Criminology Level 3

Take a peak into the complexities of human behaviour, forensics, and law enforcement with this level 3 criminology course

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It’s fair to say that we’re a nation obsessed with true crime podcasts and documentaries, but have you got what it takes to pursue a career within the criminal justice system? You’ll need a sharp mind, an eye for detail, and a drive to understand the complexities of human behaviour. If this sounds like you, then this online criminology course is a great place to start.

Ideal for anyone wishing to pursue a career in law enforcement, probation work, forensics, or any other profession which values logical thinking and analytical skills, you don’t need any prior qualifications or experience to enrol on this course, just a desire to get stuck in!

You’ll cover sociological and psychological theories of crime, how the media reports on criminal activity, and the role of various institutions such as the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. You’ll also delve into the relationships between race, gender, and crime, investigate specific cases such as the Cleveland abductions, look at some of the myths surrounding offences such as rape, and much more. Our course materials are engaging, and you can study in your own time, at your own pace - ideal if you've work or family commitments.

What you'll learn

Unit 1 - Introduction to Criminology

In this unit, you’ll look at exactly what crime is, study the historical development of criminology, and reflect on sources of recorded data such as official police statistics and crime surveys. You’ll also discover some of the reasons people might choose not to a report crime, and why it might go unrecorded by police.

Unit 2 - Race, Age, Gender and Crime

Next, you’ll explore a contentious debate in criminology – is there any link between ethnicity and crime? You’ll also study the issue of racism as it relates to criminality and victimisation, the relationship between gender and crime, and the question of why so few women commit serious offences. Next, you’ll study the causes of youth offending, as well as issues such as death in custody, reconviction, and re-offending.

Unit 3 - Media and Crime

In the third unit, you’ll study how crime is represented in the media, and attempt to answer the question of whether it increases offending rates. You’ll examine intriguing phenomena such as the ‘CSI effect’, whereby criminals learn how to cover their tracks by watching fictional crime shows. Moving on, you’ll study the ‘moral panic’ effect, including questions such as whether video games truly do make children violent, focusing particularly on the case of James Bulger.

Unit 4 - Criminal Justice

Moving on, you’ll learn about the various components of the criminal justice system, including the police and Crown Prosecution Service. You’ll study the structure of the criminal courts system, and examine the history of policing from Henry II to the creation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. Next, you’ll cover the purpose of sentencing criminals, as well as the types of sentences received by offenders in England and Wales.

Unit 5 - Understanding Crime

In this unit, you’ll look at the various types of crime, such as hate crime, violent crime, criminal damage, and fraud. You’ll cover the facts surrounding victims of crime, including which victims of crime are likely to be championed by the media rather than ignored. You’ll focus on the Cleveland abductions, and attempt to answer the question of whether white victims receive more media attention than people of colour. Moving on, you’ll study the factors which increase a person’s likelihood of becoming a victim of crime, and the impact of victimisation.

Unit 6 - Psychological Theories of Crime

In unit six, you’ll look at the psychoanalytic theory of crime, based on Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, comprising components such as ‘the id’, ‘the ego’ and ‘the superego’, and assess the usefulness of these concepts as an explanation for criminal behaviour. You’ll also be studying the behaviourist theory of crime, asking whether people can become conditioned to offend by their environment. Moving on, you’ll delve into the cognitive theory of crime, Kohlberg’s theory on moral development, as well as rape myths and rape culture.

Unit 7 - Sociological Theories of Crime

In unit seven, you’ll cover norms and values, the Chicago school’s contribution to criminology, and the concentric zone model. You’ll also study mechanical and organic solidarity, and criminological realism.

Unit 8 - Biological Theories of Crime

In the final unit, you’ll look at the work of Cesare Lombroso, often credited as being the founding father of criminology. You’ll study genetic theories of offending, studies that have been carried out to confirm or a deny a link between criminal behaviour and biological characteristics, and biochemical links to offending.

Extra info

Awarding Body


With a heritage stretching back over 150 years, NCFE is one of the largest awarding bodies in the UK. Over 340,000 students were awarded certification by NCFE last year.

NCFE Customised Qualifications are bespoke, unregulated qualifications developed to meet the specific needs of learners. These courses fit in where there are no other regulated qualifications are available. Meaning you can achieve recognition from a well-respected awarding body, even if there isn’t a pre-existing qualification in a certain subject area.

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Course Outcome

At the end of this course, successful learners will be awarded a formal certificate of achievement by NCFE. The training courses have been designed specifically to meet the needs of learners who prefer to study from home.

How is this course assessed or examined?

Throughout this course, you may be expected to complete assignments, essays, research projects, posters, leaflets, presentations, PowerPoint presentations, video/audio recordings, and practical learning sessions to meet the requirements of your course. This information will be included in your study pack detailing exactly what you need to do to accomplish your goals as a student.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, however, it is recommended that you have an intermediate ability to read and write English.

Our Career Guides that include this course

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Do criminologists get paid well?

The Government’s national career service states that the average salary for a criminologist can start at £23,500 and go up to £36,000 once you’ve gained experience.

Although, becoming a criminologist is not the only pathway you can take once qualified. You can also work in the police or probation sector, within the forensics department or become a civil service administrator.

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​​How long does a criminology course take?

That depends on which criminology course you select and whether you opt for a traditional school setting or an online one. Our online criminology courses can take, on average, between six and 12 months to complete.

Because you have access to your learning materials 24 hours a day, and there are no set lesson times, you’re in complete control. As a result, you can complete your course in less time or take longer should you need to.

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Why study a criminology course online with Oxbridge?

If you’re interested in a career in the criminal justice sector, taking a criminology course with Oxbridge could set you on the right path. Whether it’s A-level Law, Forensic ScienceCrime Scene Investigation or an Advanced Criminology Diploma, we offer a range of online distance learning courses that are perfect for budding criminologists.

You’ll be studying with a trusted and experienced distance learning provider with outstanding support guaranteed when you enrol with us. Our award-winning learning platform and supportive, knowledgeable tutors have led to our students achieving remarkable pass rates.

You can enrol online or speak with our learning advisers for more help and advice.

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What is a criminology course?

Criminology is the study of crime from a social perspective. It sets out to examine crimes and those who commit them, with a view to preventing them in the future and reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

It falls under a subgroup of sociology, so you can expect to study biology, psychology, penology and more as part of your education.

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