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Criminology (Certificate of Higher Education)

This introductory course in criminology is ideal if you want to understand contemporary crime issues and criminal justice systems, and explore social problems. Our Criminology Certificate of Higher Education introduces you to historic and contemporary trends and patterns in crime, psychological approaches to criminal behaviour, social explanations for offending and how criminal justice systems work in practice.

You can look forward to a stimulating environment, learning alongside students with diverse backgrounds and professional experiences. Our unique evening teaching model means it is possible for those working or caring during the day to complete university study.

We offer flexible timetabling with teaching over three semesters (autumn, spring, summer). You can start the certificate in any of these semesters, meaning no delay to your start date.

Successful completion of the Certificate of Higher Education in Criminology means you can transition into the second year of our BSc Criminology and Criminal Justice.


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, The 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 degrees. 

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education you must register on and successfully complete four individual modules worth a total of 120 credits.

Module groups

You can take these modules as part of this certificate, or as standalone short courses.

  • 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 UK and you do not already have residency here, 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: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

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

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant requirements by country.

  • 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.

    Please note: if you intend to study this certificate part-time and fund your studies 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. Possible professions include:

    • community development worker
    • prison or probation officer
    • social worker
    • adult guidance worker. 

    We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

  • 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.