Access to HE Diploma Level 3: Criminology and Policing (including Law) – September 2024

Funding information: Free for First Full L3 for 19-23 year olds otherwise Adult Learner Loans available, course costs apply.
Duration: 1 Year
Attendance: Full-time Provision

Course Overview

Level 3 Access to Higher Education courses are designed to enable mature learners who have been out of education to gain the qualifications, academic skills and knowledge necessary to progress on to university-level study.

This diploma covers a range of subjects designed to allow you to develop skills and knowledge in policing and criminology-based professions. You will learn about forensic practices, crime statistics, judicial policies, and policing systems in place in the UK.

Additional psychology-based units will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the human mind, helping to explain the reasons behind criminal behaviour and the impact of mental health.

Your time on the course will help you to develop key transferable skills for the workplace, such as effective communication, team-working and collaborating, and sourcing and utilising evidence.

Additional units, such as academic writing, sourcing and referencing academic texts, and presenting effectively to a group, will help you to develop key academic skills and prepare you for higher education.

You will have a Personal Tutor who will support you throughout the programme, as well as access to the Higher and Adult Support Coordinator who offers key advice on returning to learning, finances, progression and wellbeing.

Upon successful completion of this Diploma, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate different methods of criminology and understand the process of the criminal justice system in the UK
  • Understand and articulate investigation techniques and the importance of forensic, eye-witness and other forms of key evidence in the investigative procedure
  • Understand the importance of respect, ethics, accountability and integrity in policing
  • Articulate how psychological and sociological perspectives help to explain criminal behaviour
  • Outline the powers of the police

Course Content

These units have been carefully chosen to ensure all areas of progression have a suitable foundation:

Policing and Criminology

  • Crime Statistics)
  • Incarceration
  • The Penal System
  • Criminology
  • The Causes of Crime
  • Evidence
  • Forensics


  • Conformity and Obedience
  • The Psychology of Criminal Investigation

Health Studies

  • Understanding Mental Health


  • Powers of Police
  • Understanding English Law
  • Homicide

Academic Study Skills

  • IT for Academic Study
  • Producing a Written Assignment
  • Progression Skills

Introductory Academic

  • Perspectives in Psychology
  • Understanding Actus Reus and Mens Rea

Some units may be subject to change.

Entry Requirements

You will need a grade C/4 in GCSE English and GCSE Maths.

Enrolment will be subject to an initial progression discussion and, in cases where English and Maths qualifications are not currently held, an initial assessment may be required to determine the most appropriate level of entry.

The Access to Higher Education courses have been designed predominantly for older students returning to education. However, each application will be considered on an individual basis, on the condition you are aged 19 or over by the course start date and hold GCSE grade C/4 or above in English.

Assessment Methods

  • Portfolio
  • Video
  • Academic posters
  • Written assignments
  • Presentations
  • Debates
  • Peer assessments


The aim of this qualification is to prepare students for progression into higher education subjects including, but not limited to:

  • Policing
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Community Justice
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Social Policy

Please note: students are strongly advised to contact universities prior to commencing this Access to HE Diploma to check the university’s specific entry criteria. The award of a Diploma does not provide guaranteed entry to UK higher education programmes – each university has its own criteria for entry.