Certificate of Higher Education in Criminal Justice – Unitas
criminal justice

Certificate of Higher Education in Criminal Justice

  • Interested in finding out more about the criminal justice system and developing your practice skills?  
  • Already working or volunteering in the prison service, criminal justice system or an allied area or would like to and want to gain an accredited qualification to help advance your career? 

The Certificate of Higher Education in Criminal Justice (Cert HE CJ) 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. You will engage with academic literature and debates related to the criminal justice system whilst evaluating research and evidence and applying this directly to your practice.

What level is the course?

  • FHEQ L4
    (equivalent to study in the first year of an undergraduate degree)

How will you be assessed?

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

  • Essays
  • Case studies
  • Reflective accounts
  • Short answer questions

Who accredits the course?

  • University of Suffolk

How long will it take to complete?

  • 54 weeks (just over one year 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. However, to join this practice-based course you must be employed or volunteering within the prison service, criminal justice system or allied area for the equivalent of at least one day a week.

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 Cert (HE) for 2022 is £2400

Payment plans are available – 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?

  • Autumn 2022 – contact us for start dates
  • Spring 2023

You will study two modules, the first one lasting 24 weeks and the second one lasting 30 weeks. The course provides a detailed overview of how the criminal justice system works and the principles on which it is based, also introducing areas of criminal justice practice including relationship-based practice and multi-agency working.

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; ether 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.

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
  • Cyber crime and policing of ‘the dark web’
  • Psychology of crime

Develop the skills necessary to be a professional, reflective practitioner and critically explore how you would act in a professional setting through 4 blocks of learning:

  • Multi-agency working
  • Working effectively
  • Relationship-based practice
  • Reflective practice

Your Career

The Cert HE in Criminal Justice provides a great opportunity for those working in the Prison Service, Criminal justice System and allied sectors (e.g. delivering specialist services aimed at people who have offended, such as substance misuse, domestic violence or mental health) to develop their practice skills in ways that are evidence-based and grounded in relevant theory.

Further Study

Completing the Cert HE in Criminal Justice will give you 120 credits, meaning you are halfway towards achieving a Foundation Degree in Criminal Justice and a third of the way towards a BA (Hons).

See our main criminal justice courses page for how you can progress to the next study level.