Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content

Career opportunities with a crime, policing, or investigation degree

Home / Student experience / Discover Sunderland blog / Education and Society / Career opportunities crime policing investigation

We offer a wide range of crime, policing, and investigation courses at Sunderland, but what kind of career opportunities are available to those graduating with one of these degrees? Here, you can explore more about our fantastic courses, as well as some of the job prospects you can look forward to after you graduate.

Crime scene tape

Our Crime, Policing, and Investigation courses

The variety of courses we have to offer within this subject area is what makes us unique at the University of Sunderland. We provide both undergraduate and postgraduate options for those pursuing their first degree but also those already established as a policing or investigative professional. Our Crime, Policing, and Investigation courses include:

  • BSc (Hons) Criminology
  • BSc (Hons) Professional Policing
  • BA (Hons) Applied Investigation
  • BSc (Hons) Policing Studies (Top-Up)
  • MSc Leadership in Criminal Justice and Policing
  • MA Investigative Management

To find out more information, either head to the individual course page, or read our article which gives a more thorough breakdown of our provision, along with who these courses are suitable for.

What can you do with a criminology degree?

The study of criminology is a blend of psychology and sociology applied to the observation of crime – understanding why people commit crimes and how to prevent them. It’s a diverse area of study, which is why we offer three flexible strands of optional modules to choose from – justice, human rights and vulnerability, and violence – so that students can align their learning with their interests and future career path.

A degree in criminology will equip you with plenty of transferable skills, both professional and academic, such as communication, research, problem-solving and critical awareness, making you valuable to employers both inside and outside the criminal justice system. Prospective jobs with a criminology degree may include policing, the probation service, the prison service, victim support, youth work, investigation, social work, charity work, counselling, or even working for the government – so it’s incredibly varied. Many of our Criminology graduates also continue their studies with a master's degree or a PhD.

Our BSc (Hons) Criminology course has been developed in consultation with specialists across the criminal justice system, meaning you’ll have the opportunity to undertake placements, work-based experience and volunteering throughout your studying to prepare you for employment. This includes the chance to join the Local Appropriate Adult Scheme, founded by our very own academic team in collaboration with Northumbria Police.

Joining the police with a degree

While you don’t necessarily need a degree if you want to become a police officer, being a graduate will help you significantly if you want to join the police force. The softer skills you’ll acquire during your studying, such as the ability to write coherently, presentation skills and public speaking to name a few, will all benefit you immensely.

Our Professional Policing degree is one of the approved entry routes into the profession and it follows the National Police Curriculum, having been developed by staff with decades of experience in the force and the College of Policing. The policing course will prepare you with the required knowledge and skills to apply for a role as a police constable when you graduate, but it’s worth noting that having the degree doesn’t guarantee you a job – you'll still have to complete the necessary assessments and recruitment process within the police force itself. You must apply to and be accepted into a force within five years of graduating.

Joining the police can be an extremely rewarding line of work where no day is the same, however, it can also be very challenging, as well as physically and emotionally demanding. Once you’ve surpassed your two-year probationary period, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for specialist units, such as the fraud squad, firearms, child protection, or train to become a detective.

If you complete your degree and decide not to go into policing, the course will still equip you with several transferable skills to go into different fields of work. If you’re not sure whether policing is right for you, take this quiz to help you find out.

A police officer talking to a student on campus

How to boost your career in criminal investigation

Both our undergraduate and postgraduate investigation courses are designed for those who have an existing background in criminal investigation, and the skills you’ll gain by completing one of these degrees are intended to enhance your professional development. These essential skills include critical reflection, the ability to carry out research effectively, plus valuable academic skills like writing articulately and learning how to reference correctly. On the MA Investigative Management, you’ll also learn how to lead effectively by studying management skills, professional leadership, and critical decision-making.

Offering accreditation at university level, the BA (Hons) Applied Investigation course is for those who have experience of investigating complex crimes, and once you graduate, you'll be qualified to study at master's level on our MA Investigative Management should you wish to develop your career as a criminal investigator even further.

The MA Investigative Management course is an industry-specific postgraduate qualification, which has been created in partnership with senior police representatives to enhance intellectual capability and professional practice in relation to how investigations are led and managed. When you graduate, this degree will allow you to qualify for more senior roles within the police and investigation.

Ready to apply and work towards your desired career in crime, policing, or investigation? See the full list of our courses.

Published: 14 July 2022