WJEC Applied Diploma


Why should I study this course?

Criminology is the scientific study of crime and criminals. Ever thought why different people commit different crimes? Why do serial killers commit crime? Why do some people report crime and others don’t? How much does the media influence our perception of crime? How do psychology and sociology explain crime? What happens during a criminal investigation? Who decides what laws to make? How do judges decide on the appropriate punishment for a criminal?


What will I study?

Unit 1: Changing Awareness of Crime
Knowing about the wide range of different crimes and the reasons people have for not reporting such crimes will provide an understanding of the complexity of behaviours and the social implications of such crimes and criminality. At the end of this unit, you will have gained the skills to differentiate between myth and reality when it comes to crime and to recognise that common representations may be misleading and inaccurate.

Unit 2: Criminological Theories
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 makes someone a serial killer, or abusive to their own families?
Criminologists have produced theoretical explanations of why people commit crime, but which is the most useful?

Unit 3: Crime Scene to Courtroom
Develop the understanding and skills needed to examine information in order to review the justice of verdicts in criminal cases. What investigative techniques are available to investigators to help to identify the culprit? Do techniques differ depending on the type of crime being investigated? The criminal trial process involves many different people and agencies. Learning about the roles of these will give you a clearer insight into what happens once a crime is detected and the process that leads to either a guilty or non-guilty verdict.

Unit 4: Crime and Punishment
Why do we punish people? How do we punish people? What organisations do we have in our society to control criminality or those who will not abide by the social rules that most of us follow? You will learn about the criminal justice system in England and Wales and how it operates to achieve social control.

Examination board


How is the course assessed?

Units 1 and 3 are assessed through controlled assessment.
Units 2 and 4 are assessed through exams.
Each unit is worth 25% of the overall grade.

What will the course prepare me for?

The course is an excellent first step toward higher education courses such as:

  • BSc Criminology
  • BA Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • BSc (Hons) Criminology and Psychology
  • LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology
  • BA (Hons) Criminology and Sociology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology and Sociology
  • BSc Criminology with Law

Alternatively, it could help access employment within some aspects of the criminal justice system, e.g. the National Probation Service, the Courts and Tribunals Service or the National Offender Management Service.

Private study

As an approximate guideline Level 3 subjects require 4-5 hours each subject per week to achieve your target grade.

What materials will I need to provide?

Standard stationery items: a pen, a pencil a ruler, and a notepad. You will also be expected to keep an A4 folder where you file your class notes, assignments, assessments and handouts.

How will I be taught?

Lessons are delivered in an interactive environment with lots of varied activities and resources. We encourage independent learning with frequent exercises to complete outside of the lesson.

This course is for you if...

You want to expand your knowledge of crime, criminal behaviours, how crimes are investigated and the criminal justice system. If you are considering a degree and/or employment, it is a fascinating and valued area of study.

The Criminology specification involves some sensitive topics such as sexual assault and abuse. These topics are discussed in lessons and students will have to produce work involving these topics. If students think topics such as these could be triggering for them, they can read the full course specification on the WJEC website to see what exactly is covered and whether this course is suitable for them.

Your application starts here

What are the course requirements?

Five 9 - 4 (A*-C) grades at GCSE including a grade 4 (C) in GCSE English Language or Maths.

If you are interested in joining the College, we will arrange a meeting with an experienced subject counsellor who will help you to choose courses that best suit your ambitions and achievements.

All entry requirement details are correct at the time of publication; however, the College may need to make some changes in light of student demand, staff availability and external factors beyond the College's control.

What skills do I need?

  • Excellent written skills, as all the units are assessed by written examination or coursework.
  • Being able to 'see' things from both sides of an argument will help you to evaluate the research and concepts.