Not all types of crime are alike. Are you interested in what different types of crime take place in our society and what kinds of crime exist, about which we know very little? How do we decide what behaviour is criminal? What are the roles of personnel involved when a crime is detected? Want a career in the police force, legal professions or forensic sciences? Perhaps you are interested to know more about the new exciting subject of Criminology? Either way this is the perfect A Level for you.This is a growing subject nationally and covers an exciting range of topics, covering the Changing Awareness of Crime, Criminological Theories, Crime Scene to Courtroom and Crime and Punishment. The qualification allows learners to gain the required understanding and skills to be able to consider employment within some aspects of the Criminal Justice System, Law or police force e.g. National Probation Service, Courts and Tribunals Service or the National Offender Management Service.

About the Course

Criminology is the study of the reasons why individuals commit crimes. By understanding why a person commits a crime, we can develop ways to control crime or rehabilitate the criminal. There are many theories in criminology.

This course will offer you an exciting insight into the field of criminology. You will study crime, deviance and the criminal justice system. You will develop your understanding of the key concepts, theories and principles of criminology and their application across a range of case studies and examples.

Knowing about the different types of crime and the criminological approaches to theory will give you a sharper insight into the kind of thinking used by experts and politicians to explain crime and criminality. Public law makers are informed by theory and apply these theories to their own solutions to the problem of crime.

This course is equivalent to one A Level and will also allow learners to learn in such a way that they develop:

  • skills required for independent learning and development
  • a range of generic and transferable skills
  • the ability to solve problems
  • the skills of project based research, development and presentation
  • the fundamental ability to work alongside other professionals, in a professional environment
  • the ability to apply learning in vocational contexts

Key Units

Changing Awareness of Crime

The first mandatory unit will enable the learner to demonstrate understanding of different types of crime, influences on perceptions of crime and why some crimes are unreported.

Criminological Theories

This unit will allow learners to gain an understanding of why people commit crime, drawing on what they have learned in Unit 1.

Crime Scene to Courtroom

The third mandatory unit will provide an understanding of the criminal justice system from the moment a crime has been identified to the verdict.  Learners will develop the understanding and skills needed to examine information in order to review the justice of verdicts in criminal cases.

Crime and Punishment

In the final mandatory unit learners will apply their understanding of the awareness of criminality, criminological theories and the process of bringing an accused to court in order to evaluate the effectiveness of social control to deliver criminal justice policy.


Entry Requirements

To study 3 A Levels

5+ GCSEs grades 9-4 in a variety of subjects, including English Language and Maths at a minimum of grade 4.



There are 2 external examinations for

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

Each exam is 90-minutes in length.

There are also 2 internally assessed units:

  • Unit 1:  Changing Awareness of Crime
  • Unit 3:  Crime Scene to Courtroom

These are assessed through internally set assignments/coursework. 


Where does this lead

The purpose of the WJEC Level 3 Applied Diploma in Criminology is to provide learners with an introduction to criminal justice and to give a context for humanities learning.Together with other relevant qualifications, such as A Level Law, Psychology and Sociology, it develops the understanding to support entry to higher education courses in the humanities sector.

Most A Level students go onto university, where Criminology has become a very popular subject. Degrees that learners study include the following:

  • BSc Criminology
  • BA Criminology
  • BA Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • BSc (Hons) Criminology and Psychology
  • LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology
  • BA (Hons) Criminology and Sociology
  • BA (Hons) Criminology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology and Sociology
  • BSc Criminology with Law

Alternatively, the qualification allows learners to gain the required understanding and skills to be able to consider employment within some aspects of the criminal justice system, e.g. the National Probation Service, the Courts and Tribunals Service or the National Offender Management Service.

The Sheffield College offer a variety of Higher Education courses including degree courses. This study programme can lead onto these higher level programmes. 


Future Opportunities

As a Criminology graduate with critical thinking, analytical and communication skills, there are a variety of careers available both inside and outside the criminal justice sector including:

  • Community Development Worker
  • Detective
  • Police / Prison / Probation Officer
  • Social / Youth Worker
  • Adult Guidance Worker
  • Chaplain
  • Charity Officer
  • Data Scientist
  • Forensic Computer Analyst
  • Housing Manager/ Officer
  • Local Government Officer
  • Paralegal
  • Social Researcher
  • Solicitor
  • Victim Support Officer


Tell Me More

Educational trips and visiting speakers will support the teaching of this study programme. It is expected that students will attend any education visits and visiting speakers as due to the nature of establishments and the availability of speakers, these may be at times outside of normal timetabled classes. There may be costs associated with educational visits and students may be asked to contribute towards transport and any entry fees for places of visits. 

A Level students are expected to devote as much time outside the classroom to their studies as in lessons. Homework will be set regularly but students are expected to undertake self-directed research as well.

Students are also expected to complete work experience alongside their A Levels. This can be done in a variety of different ways including volunteering, youth work, mental health support and drug rehabilitation, victim support, police special etc.*

*Please note – some of these opportunities are age-related and may need an enhanced DBS.

  • Course: CDSCR1
  • Start Date: September 2023
  • Level: 3
  • Area: A Levels
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Category: School Leavers

Typical entry requirements:

To study 3 A Levels

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or higher, including English Language and Maths 

Please note:

  • BTEC or vocational qualifications will not be accepted in place of GCSEs
  • International applicants must also have IELTS 6.0

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