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Criminology is becoming an increasingly popular subject for students who are interested in a career in criminology or the criminal justice system. The subject explores different types of crime, public perceptions of crime and explanations of crime including biological, psychological and sociological theories. As part of the course students will also learn about investigating crimes, the trial process and how laws are created. The level 3 Applied Diploma is equivalent in size to one A level and would be studied alongside 2 A Levels (not applied diplomas)

Subject content

Year 12:

  • Types of crime, public perceptions of crime, reasons for unreported crime
  • Media representations of crime and their impact on public perceptions
  • Collecting and evaluating statistics about crime
  • Crime campaigns
  • Explanations of criminal behaviour (including biological, psychological and sociological)

Year 13:

  • Investigating crime scenes (including how to process forensic evidence)
  • Trial process
  • Law making
  • Forms of punishment

Criminology course specifications

Learning methods

You will learn through a variety of methods including lectures, group activities, independent research and discussion.


The following units will be externally assessed:

  • Unit 2: Criminological Theories
  • Unit 4: Crime and Punishment

Details of the external assessment are as follows:
• 90-minute examination
• total of 75 marks
• three questions on each paper
• short and extended answer questions, based on stimulus material and applied contexts
• each question will have an applied problem-solving scenario
• each paper will assess all learning outcomes and assessment criteria will be sampled in
each series
• electronically assessed (e-assessment)
• available in June of each year
• graded: on a scale of A to E

Progression opportunities

Progression opportunities could include going on to study a degree in Criminology, Sociology, Psychology or Law. Career opportunities could include a career in the criminal justice system such as; police officer, detective, prison officer, probation officer or social/youth worker.

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