criminal justice

BA/BA (Hons) in Crime, Criminology and Criminal Justice

  • Want to gain a degree but don’t have the time and money required to attend a traditional university campus?
  • Interested in a future career within the criminal justice system, such as with the police, the prison service, probation or youth offending services?

The BA (Ordinary) or BA (Hons) in Crime, Criminology and Criminal Justice draws upon a broad range of disciplines such as Criminology, Sociology, Psychology, Law, Social Policy and Philosophy to actively encourage the development of strong analytical, reasoning and reflective skills.  Challenging “common-sense‟ notions of criminal and deviant behaviours, this course gives you the opportunity to explore key elements of crime, criminology and criminal justice, enabling you to gain greater insight into criminal behaviour and how society responds to it. You will also learn how to conduct and interpret research so that you can evaluate claims made regarding crime and deviance, critically engaging with national and international dimensions of crime and criminal justice policy.

What level is the course?

  • FHEQ L4, 5 & 6
    (equivalent to study in the first, second and third years of an undergraduate degree)

How will you be assessed?

Computer Marked Assignments (CMAs)
A range of Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs), including:

  • Essays
  • Case studies
  • Briefing papers
  • Reviews

An Independent Research Project report

Who accredits the course?

  • University of Suffolk

How long will it take to complete?

  • 180 weeks (just over three and a half years part-time)

What are the entry requirements?

We are firmly committed to a policy of open learning and there are no specific academic entry requirements for this course, you just need to be motivated to succeed. See Student Support for how we can help you during your course to realise your full potential.

What does it cost?

  • The total cost of the full BA (Hons) for 2024 is £7200. The total cost of the BA (Ordinary) degree is £6000

This is made up of:
Certificate of Higher Education in Crime, Criminology & Criminal Justice: £2400
+ Level 5 Criminal Behaviours module: £1200
+ Level 5 Criminal Justice in Practice: £1200
OR Level 5 Effective Practice in Youth Justice: £1200
+ Level 6  Contemporary Issues & Debates module: £1200
+ Level 6 Independent Research Module: £1200 (BA (Hons) only)


Payment plans are available to help you spread out the cost – please see Fees and Funding for more information. If you are being sponsored on this course, please have your sponsor details ready when you register.

When can you start?

  • October 2024
  • contact us for more dates

You will study up to six 30-week modules, the first four of which make up the Dip HE in Crime, Criminology and Criminal Justice (Dip HE CCCJ).    Modules 1-3 provide a firm foundation in what the study of criminology involves, how the criminal justice system works and the different kinds of criminal behaviours shown by people across the world.  You will explore a range of criminological theories, and consider the roles, responsibilities and actions of agencies within the criminal justice sector.

For the fourth module you can choose to consider either criminal justice or youth justice from a practice perspective, focusing on the actual work done by people who work with those who offend and the policies that impact that work. If you already have the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC), this will be recognised as prior learning for Effective Practice in Youth Justice, giving you a sixth of the degree already. To complete the full BA (Hons) you will then undertake an independent research project in a topic of your choosing supported by an experienced academic.

Using our unique digital platform, you will learn through video case studies, extracts, reflective activities and interactive quizzes. You will be able to study anywhere and at any time; either online or on the app, which you can use even without an internet connection.  You will also have a dedicated Learning Coach who will support you on your learning journey and assess your work.

Click on the modules below to see more.

Explore the key issues that relate to crime and punishment – why people commit crime and how society punishes those who do:

  • Studying crime, criminology and criminal justice
  • The Criminal Justice System: an introduction
  • The rational actor model
  • The predestined actor model
  • The victimised actor model
  • Crime prevention and community safety

Investigate the operations of the criminal justice system, including issues affecting criminal justice policy that are of historical importance and contemporary relevance.   You will study six blocks:

  • History of crime and punishment
  • The criminal justice system – an overview
  • The English legal system
  • The measurement of crime
  • Cybercrime and policing of ‘the dark web’
  • Psychology of crime

Examine a wide range of criminal behaviours by considering categories of crime that include serial killers and crimes of the rich and powerful in six blocks:

  • Criminologies of the right and left
  • Gender, crime and justice
  • Serial killers
  • Crimes of the rich and powerful
  • The social construction of guilt and innocence
  • Researching crime

Examine in detail the work and operations of key agencies that operate within the criminal justice system:

  • Policing and society
  • Prisons and prison policy
  • Youth offending and youth justice
  • Diversity issues in criminal justice
  • Non-custodial responses to crime
  • Volunteering in criminal justice – theory and practice

Investigate the current state of theory, practice and evidence relating to working effectively with children in the youth justice system across a number of important domains:

  • Why young people offend
  • Working effectively
  • Assessment and planning interventions
  • Engagement and participation
  • Custody and resettlement
  • Desistance

Critically explore issues of contemporary concern in criminal justice.  Chose six blocks from:

  • Drugs and society
  • Victims of crime
  • Hate crime
  • Policing protest and disorder since 1945
  • Terrorism past and present
  • Transnational crime
  • Tackling recidivism & promoting desistance
  • Riots in England since 1980
  • Covert research in theory and practice

With the support of a learning coach, conduct your own mini research project in an area of criminal justice that interests you.   You will produce a report of 9000 words (75%) and an artefact to present your research (25%) – to share with colleagues and other interested audiences.

Your Career

A criminology degree is relevant to many jobs that you might aspire to in criminal justice, such as crime scene investigator, police, prison or probation officer, social worker or youth offending team practitioner.

The organisational, research and analytical skills that you will develop through your studies are also highly prized by employers and are transferable to a wide range of other work settings.

Further Study

This degree would provide a strong foundation for you progress to a Master’s Degree in criminal justice or in youth justice. Its interdisciplinary nature will also mean that you can broaden your studies in, for example, the fields of psychology, sociology or youth studies.

What our students say

“I am enjoying the course at Unitas, being able to study wherever and whenever I want – in coffee shops, between appointments, and around my work schedule. I’ve been thoroughly engaged with the work and learning throughout Modules 1 & 2. The TMA guides were intuitive and helpful, broken down into manageable sections. By following the guidance, I’ve been able to correctly format assignments. The feedback I received from my Learning Coach was both constructive and encouraging.”

Ana – Cert HE Crime, Criminology & Criminal Justice

What our students say

“The support I have received so far has been amazing. Both from the team at Unitas office and my learning Coach. My learning coach is supportive, encouraging, patient, knowledgeable and has a great sense of humour. I love the ease I can fit my studies in around work and family commitments. I’ve now completed my first TMA and although it was hard work I loved it and was brilliantly supported by my learning coach. The Unitas App is excellent. Everything you need is included and supporting material is of a high standard. Its all broken up into achievable parts you just need to follow the course calendar.”

Warwick – Crime, Criminology & Criminal Justice student

What our learning coaches say

“I was thrilled to be asked to work with students on the Crime, Criminology and Criminal Justice programme.  As a Learning Coach I am available to support students learning and development on both a formal and informal basis.  I often work with students who haven’t studied since leaving school and might be less confident in their abilities.  It is great to see a student’s confidence grow as they progress through the course”

Alison Alford, Learning Coach