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This course is equivalent to one A Level and can be studied alongside two A Levels or Extended Certificates within your Study Programme.

Criminology is the scientific study of criminal behaviour, on individual, social and natural levels, and how it can be managed, controlled and prevented. This course aims to provide knowledge and understanding of crime and the criminal justice system.

It covers all aspects of crime, from what kinds of people commit crime, through crime scenes and courtrooms, to punishment and prisons. You will compare criminal behaviour and deviance and learn to explain the social construction of criminality.

It has elements of Psychology, Law, and Sociology, and will be a good choice if you are interested in the Social Sciences or Humanities.

This course will enable you to use theories of criminality (biological, individualistic and sociological)  to analyse criminal situations and make recommendations for improvement.

You will develop the skills to analyse situations of criminality and to evaluate the effectiveness of criminological theories in explaining the causes of criminal behaviour. You will assess the use of theories in informing policy development and explaining how social changes affect policy.

There will be opportunities for trips to Shepton Mallet Prison and a Crime Lab, guest speakers from the Criminal justice System and a chance to explore crime scene methods.


You will study the following units:

  • Unit 1 Changing Awareness of Crime – The purpose of the unit is to plan a campaign for change relating to crime. The focus of the unit is on unreported crime and the consequences of such crimes. It will also introduce media representation of crime and how campaigns for change can raise awareness of unreported crimes in society. You will be required to apply the knowledge and understanding you acquire to a given scenario for the assessment.
  • Unit 2 Criminological Theories – This unit focuses on why people commit crime and includes a study of a range of theories of criminality.
  • Unit 3 Crime Scene to Courtroom – The focus of this unit is the Criminal Justice System from the identification of the crime through to the verdict. You will gain the understanding and skills to be able to examine the validity of verdicts given in criminal cases.
  • Unit 4 Crime and Punishment – This unit is about understanding theories and processes of bringing the accused to court and being able to evaluate the effectiveness of social control.



You will need (or equivalent to);

  • GCSE Mathematics grade 4/C or above
  • GCSE English Language or Literature grade 4/C or above
  • plus three more GCSEs grade 4/C or above

Units 1 and 3 are internally assessed, each through a controlled assessment completed under controlled conditions over a period of 8 hours.

Units 2 and 4 are externally assessed through synoptic examinations (short & long answer questions) each 1 hour 30 minutes in duration.

Studying Criminology opens up a wide range of careers in areas such as the National Probation Service, the Police, the Courts and the Tribunals Service, the National Offender Management Service, or the Prison Service.

You may progress to study courses such as, Criminology, Criminology and Forensic Studies, Criminology and Sociology, Psychology and Sociology and Criminology with Law.

Are Vocational qualifications easier than A Levels?

No, the subject knowledge you acquire will be at the same level. They are assessed differently to A Levels and this may suit some learners better but they will require the same dedication.