Criminology (Certificate of Higher Education)

This introductory course in criminology will introduce you to the complex factors that contribute to criminal behaviour and to the range of strategies for addressing crime. It is ideal if you want to explore the range of issues and the key debates raised by crime and the criminal justice system. 

The course will help you make sense of current trends and patterns in crime and criminal justice, introduce you to contemporary psychological approaches to, and sociological theories of, criminal behaviour, and explain how the criminal justice process works, including the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies and institutions involved. 


Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

If you are awarded the Certificate of Higher Education in Criminology, you can apply to enter Year 2 of our full-time BSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

Alternatively, if you complete the first three modules (Understanding Crime, Criminal Justice Process and Sociology of Crime), you can apply to enter Year 2 of our part-time BSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

You can also progress to Year 1 of our part-time LLB Law degree, or use your credits to gain entry to other Birkbeck programmes, such as our part-time BSc Social Sciences

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education, you must successfully complete the following four modules, worth a total of 120 credits.

Module groups

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    None. However, all modules are taught at university level and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently. If you need help, we offer a range of academic English and language development modules.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees


    Fees are payable per module and vary depending on the course. Please click on the Course Structure tab and then click on the title of individual modules to see the fees for each module. The overall cost of the certificate will depend on the modules you choose.

    If you intend to fund this certificate via a student loan, this may affect your entitlement for future full-time funding. Find out more about funding your studies with a student loan

  • Teaching and assessment


    Lectures, seminars and independent study.


    Coursework (essays, critical reflection papers and case-study analysis) and examinations.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in criminal justice, public safety or social welfare. This course may be useful in becoming a community development worker, prison or probation officer, social worker or adult guidance worker. 

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    This is a modular enrolment certificate, so you enrol directly onto the individual modules you wish to study (rather than onto the entire programme of study). 

    Under Course Structure, click on the title of a module to find out everything you need to know about the content, dates and times of the module - you can then enrol.