Become a Criminologist Without A Levels
The study of criminology delves into the physical aspects of crime in order to understand the sociological causes and implications. In some cases, this can include the psychology of criminals and the development of criminal profiles to better understand their behaviour.
Criminologists help to solve crimes and to prevent them. A career in criminology is as interesting as it is varied where a good day solves crimes and saves lives. To become a Criminologist requires a degree in any of the following: sociology, psychology, criminal justice or criminology.
It’s also highly beneficial to gain some work experience in the field. This can be volunteering with the Police, perhaps as a community support officer. Or you volunteer as an appropriate adult when minors are being interviewed.
In order to attend university, you of course need relevant qualifications, but what do you do if you don’t have any or the ones you have aren’t relevant? Fortunately, there are things you can do.
What is a Criminologist?
Despite what you see on TV, criminology isn’t (always) gory crime scenes or getting embroiled in car chases and/or shootouts. Or dramatic manhunts across cities. Or next-gen computer systems that extrapolate seeming innocuous evidence into a working theory that saves the day, unfortunately.
However, as a Criminologist, you do get to apply the considerable knowledge you gain to understanding criminal behaviour and reducing criminal activity. Becoming a Criminologist will mean you will have a direct hand in bringing criminals to justice and preventing further crimes from being committed.
Criminologist jobs include researching why people commit crimes, analysing data to spot trends and using that to build intelligence databases. This is why criminology jobs are directly involved in crime reduction and rehabilitation programmes and recommending ways to improve the effectiveness of punishments.
Part of the role of Criminologists also includes visiting prisons and the probation service to speak to offenders and ex-offenders to better understand the criminal mindset. You will also get the opportunity to attend conferences, conduct research and even advise on policy.
How to Become a Criminologist
As mentioned above, in order to become a Criminologist, you need – at the very least – an undergraduate degree. This can be in:
- Criminal justice
Though, to get into university to study criminology or a related subject, you need to meet the minimum course requirements which will usually be two or three A Levels, or the equivalent. The two most common options are A Levels or an Access to Higher Education Diploma. Although there are RQF Level 3 courses in criminology, psychology and sociology etc.
Distance learning provides adults with a host of educational options including taking (or retaking) A Levels. The advantage of taking A-Levels over other qualifications is they are a nationally accepted qualification by employers and educational institutes alike.
As such, if you decide criminology isn’t for you, the A Levels you gain could be applied to other fields and roles. By studying A Levels, you can choose the subjects that fit the requirements of your chosen university, and your interests.
If you want to be a Criminologist then the kind of A Level study courses you should be looking at are:
Again, some universities may be quite prescriptive in terms of what qualifications they want from their criminology students, in which case that makes the decision much easier.
Otherwise, choose the courses that you feel will suit you best. It’s important at this stage to manage your expectations. Each A Level course will take you approximately a year to complete. It can be done in less time but if you’re balancing work and home life, it could be a struggle.
Some universities will only ask for two A Levels with good passing grades in order to enrol on a criminology degree, but that’s still 2 years of study. However, the upside is you will go into university with a strong foundation of knowledge upon which to build.
Access to Higher Education Diplomas
A common alternative to A Levels – especially for those who left school without them – is the Access to Higher Education Diploma. This qualification has been developed for those with a desire to return to education in mind.
The Access courses that include criminology are tailored to give you the foundational knowledge you need to hit the ground running when you start university. During the Access course to criminology, you will cover:
- Approaches in psychology
- Crime and deviance
- Cognitive psychology
- The welfare state, amongst others
You will also learn about academic writing skills and how to structure assignments. By the time you have completed the criminology Access course, you will have a firm grasp of all the key principles and will be able to advance towards degree level study of criminology.
Access to HE Diplomas are developed in partnership with universities, so the content is up to date and reflects the material covered at degree level. This gives you the best possible place to start.
If you opt to take the Access to Higher Education route into university, you don’t need to study for any other qualification. Providing you meet any other course requirements. The Access to HE Diploma will give you everything you need to know. You can get these criminology qualifications within a year – although you have up to two years if you need it.
Assuming you’re keen to get on to your criminology university course as quickly as possible, this will help you to achieve that. The added benefit of studying an Access to HE Diploma (or any course) online is you can start right away, there are no term start dates.
Study Criminology at University
We hope the above has directly answered the question many people with an interest in this area ask: ‘What qualifications do you need to study criminology at university?’. Once you’ve decided on your pathway to higher education, all you need to do is enrol on the course/s that will give you the qualifications you need.
When you study criminology courses online with learndirect, there are flexible payment terms available to help you spread the cost. You will also have access to a dedicated tutor who will help you through the learning process.
You can find out more right now by speaking with our Course Advisors, they know all there is to know about our online criminology course. By speaking with them, you can further explore the details and the many benefits you get by becoming a student with us.