underpinnings for your studies at Stage 2.
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 develop your knowledge and understanding of criminological theories, with a focus on how these theories can help you to understand, interpret and reinterpret the social world in new and exciting ways. You'll also learn about the strengths and limitations of different research methods in generating evidence about criminological topics. 

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 2021.


Accessibility

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 uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying online – some modules have a mixture of printed and online material, and others are entirely online. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • online tutorials
  • developing numeracy and academic writing skills
  • working in a group or collaborating with other students
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance 
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your diploma.

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

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.


On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology.

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. 


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?

  • This qualification can only be studied part time due to the current availability of the modules.
  • You'll complete 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

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover 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

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.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £12,672*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. 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 set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


Skills for career development

The Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology will enable you to formulate and examine criminological questions, summarise and explain information and research findings and to assess the methods used to address topical questions on crime and justice. You will learn how to apply basic research tools, access data on crime, victimisation and justice. Overall, the qualification will aim to equip you with the skills to discuss criminological topics with an appreciation of theory and evidence and to comment on the value of criminological work on understanding crime, victimisation, and responses to crime.

Career relevance

This diploma is relevant to a range of career paths, some of which are listed below. Some relate directly to criminology, others draw upon the skills which you will acquire. Successful graduates may also progress to degree-level study. This diploma does not guarantee entry to the career fields listed, but it may improve access, increase your employability, and enhance your prospects of career progression.

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:

  • criminal prevention worker 
  • charity or third sector support worker 
  • community development worker 
  • social services worker
  • public sector advice worker 
  • local government officer

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 05/08/2021
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021

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