This qualification has two stages, each comprising two 60-credit modules.
- At Stage 1 you’ll study two introductory modules on criminology and psychology.
- At Stage 2 you’ll look at criminology and psychology in greater depth.
At Stage 1 you’ll study how criminologists think about and explain crime, deviancy, harm and victimisation, and how psychologists investigate thinking and behaviour, why people harm others, and how ‘false’ memories occur.
At Stage 2 you'll explore ways in which criminology seeks to explain problems of crime, and understands the role of criminal justice and experiences of victimisation. You will also learn how psychologists have studied both practical and theoretical issues, such as nationalism or sexuality, with a particular emphasis on understanding and solving problems that directly affect people’s lives.
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.
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 and Psychology 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, interactive activities such as online quizzes
- online tutorials
- working in a group with other students
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination.
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
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.
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology and Psychology.
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
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
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
Skills for career development
You will be introduced to skills for critically analysing everyday understandings of crime and how the criminal justice system operates. You will also develop the skills needed to critically analyse aspects of human behaviour, and some of the principles of forensic psychology and counselling. Alongside these you will build on some transferable general skills which may further help work or your career prospects, including:
- identifying and understanding some kinds of data and information
- analysing evidence
- applying your learning to some practical issues
- reflecting on your own learning
- developing strategies to update your knowledge
- communicating and presenting coherent arguments.
This diploma is relevant to a range of career paths, some of which are listed below. Some relate directly to criminology and psychology, others draw upon other skills which you will acquire. This diploma does not guarantee 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. 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. Many of these careers require further study, training and/or work experience:
- crime prevention worker
- community development worker
- local government officer
- police officer
- prison officer
- probation officer
- public sector /third sector advice worker
- social researcher
- social services worker
- social worker
- victim support worker
- youth justice worker
- youth worker