Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) - Psychology with Criminology Course Online | learndirect

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) - Psychology with Criminology


If you’re interested in the human mind, or you want to gain a deeper understanding of the reasoning behind criminal activity, this could be the course for you. The Access to HE Diploma (Social Science) – Psychology and Criminology Pathway has been developed to help aspiring social science students achieve the grades they need to get in to university. Throughout the modules, they will examine topics such as criminal justice, prison systems, crime and deviance and even criminal law. The knowledge they gain will then set them up for undergraduate level study in this area. Psychology and criminology are popular pathways that open doors to plenty of opportunities. Learndirect’s distance learning course explores units on both topics, giving students scope to narrow their focus later down the line.

Check this is the right course for you

Universities have varying admissions criteria so we recommend that you check with your chosen university that this Access to HE Diploma qualification meets the admissions criteria for the degree course you wish to study in the future.

How does the course work?

One of the main benefits of this qualification is that it can be studied entirely from home. This means that there will be no time consuming classes to attend or commutes to endure. Students can simply log on to our online portal where they will be able to find all of the learning materials they will need. Once a student has enrolled, they can get going on their work right away. They will be able to work in their own time at their own pace. How long the qualification takes to complete is dependent on the individual however it should take any time between six and 18 months.




Module 1: Preparing to study

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand how study is organised and planned
  • Understand how to apply theories of learning in relation to personal approaches to learning
  • Understand a range of constraints upon study
  • Understand the importance of assessment feedback


Module 2: Academic writing skills 

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Be able to write with relevance in responding to an academic task
  • Know how to interpret and discuss concepts and debates in responding to a set, academic writing task
  • Be able to summarise for academic purposes, selecting key points, information or central ideas
  • Understand the role of reference, allusion and paraphrase to avoid plagiarism


Module 3: Preparing a written assignment   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand how to use key information sources
  • Understand why sources are acknowledged and referenced
  • Understand a range of reading strategies
  • Understand note-making methods
  • Understand how to plan draft and produce a written assignment


Module 4: Independent research 

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Be able to plan a piece of research on an approved subject area
  • Be able to collect research material from different sources
  • Be able to use data to substantiate an argument
  • Be able to record sources of information
  • Be able to present research findings


Module 5: The Origins of the welfare state

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand what is meant by the term social welfare
  • Know the purpose of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and its effects on society
  • Explain and discuss early twentieth century Liberal Reforms and their effect on society
  • Recognise the significance of the Beveridge Report
  • Recognise the social problems which the Welfare State attempted to address


Module 6: Progressing to Higher Education

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand potential next steps in education
  • Understand key sources of information relevant to HE application
  • Understand personal HE opportunities
  • Understand the financial implications of further study
  • Know how to apply for a course


Module 7: Introduction to psychology   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the importance of research in psychology
  • Understand the main approaches in psychology
  • Understand ethical issues in psychological research


Module 8: Introduction to cognitive psychology   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand research in an area of cognitive psychology
  • Understand how the findings of research into cognitive processes can be applied to real-life issues


Module 9: The brain & nervous system   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the major sub divisions of the nervous system
  • Understand the structure and function of glial cells and neurons


Module 10: Abnormal psychology   

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the difficulties faced by psychologists in the definition and diagnosis of abnormal behaviour
  • Understand a psychological disorder
  • Understand therapy used to treat people with psychological disorders


Module 11: Psychology of mental illness

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the main issues arising from psychiatric diagnosis
  • Understand the medical model of mental disorder
  • Understand the symptoms, causes and treatments of schizophrenia
  • Understand the symptoms, causes and treatments of affective disorders
  • Understand the symptoms, causes and treatments of anxiety disorders


Module 12:  Developmental psychology

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the importance of early relationships in child development
  •  Understand explanations of the development of individual differences


Module 13:  Introduction to sociology

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the sociological approach and its distinction from common sense and other social sciences
  • Understand basic concepts in sociological explanation
  • Understand contrasting sociological perspectives
  • Understand concepts and perspectives relating to a specific social institution


Module 14: The criminology of prisons

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the philosophical, social and official functions of imprisonment
  • Distinguish between categories of prison and their relative costs
  • Appreciate the effects of imprisonment and the increase in the prison population


Module 15: Criminal justice & social policy

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Consider the key elements and developments of new right criminology
  • Examine models of crime prevention
  • Understand key arguments, current debates and developments in theories of crime control
  • Examine arguments supporting an abandonment of ‘crime’


Module 16: Measurements of crime

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Know sources of crime statistics
  • Understand the reliability of published statistics on crime
  • Understand factors that are not reflected in criminal statistics


Module 17: Understanding crime & deviance

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand explanations of crime and deviance
  • Know theories of crime and deviance
  • Understand perceptions of crime and deviance


Module 18: Criminal law & procedures

On completion of this unit you will:

  • Understand the criminal court process and its personnel
  • Understand sentencing policy and procedures



If you are looking to start an Access to HE Diploma, you should know that the minimum requirements are a GSCE in maths and English at grade C or above. The criteria are typically requested by universities to gain entry to their courses.

