BSc (Hons) Policing and Criminology

Undergraduate, Full-Time

This course will give you the competitive edge to becoming a police officer by exploring the wide range of social, political and economic factors which impact on policing and crime.

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  • Duration:

    4 years

  • Award:

    BSc (Hons)

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Course introduction

The aim of this programme is to provide you with the opportunity to study a subject which is applied and equips you with the knowledge and skills to become a reflective police officer or take on a broader criminal justice role. Drawing on social sciences, law, computing and business modules, this course aims to give you an understanding of a discipline that is evolving theoretically and methodologically. It links theory to practice and seeks to apply learning in the field. You will also have a range of inputs from practitioners throughout the course. 

A key aim of the programme is to give you the competitive edge to go on and become a police officer, should you wish. Although there are no direct routes into the police from this BSc, the programme will link with the Special Constabulary (volunteer police officers) and will have input from Police Scotland, including in the lecture content, the structure of the course and in placements. 

Beyond the police, this course will explore current research in the study of crime, deviance and criminal justice and you will learn to understand the historical foundations of contemporary criminology. Plus, you will also develop research skills across the social sciences that will be invaluable in developing your understanding of a wide range of social science issues throughout your career.

Police talking to a man in the street
During this degree, you'll be introduced to a range of different ways to study the police, policing, crime and other forms of control. Key issues relating to the police, crime, punishment and the wider social, cultural and economic context of these phenomena are explored at a national and international level. This programme will provide you with opportunities to develop and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of policing and to develop your practical, critical and analytical skills and attributes.

A variety of different approaches to teaching and learning are utilised and guest speakers and visits are organised where appropriate. There will be input from Police Scotland at a range of points in the course. 

The breadth of this degree provides our graduates with a range of key skills relating to employability. At the same time, the focus on the police allows for specialisation in important areas of crime and justice. In terms of the compulsory modules, the following are what will be covered: 

Year 1: 
Introduction to Sociology 1 
Understanding Social Science research 
Introduction to Criminology 
Introduction to policing: theory and practice 

Year 2: 
Introduction to Criminal Justice Systems in the UK 
Policing in contemporary society 
Quantitative Research 
Youth, Crime & Deviance 
Criminological Theory 

Year 3: 
Crime control and policing
Violence & Society
Researching Social Sciences 
Punishment and Penology  

Year 4:
Preparing for the Honours Project 
Comparative and International Criminology 
The Honours Project 

Optional modules include digital forensics, criminal law, legal systems and skills and leadership in a changing environment. Note that the mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study. Please contact the programme leader, Dr Andrew Wooff, for more details. 

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Although a key focus of this course is to facilitate entry into the police, the broad basis of the modules means that a wide variety of career options are open to graduates. These include: 
  • local or national government
  • voluntary sector
  • research and further study
  • offender supervision
  • youth justice and youth work
  • prison service 

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

Typical Entry Requirement

BBBB including English or literary subject*

National 5 C in Maths.

Adjusted Offer Entry Requirement

BBCC including English or literary subject* at grade B

National 5 grade C in Maths.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet specific widening participation criteria as outlined in our contextual admissions policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

BCC including English or a literary subject*

GCSE grade C/4 in Maths.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre-2017 Grading System:

Grades B1, B1, B3, B3 at Higher Level including English or a literary subject*

C2 at Ordinary Level in Maths.

New Grading System:

Grades H2, H2, H3, H3 at Higher Level including English or a literary subject*

O4 at Ordinary Level Maths. 

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in Health & Social Care, Applied Science (Forensic Science) or Public Services.

GCSE grade C/4 in Maths.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6, 5, 4 including English or a literary subject* at minimum grade 5. 

4 points in SL Maths. 


Pass HNC Social Science with B in the graded unit for year 1 entry.

National 5 Grade C in Maths also required.

Accepted literary subjects

*Modern Studies, History, Geography, Psychology and Sociology 

Minimum year 2  - Not Available for 2018 entry 


Pass HNC Police Studies with A in the graded unit for year 2 entry.

National 5 C in Maths.

Minimum year 3

 -  Not Available for 2018 entry 


Pass HND Police Studies with Grades AB at SCQF Level 8 in all graded units. 

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We're committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.

Tuition fees
Students from 2018/19 2019/20
Scotland/EU £1,820 £1,820
England Wales and Northern Ireland £9,250 tba
Overseas £12,350 tba

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