Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

Criminology is a qualification which includes elements of psychology, law and sociology. The course aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system and an awareness of the different types of crime as well as exploring the behaviour and theories behind why people commit crime.

Course Content

The course consists of four units:

  • Changing Awareness of Crime
    This unit focuses on building your understanding of the different types of crime and the things that influence the way we perceive crime. We will also examine the reasons why certain types of crimes are less likely to be reported to the police.
  • Criminological Theories
    We will look at how we define crime and what constitutes criminal behaviour. We will also look at the fundamental question of why people commit crime, drawing on biological, psychological and sociological theories. We will then examine how these theories may have influenced social policy in relation to crime
  • Crime Scene to Courtroom
    This unit will enable you to develop your understanding of the criminal justice system from the moment a crime has been identified to the verdict in the courtroom. We will look at the complex processes involved in investigating and prosecuting crimes, and we will review real criminal cases to evaluate the evidence and the validity of the verdict.
  • Crime and Punishment
    Using the knowledge and understanding gained from units already studied we will address questions such as: Why do most of us tend to obey the law even when to do so is against our own interests? What institutions have we developed to ensure that people do obey laws? What happens to those who break the law? Why do we punish people? How do we punish people? How effective is the criminal justice system in preventing and dealing with criminality?

Methods of Teaching

We make use of a variety of teaching and learning methods including teacher-led discussions, debates, independent and collaborative research and presentation tasks, group work and interactive IT-based tasks and quizzes. Your learning will be further enhanced through trips and visits and talks from visiting speakers involved in the criminal justice system.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

50% of the assessment is through externally marked examinations and 50% through internally marked controlled assessment.

Where Could It Take Me?

The course will enable you to develop a range of transferrable skills including independent research skills, problem solving, presentation skills and the ability to work collaboratively. It will support access to higher education degree courses in the social sciences such as Criminology, Sociology, Psychology and Law. The study of Criminology will also equip you with a good grounding in the knowledge and understanding required to go on to employment in the criminal justice system in areas such as the probation service, policing and the courts and tribunals service.

Financial Implications

We recommend that students purchase the course textbook which costs around £25, although we will also make some copies of the book available in the Learning Resource Centre. The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including
Mathematics and English.

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 6 27 62 51 52 8 5 211
Percentage 2.8 12.8 29.4 24.2 24.6 3.8 2.4