Criminal Justice FdSc

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Gain a critical understanding of the criminal justice system. Equip yourself with the skills needed to work in the police, probation and prison services and other non-government organisations that work with offenders, victims or other vulnerable populations. Study at a local college and have the option to ‘top-up’ to a full bachelors degree with a third year of study at the University of Sunderland.

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This full-time two-year course is designed to provide you with the skills and capabilities utilised in the criminal justice sector, with the opportunity to progress onto the BSc Criminology programme.

You will gain an understanding of the National Occupational Standards for the justice sector, underpinned by academic knowledge, understanding and evaluation of broader justice sector issues.

You will focus on the history of crime and punishment, political philosophies of crime and law, violence and criminal justice, policing and rehabilitation in a variety of criminal justice environments and a with a diversity of client groups.

Why us?

  • Diverse, innovative and flexible learning and teaching methods
  • Applied research methods incorporates training in computer-assisted data analysis software
  • Volunteer in criminal justice organisations such as the police and youth justice and in non-government organisations inlcuding community rehabilitation companies and Changing Lives
  • The programme is developed in partnership with employers and stakeholders, adding value to your employment opportunities
  • Opportunity to ‘top up’ this course to a full BSc (Hons) degree with an extra year of study
  • Teaching staff are research-active, which enhances the curriculum and student experience

Course structure

Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops and group and individual presentations.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Introduction to Criminology (20 credits)

Understand the key concepts and definitions of crime and the problems in defining and measuring crime and criminality, outlining some of the main issues and debates on the ‘social problem of crime’.

  • Social Problems (20 credits)

Look at how sociology and social policy can help uncover the characteristics of a social problem and how sociological thinking can be used to define when a social experience becomes a social problem. Examine the relationship between social problems and those individuals, groups and communities who experience disadvantage, discrimination and segregation.

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice System (20 credits)

Understand criminal justice within the broader context of civil societies from an historical context and the key concepts and theoretical approaches that underpin the criminal justice system in England and Wales.

  • Applied Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences (20 credits)

Examine research methodologies employed within the social sciences. Address the debate between common-sense and empirical knowledge and develop an understanding of key concepts such as ontology and epistemology.

  • Equality, Diversity, Ethics and Rights (20 credits)

Gain knowledge and understanding of equality, diversity and rights legislation, as well as the ethical requirements pervading all aspects of the justice sector. Research the practical application of legislation and the framework within which legislation operates, paying particular attention to the role of equality, diversity and ethics within this framework.

  • Law and Procedure (20 credits)

Investigate the effect and practical application of legislation and the criminal justice procedure. Discuss the main provisions of legislation relating to the criminal justice sector. Identify and explain the main provisions of legislation governing the organisations within the sector such as the Criminal Justice Act.



Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Theoretical Issues of Criminology (20 credits)

Examine some of the main criminological theories that have sought to explain and account for crime and criminality and its impact over the last century. Analyse the implications of different approaches to substantive issues in criminology.

  • Offender Management in Criminal Justice (20 credits)

Debate traditional philosophies of punishment that underpin modes and justifications for punishing offenders in criminal justice in England and Wales. Consider key penological theories including retribution and ‘just deserts’, and the utilitarian approaches of rehabilitation, deterrence and incapacitation. Make sense of contemporary criminal justice legislation, policies and practices, with a particular focus on the punishment agencies.

  • Policing Past, Present and Future (20 credits)

Develop a critical understanding of the key issues and themes surrounding the police organisation in the UK and beyond within the context of a changing environment and evaluate the role and nature of the police within modern and late modern society.

  • Applied Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences (20 credits)

Examine the effectiveness of using quantitative research methods to gather information on contemporary social and cultural environments. Work independently in computer laboratory based workshops. Analyse quantitative data using SPSS.

  • Work-based Learning (20 credits)

Develop an understanding of the importance of multi-agency approaches to working in a political, social and policy context, examining the key drivers for change.

  • Impact of Crime (20 credits)

Consider the impact of crime with regards to the victims, witnesses and survivors, the wider community and secondary victimisation. Look at issues such as secondary repeat victimisation, and contextualise the impact of crime within the wider society.

  • As a partner college student, you can access the University Library facilities, both online and at our two main libraries in Sunderland. We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on computing topics, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Some of the most important sources for computing students include:

    • British Standards Online which offers more than 35,000 documents covering specifications for products, dimensions, performance and codes of practice
    • Association of Computing Machinery digital library, which includes full-text articles from journals as well as conference proceedings
    • Science Direct, which offers more than 18,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Archives of publications from Emerald, including over 35,000 full-text articles dating back to 1994 on a range of subjects including technology
    • Business Source Elite from EBSCO Publishing that covers hundreds of journals that include coverage of e-commerce and information management
    Library Services for partner college students
  • Please contact South Tyneside College for more information about the facilities and location.

    Phone: 0191 427 3500

    South Tyneside College – a site of Tyne Coast College


This course is based at a local partner college. 









Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 56 UCAS points gained from A Levels/BTEC qualifications or equivalent. We will also accept PPP at BTEC Extended Diploma level.

We also require 2 passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Applicants without formal qualifications may qualify for entry through relevant work based experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is £8,200.

Please note that this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Students working on computers


This course has a strong emphasis on real-world learning that boosts employability through real-life observations of the criminal justice system and volunteering opportunities.

Career options

Many of our students have gone on to work in the police, probation and prison services, CRCs and other non-government organisations that work with offenders, victims or vulnerable people. We monitor changes in employer's recruitment methods in order to enhance the employability of our students.

Further study

We provide a solid foundation in criminology so you can progress onto the BSc (Hons) Criminology course.

You will gain all of the qualifications and skills needed to apply to become a Probation Officer on the BSc (Hons) Criminology course, particularly if you have taken the applied criminology and criminal justice pathway. We regularly monitor and react to these requirements to enhance your employability.

You will also be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed for further study such as criminology research masters, criminal justice professional courses, social policy, teacher training, social work courses and PhD research.

Practical experience

Our academic staff have links to the criminal justice system including the police, probation service, community rehabilitation companies (CRCs), youth offending teams, and the prison service. You will experience real-world situations by observing the criminal courts, visiting prisons and volunteering in a relevant organisation.

Centre for Applied Social Sciences

College staff will be supported by a research active lead Criminology team who are all members of CASS and British Society of Criminology. The work of CASS is currently organised around three strands: Children, Young People and Families; Communities, Health and Social Exclusion; and Crime, Victims and Social Justice. Members of CASS are engaged in various research activities under these three themes from original academic research to practice-based collaborations and reach-out activities. The objectives of CASS are to produce excellent original research to increase society's understanding of social issues; to facilitate knowledge exchange between academics, frontline practitioners and policymakers to promote development of best practice and policy; and to develop a research-active curriculum that engages undergraduates and graduates in policy and practice challenges in their chosen field; and provides a supportive research environment for early career and postgraduate research. Members of CASS were submitted to the REF 2014 and the submission was judged to have almost half of its outputs that are either 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.