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Subject Description

Are you interested in why some people commit crime or become victims of crime?  Do you see your future working to prevent crime or rehabilitate offenders?  Do you want to study an academic course that isn’t just assessed in the final examination?  If your answer is yes to the above questions, then the WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology is the course for you.

The qualification combines elements of psychology, law and sociology to gain a real understanding of all aspects of crime.  You will explore the accuracy of the official statistics on crime to dispel some of the myths about crime that are portrayed in the media.  In addition, you will understand a range of theories relating to why some people commit crime when others are perfectly law-abiding.  In the Crime Scene to Courtroom unit you will examine court cases and the evidence to understand the process followed to convict the criminal.  Finally, you will study the effectiveness of the punishments used in the British criminal justice system in order to assess their effectiveness in reducing crime.

Future Destinations:

Many students who study this course go on to study higher education courses such as:

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

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 and the public sector, e.g. Policing, the Prison Service, Home Office, Border Agencies,  Social Work, or Non-Governmental Organisations


Level 3 Diploma (equiv to an A Level)

Exam Board:


Entry Requirements:

You need a minimum of a 4 in English in order to cope with the written demands of the course.

Content and Assessment Breakdown:

Unit One

Changing Awareness of Crime

Not all types of crime are alike. What different types of crime take place in our society? What kinds of crime exist about which we know very little, or which are simply not reported to the police and the media? How do we explain people’s reluctance to come forward about crimes of which they have been the victim? Some crimes which seem inoffensive, such as counterfeiting of designer goods, have actually been linked to the funding of more serious crime such as terrorism and people trafficking; so why do people turn a ‘blind eye’ to these ‘mild’ crimes? What methods have governments and other agencies used to raise social awareness of these crimes? Many people learn about the fear and fascination of crime from the media, but is the media a reliable source of information? To what extent are we misled by our tastes in programmes and newspapers about crime? Who decides what behaviours should be against the law? Who gathers information about crime? Can this information be trusted? Can we trust our own instincts?

How is it assessed?

A controlled scenario based assessment

Unit Two

Criminological Theories

How do we decide what behaviour is criminal? What is the difference between criminal behaviour and deviance? How do we explain why people commit crime? What makes someone a serial killer, or abusive to their own families? Criminologists have produced theoretical explanations of why people commit crime, but which is the most useful? Are these theories relevant to all types of crime? What can we learn from the strengths and weaknesses of each? How can these theories be applied to real life scenarios and real life crimes?

How is it assessed?

Unit Three

From Crime Scene to Courtroom

What are the roles of personnel involved when a crime is detected? What investigative techniques are available to investigators to help to identify the culprit? Do techniques differ depending on the type of crime being investigated? What happens to a suspect once charged by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)? What safeguards are in place to ensure a suspect has a fair trial?

How is it assessed?

A controlled scenario based assessment

Unit Four

Crime and Punishment

Why do most of us tend to obey the law even when to do so is against our own interests? What social institutions have we developed to ensure that people do obey laws? What happens to those who violate our legal system? Why do we punish people? How do we punish people? What organisations do we have in our society to control criminality or those who will not abide by the social rules that most of us follow? We spend a great deal of taxpayers’ money on social control, so how effective are these organisations in dealing with criminality?

How is it assessed?

Exam paper


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