Although our Access to HE courses have been designed to satisfy entry requirements to most academic institutions, we would like to remind students that each university and course are different. Some of the special standards, include, but are not limited to:

  1. A particular number of credits passed with a merit or distinction
  2. A face-to-face interview
  3. A literacy and numeracy test provided by university
  4. A course related placement or other relevant work
  5. GCSE Grade A – C in maths and English (or equivalent level 2 such as Functional Skills/Key Skills etc.) Or a full level 2 NVQ qualification in a related subject.

If this diploma is a means towards a higher education course, learners should conduct some research as early as possible to find out the exact criteria of your choice university. Learndirect is not able to accept any liability if anyone completing an Access to HE Diploma fails to secure an offer from their intended university.




At the end of each module you will complete an assessment, to illustrate the knowledge you acquired. The assignments contain a combination of two tasks, for example you could be answering questions, or writing an essay or an academic report.  With the help of your tutors you will gain feedback and learn how to improve and progress throughout the course. There are also “assessment planners” included in your course materials, to make the process as smooth as possible for you.

The assignments account for the 60 credits you will need to successfully complete your Access to HE Diploma. Of these, 45 will be graded modules pertinent to social sciences. The rest of 15 will come from ungraded units regarding academic skills.

We advise you check the entry criteria of your chosen university, to ensure you have the grades required.

The approximate time for this course is 360 hours.




Open College Network West Midlands Access to Higher Education (Social Science)

On successful completion of the Open College Network West Midlands Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science) you will receive a QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma at level 3 (QAA ref: (4000885X).This course has also been assigned 60 credits.

Open College Network West Midlands

Open College Network West Midlands is a national Awarding Organisation, regulated by Ofqual, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and Qualifications Wales, to develop and award nationally recognised qualifications.

Open College Network West Midlands work in partnership with employers, training providers, colleges, universities, schools and voluntary and community organisations to offer vocational credit-based qualifications, Access to Higher Education Diplomas and quality assured Customised Accreditation that enables learners gain employment or to progress into further learning and Higher Education. Open College Network West Midlands also Quality Endorse organisations internal training and skills delivery.



Your Access to Higher Education Diploma and the way it is delivered within our innovative learning platform is designed to give you the best possible chance of fulfilling your dream of studying at university. Higher Education Degrees confirm to any employer your intellect, motivation and ability to work independently to succeed not just in your area of specialism but also life itself. A higher education degree is a gateway qualification that will allow you to apply 1,000's of graduate programmes as well as setting you apart from those who don't have a degree.



Need proof of your English and Maths skills? Want to catch up and learn more English and Maths? You can for free when you sign up to this learndirect course.

Get your NUS Extra card

All professional development students are eligible for the NUS Extra card, which gives you access to over 200 UK student discounts with brands like Co-op, Amazon and ASOS. Apply and find out more at

Deko loans


Our 3 year 0% loans are provided by our partners Deko. Loan applications are processed over the phone with a member of our team and a decision can be provided within a matter of minutes.

All loans are subject to status & and Credit check Call now to speak to a member of the team 0800 101 901.

19+ Adult learner loans

Many of our students are looking to change career and that’s why they’ve enrolled on one of our vocational courses. You too can enrol on a life changing RQF distance learning course with the help of a 19+ learner loan.

What is a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan?

The Government has introduced 19+ Advanced Learner Loans to help learners aged 19 and over, in further education, pay a college’s or training organisation’s fee. Getting a Loan doesn’t depend on your household income and there’s no credit check. You won’t have to pay anything back until you’re earning over £25,000 a year. Once you earn over £25,000 a year you’ll pay back 9% of the earnings you’ll receive above this amount. To be eligible for the loan you must be:

  • 19 or older on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)

  • living in the England on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years immediately before this starting your course on or after 1 August 2013
There’s no upper age limit in order to apply for a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan.

** All funded RQF courses on the Learndirect website are delivered by Dimensions Training Solutions.

Dimensions Training Solutions are rated "Good" by Ofsted