Why choose this subject?

Not all types of crime are alike. What different types of crime take place in our society? 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 happens to those who commit a crime? Why and how do we punish people? What organisations do we have in our society to control criminality?

An understanding of criminology is relevant to many job roles within the criminal justice sector, including police officers, probation and prison officers, and social workers. With their critical thinking, analytical and communication skills, criminology graduates are also attractive to employers outside the criminal justice sector in areas such as social research and politics.

This course has a strong focus on applied learning and we shall acquire knowledge of the criminal justice system in purposeful contexts. The qualification supports progression from Level 2, particularly GCSEs in Philosophy and Ethics, History, Geography, Sociology, Law and Psychology.

How will this subject be delivered?

The WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology is made up of four mandatory units:
• Unit 1: Changing Awareness of Crime: learners develop an understanding of different types of crime, influences on perceptions of crime and why some crimes are unreported.
• Unit 2: Criminological Theories: study of such theories enables learners to gain an understanding of why people commit crime, drawing on what they have learned in Unit 1.Learners explore the difference between criminal behaviour and deviance and the theories behind why people commit crime.
• Unit 3: Crime Scene to Courtroom: provides learners with an understanding of the criminal justice system from the moment a crime has been identified to the verdict. They develop the understanding and skills needed to examine information in order to review the justice of verdicts in criminal cases.
• Unit 4: Crime and Punishment: learners 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.

How is it assessed?

Graded A-E – all units carry equal weighting towards total marks. The Diploma is assessed through a combination of two written external examinations (units 2 and 4) and two internally-assessed, controlled assessments (units 1 and 3).

Subject specific entry requirements

Ideally you will have gained a grade 6 or above in English and another supporting Level 2/GCSE qualification such as Philosophy or History.


The qualification has elements of psychology, law and sociology that complement studies in humanities. The main purpose of the qualification is to support access to higher education degree courses, such as BA/BSc Criminology, Law, Psychology, and so on. It is a pathway to careers in the criminal justice sector, including police officers, probation, prison officers, social workers, social research and politics.


Board: WJEC