How To Apply
UCP BA (Hons) Criminology

BA (Hons) Criminology

The Open University

course overview

Are you interested in the problem of crime in contemporary societies? If so, our Criminology course may be for you.
As a Criminology student, you will investigate the nature of crime and criminality as well as studying societies response through the criminal justice system.

You'll learn about the social and personal impacts of crime and what it means to be a victim of crime. You will understand how societies control and punish disorder and study forms of transnational crime that cross-national borders. Criminology takes a social scientific approach to studying and classifying crime as well as exploring theories around criminal behaviour. In addition to theory, you will study the institutions of the criminal justice system including police, law courts, prisons and probation services.

Students will get the opportunity to take trips to the Crown Court (including the Old Bailey) and participate in the Peterborough Crime Walk, police riot training and prison visits. As a Criminology student, you will learn how to conduct independent research drawing on a range of methods utilised by social scientists. You'll also be encouraged and supported to adopt an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach to social issues working collaboratively with students from other disciplines to find solutions.

Finally, you will hone in on your future career path, testing your interests and skills working with local organisations and building your professional network for when you graduate. You will have the opportunity to undertake a live research project with a range of local partners and undertake research that makes a material difference to people's lives. This will enable you to graduate not just with a good degree but a range of real-world experience which will help you progress into your desired career. The courses at University Centre Peterborough are studied in smaller class sizes compared with other universities, a typical class size is under 30 students.

Download Course Specification

5 GCSE grades C/4 or above, including English, Maths and 88 UCAS points, which should be from a related subject in one of the following:

  • A Levels
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
  • IB Diploma
  • Access to HE
  • Related work experience
  • Overseas qualifications are judged to be equivalent to the above

Students who do not qualify by any of these qualifications may be offered an interview to discuss equivelant qualifications and previous experience.
We accept A Level General Studies and AS levels when combined with other full qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you will require an IELTS score of 6.0 or above or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Mature students or students who do not have the above qualifications can contact our admissions team on 01733 214466 or to discuss equivalent qualifications or relevant work experience.


We can accept a wide range of overseas qualifications and use UK NARIC to compare qualifications. For advice about overseas qualification conversion call the Admissions Office on 01733 214466 or email


To find out more about UCAS tariff points and how they work, visit

We accept a wide range of qualifications such as A-levels (you must have grades for at least two A-levels), BTEC, Cambridge Technicals, International Baccalaureate (IB), NVQ Level 3, Access to Higher Education and Scottish Advanced Highers.

The tariff points for qualifications can be added and combined together (e.g. A-levels plus BTECs).

The UCAS points for A-level General Studies, AS-levels and the EQP (Extended Project Qualification) are accepted when combined with other full qualifications.


APCL relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study. If you have previously completed a course which is relevant to your proposed course you should make this clear when you apply. For this to be eligible for consideration you must be able to provide certification, which shows your success in a final assessment for that course. Learning must be completed in the last five years or further evidence of updating will be required. Simple participation in a course or an attendance certificate is not sufficient.


We offer students flexibility in their studies, by recognising learning they may have completed elsewhere before they apply. The Accreditation of Prior Learning process ensures that we can take this into account when determining the modules you must study. It is important that you identify any relevant prior learning when you apply. If your previous study specifically relates to modules on the course you wish to undertake we may approve a reduced programme of study, thus shortening the time it takes to obtain your award. Where this relates to learning completed through an earlier course of study, this is called Prior Certificated Learning, and where learning has been achieved through relevant work or experience, this is referred to as Prior Experiential Learning. Claims must be approved before you commence a course.


It is important to understand that the APEL process does not award academic credit for experience alone, but for learning which can be shown to have been achieved through that experience. Students are required to prepare an individual case for the credit arising from their learning experiences. This normally means that a student receives support in the preparation of a portfolio, which evidences their claimed exemptions for entry. This portfolio of evidence is then submitted for assessment and the possible award of academic credit. Alternative methods of assessment of evidence may be available but needs to be discussed with the Admissions team or Course Leader.

You must take modules worth 120 credits at each level of the course. Each module is worth a specified number of credits.

