Criminology is a fascinating subject where you will critically examine a range of explanations on why people commit criminal and deviant acts. We study biological, psychological and sociological theories and answer questions such as: Is a person born criminal? 

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Do we learn criminal behaviour in close friendship groups? Has the criminal justice system become too ‘soft’ on offenders? We also explore how crime is represented within different forms of media. For example, many films show criminals to be living a glamorous lifestyle who are always one step ahead of the police. We also study the criminal justice system and the different agencies who work within it such as the police and the prison service, and explore some of the issues and barriers they face in society today.

Course Content

Unit 1 – Changing Awareness of Crime – assessed via controlled assessment in year 1. 

You will explore a number of crimes which are often unreported such as hate crime, domestic abuse, white collar crime and technological crime. You will examine the reasons why people do not report these crimes such as fear of further abuse or mistrust of the police. A big part of this unit is examining campaigns in which people have tried to raise awareness of a particular crime or those which have tried to change the law, e.g. Sarah’s Law and Clare’s Law.

Unit 2 – Criminological Theories – external examination – year 1 

You will gain a strong understanding of the theories used to explain different types of crime which will give you an insight into the thinking used by experts and politicians to explain crime and criminality. As public law makers are informed by theory you will learn how these theories have been applied to creating solutions to the problem of crime. By undertaking this unit, you will learn to support, challenge and evaluate expert opinion and be able to support your ideas with reliable and factual evidence.

Unit 3 – Crime Scene to Courtroom – controlled assessment – year 2 

In this unit, you will follow the process of a criminal investigation step by step from it happening until the case reaches court.  We begin by looking at who is involved in an investigation, and evaluate the techniques which are available such as forensics and surveillance. We also examine the different rights that people have such as suspects, witnesses and victims. We study the different factors which may affect the outcome of a case such as negative media reporting, judicial bias and the impact of witnesses when they give their evidence.

Unit 4 – Crime and Punishment – external examination – year 2 

You will explore the complex system of organisations and processes that society has created to ensure people do not break the law. For example, you will look at organisations such as the police, Crown Prosecution Service, prisons and probation. These social institutions each have different roles, principles and policies. You will learn about their roles, limitations and evaluate their effectiveness in protecting us from crime. You will also consider the role of pressure groups and charities in controlling criminality in society.

(Exam board: WJEC)
(Specification code: 601/6248/X)

How it is Taught

A variety of methods are used including teacher led discussion, individual tasks, group work, exam question practice and project-based research, development and presentation. Throughout the course you will develop independent research, essay writing, time management and organisational skills.

Assessment Information

Assessment is by controlled assessment (Units 1 and 3) and external examination (Units 2 and 4). Unit 1 and 2 will be assessed in first year and units 3 and 4 assessed in second year.

Entry Requirements

You will need at least a grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

Students will also need to meet the general College entry requirements. Entry requirements are subjects to change

Careers & HE Information

Studying Criminology at Level 3 will develop core academic and employability skills such as oral and written communication, team work, resilience and independence. Furthermore, the course is designed to make the content vocationally relevant in order to prepare you with the skills and knowledge leading to further study or careers in Criminology. Specific career paths include: Policing, Prison Service, Social Work, Probation Service, Crown Prosecution Service, Youth Work and many more.

Useful Subject Combinations

Criminology combines well with a range of other disciplines.  This subject sits within the ‘social science’ field and compliments others such as Sociology and Psychology.  These subjects are ideal for students who are interested in people and the issues that they face today.  Criminology also combines well with other subjects such as Law, History, English, Media Studies and Film Studies.

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