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L3 Diploma


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If you are looking to study A-Levels please apply for up to three subjects. Simply add each course to your basket or visit our Apply section.


Are you interested in why people commit crimes, or how criminals think? Are you interested in how the media develops attitudes towards criminal behaviour and how public campaigns impact changes in government policy over crime? Would you like to combine end point exams with internally assessed assignments? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ then Criminology maybe the subject for you!

Criminology is the study of crime in our society. It takes elements of Law, Sociology and Psychology to look at why crimes are committed in our society and societal attitude to criminal behaviour and how this develops. It also looks at what criminal behaviour is and explores our attitudes towards crime with different criminological theories.

This subject is an Applied General Qualification using the WJEC board. It carries the same UCAS points to an A level but is assessed via a mixture of examinations and internally assessed assignments. You can choose two other A Level options alongside this qualification. At the end of the first year, you will achieve a ‘Certificate of Criminology’ which is equivalent to an AS grade. In the second year you go on to study for the ‘Diploma of Criminology’ which is equivalent to a full A Level qualification.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including English Language and Maths.

Year 1

In the first year two units are taught. One is assessed through a controlled assessment; the other unit is an examination at the end of the year.

1. ‘Changing awareness of crime’: This unit is internally assessed through a controlled assessment. This unit explores several types of crime, victims, and offenders. You will look at the role of the media in how crime is depicted and how this changes attitudes. You will examine campaigns that affect change such as ‘Sarah’s Law’ and ‘Claire’s Law’ as well as the Black Lives Matter movement to assess their effectiveness. You will have to plan, design, and implement your own campaign for change. You will sit an eight-hour controlled assessment over two days for this unit.

2. ‘Criminological Theories’: This unit is externally assessed through an examination. This unit explores a range of criminological theories to explain why people commit crime. You will look at three separate strands of theories: Biological, Psychological and Sociological to analyse different perspectives as to why people commit crime. You will also examine how laws change over time, place, and culture. You will sit an examination in the summer term.

Year 2

In the second year two more units are taught. One is assessed through an internal assignment, the other is assessed through an exam at the end of the year.

3. ‘Crime scene to Courtroom’: This unit is internally assessed through a controlled assessment. This unit covers the legal and investigatory process from a crime to how the police investigate, how evidence is collected to obtain a conviction in court. You will explore case studies of criminal investigations including convictions and miscarriages of justice. You will evaluate the effectiveness of the criminal justice system as well as gaining an understanding of the distinct roles that contribute to an investigation. You will sit an eight-hour controlled assessment over two days for this unit.

4. ‘Crime and Punishment’: This unit is externally assessed through an examination. You will look at and evaluate the legal system for the punishment of offenders including historical punishments such as the death penalty. You will also explore how different agencies achieve social control within society and how effective this is. You will sit an examination for this unit in the summer term.

The L3 Diploma in Criminology is equal to an A Level, and you will combine this subject with two other A Level options. Good combination subjects include Sociology, Psychology and Law to extend and supplement these aspects of the course. Another useful subject group is English or Media as there are common themes between these subjects but also complements any subject on offer in the Sixth Form. Learners who study Criminology can also continue to do this subject at university or a range of different humanities-based subjects. Criminology is useful if you are considering the Police or roles in the legal professions including the courts or victim support. It also complements a range of apprenticeships and further education programmes.

NB: this qualification is not accepted by some universities - it is important to check with the universities that you may be interested in applying to, or for more information speak to the Sixth Form team sixth@sgscol.ac.uk

You will have the opportunity to take part in trips which include Shepton Mallet prison, the High Court in London, and Bristol Crown Court. We hold an annual Behind Bars Day where learners speak and listen to a range of reformed criminals who talk about their experiences of the Criminal Justice system.

Learners studying Criminology can join our legal academy which investigates a range of different case studies to help extend, and embed, learning completed on our legal courses. This academy develops the skills of debating and discussion. There are opportunities for guest lecturers from the legal professions and external agencies including universities offering courses related to the subject.

"SGS Sixth was an amazing experience for me. My teachers were always on hand to help with any of my problems and ensure I achieved my maximum potential."

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