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

  • Academic and Professional Skills for Social Scientists (30 credits)
  • Introduction to Criminology (15 credits)
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice (30 credits)
  • Politics, Ideology and Society (15 credits)
  • Exploring Crime and the Media (15 credits)
  • Popular Culture Representations of Crime and Criminal Justice (15 credits)

Year two for full-time students (Level 5)

  • Research Skills for Social Scientists (30 credits)
  • Exploring Issues with the Courts (15 credits)
  • Violence in Contemporary Society (15 credits)
  • Prisons and Punishment (15 credits)
  • Advanced Criminological Theory (15 credits)
  • Policing and Investigation (15 credits)
  • War, Globalisation and Security (15 credits)

Final year for full-time students (Level 6)

  • Undergraduate Major Project (30 credits)
  • Global Transnational Crime (15 credits)
  • Contemporary Criminal Justice Policy and Implementation (15 credits)
  • Investigative Psychology (15 credits)
  • Youth Justice (15 credits)


  • Sex, Sexual Violence and Society (15 credits)
  • Critical Studies in Race and Ethnicity (15 credits)
  • Live Research Project (15 credits)
  • Exploring Employment (15 credits)
  • Deviance in Pleasure and Leisure (15 credits)

If it is unviable to run an optional module due to student demand, an alternative module will be offered.

A typical 15 credit module is 150 hours which includes 36 hours of tutor led delivery and 114 hours of recommended independent study. A typical 30 credit module is 300 hours which includes 72 hours of tutor led delivery and 228 hours of recommended independent study. A full-time student should expect to undertake 30 additional hours per week during term-time.

Over the duration of your course, teaching will be delivered by the following methods:

  • Year one for full-time students (Level 4)
  • Year two for full-time students (Level 5)
  • Final year for full-time students (Level 6)

40% Lectures
20% Seminars
40% Workshops

Throughout the duration of your course you will be assessed by the following methods:

Year one for full-time students (Level 4)

  • 90%    Coursework
  • 10%  Practical Exams

Year two for full-time students (Level 5)

  • 80%    Coursework
  • 20%  Practical Exams

Final year for full-time students (Level 6)

  • 90%    Coursework
  • 10%  Practical Exams

Visit our published documents and policies page for The Open University regulations.

As the course is timetabled as full days during the week when studied full-time, this also gives you the flexibility to find a work placement, internship or volunteering opportunity which will improve your employability after you graduate. All students are encouraged to identify work experience to aid their career development.

Rebecca Treston is the Course Leader for the BA (hons) Criminology degree at University Centre Peterborough. She has been teaching on the degree since finishing her Masters in 2019, and became Course Leader in April 2022. During her time at UCP, Rebecca has taught on a number of modules such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Popular Culture Representations of Crime and Criminal Justice, Exploring Issues with the Courts and Contemporary Criminal Justice Policy and Implementation. Additionally, she has worked closely with students to improve the quality of research they can produce in their Undergraduate Major Project.

Crime and our changing understandings of deviancy and agencies in the criminal justice system has always been of interest to Rebecca. She able to bring understandings from different perspectives thanks to having an English and History Undergraduate Degree, alongside her Master’s Degree in Criminology in Practice. This really aides with student understanding and experiencing how interdisciplinary Criminology can be. This is furthered the modules she delivers that are shared on other courses.

She is able to bring experience of working with Criminal Justice agencies to implement research recommendations thanks to her Master’s research being used to improve Leicestershire Police’s response to Modern Slavery. Further research is of interest to Rebecca, and topics of interest include Modern Slavery, Policy creation and The Justice Gap.

Pedagogy is really important to how we deliver sessions at UCP, and Rebecca undertook a PGCert to improve her evidence-based teaching practice. Students enjoy the resulting creative and engaging sessions that address topics in a range of imaginative ways. It has also translated to a greater variety of assignment styles on the course as she worked to rewrite some modules to be more contemporary and unique.

Just some of the future careers for graduates after completing the course include:

  • Probation Officer
  • Prison Officer
  • Youth Worker
  • Victim Support Worker
  • Police and Emergency Services
  • Researcher
  • Data Analyst
  • Local Government Officer


Full-time: 3 years (2 full days a week over two semesters per year)

Part-time: 4 years (1-2 full days a week over two semesters per year)

The tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students will be £8,250 per year, which is lower compared with many other universities.

Fees for part-time study are pro-rata depending on the number of credits you are studying (i.e. 90 credits per year will be 75% of the tuition fee).

There may be additional costs for this course which are not covered by the tuition fee.

In this prospectus we will give you clear and accurate information so you can make the best choice for a successful future

Download Prospectus
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