Social Policy: Crime, Policing and Community Justice BA

**PLEASE NOTE:   this programme will not be open for applications from 2016 entry onwards**

Crime, Policing and Community Justice issues currently have a very high profile across a range of political and public agendas, various forms of media and within a wide range of agency settings and professional arenas. The range of issues which form the focus of what are often highly animated debates is broad ranging too, for example, why are particular 'social harms' defined as crimes whilst others are not? Does and should the law treat all people equally? What role should victims play in sentencing decisions? At what age should young people be held legally responsible for their actions? Does privatisation represent an opportunity or threat to the rehabilitation of offenders? Of course these and a wide range of closely related issues form the substance of the day to day work, not only of the police service, but also of a wide range of public, voluntary and private agencies and professions.

 Find out why our students love living and studying in Birmingham.

**PLEASE NOTE: This programme will not be open for applications from 2016 entry onwards**

Our Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree is an inter-disciplinary programme and is therefore suitable for students who are currently studying a range of subjects at advanced level and who have a particular interest in topic areas such as crime, the criminal justice system and criminology. The programme is located in a vibrant research department and is led by academics who are specialists in the field of crime, policing and community justice.    

In addition to specialist crime and criminology modules during your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree, you will also have the opportunity to take modules provided by experts in a range of related fields such as:

  • Youth and Children
  • Poverty, Assets and Wealth
  • Migration
  • Globalisation
  • Political History
  • The Voluntary Sector
  • Faith
  • Policy Analysis
  • The Family

Your degree programme will provide you with opportunities both to build upon your specialism and also to engage with highly complementary areas of study.

Placement opportunities

Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway students will undertake a specialist placement during their degree programme. However, it is possible for you to gain further experiences if you wish, and there are many opportunities to do so. Some students also choose to undertake dissertations linked to their placements. 

There are a wide range of agencies which have both a direct and indirect focus upon policing and community justice, some examples would include: 

  • Police Services
  • Voluntary Organisations
  • Work with Young Offenders
  • Victims Support Groups
  • Housing Associations
  • Community Organisations involved in conflict transformation and peace building activitities 
  • Journalism, for specialist professional journals and more broadly
  • Legal Organisations
  • Local government 
  • Probation work
  • Agencies who deal with issues such as domestic violence

    Additional information

An undergraduate subject degree brochure is available from Sue Gilbert: or tel: +44 (0)121 414 5709.

We hold applicant visiting days in February and March, which you are most welcome to attend.

We run Discovery Days for groups of students, which comprise a subject talk, a taster seminar, a student life talk, admissions advice and a campus tour. Please contact our Admissions Tutor, Tina Hearn, if you, your school or college would be interested in one of these sessions. 

Why study this course

About the Department

The Department in which the Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree Programme, is both friendly and supportive and students are encouraged to become involved in the work of the Department and the University more broadly. There is a staff–student committee which provides a forum for regular meetings and discussion between staff and students. We also have an active Social Policy Student Society who arrange events, talks and debates. The Department also organises and funds student events, for example, our student group recently visited London and the Houses of Parliament. Each student is also provided with a personal tutor, who they meet on a regular basis and with whom they review their academic and broader developmental progress. The Institute also provides a welfare tutoring system, for students who may need specialist support.

The Department places an emphasis upon ensuring that students benefit from studying in a vibrant research environment. Consequently, there is a carefully crafted relationship between research activity in the department, module content and teaching, providing students with core skills in both utilising and undertaking research.

In addition to your specialist Crime, Policing and Community Justice placement, further opportunities for placements and paid work are available.  Our Internship and Careers Officers meet with students on a regular basis to share information about internships and facilitate work opportunities.

The availability of these opportunities means that students on the Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree  are able to build up an excellent portfolio of experiences and contacts which have proved to be very valuable when students apply for jobs upon completion of their degree. The Institute also places a premium upon helping students to develop a wide range of transferrable skills. So, for example, encouraging and supporting the development of skills such as group and teamwork, project work, presentations, the production of briefing papers and policy reports are systematically woven into the structure and processes of your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree.    


Modules available within your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree will enable you to acquire a range of skills which are valued by employers, including: critical enquiry; analytical skills; problem solving; research competencies; workload planning and management; convening working parties; team working; presentations; writing policy reports and producing briefing papers. You will also be able to choose optional modules such as the Personal Skills Award, which can provide you with the opportunity to develop further employment specific skills, for example, in leadership and project management. Optional modules are also available which provide opportunities to visit organisations and agencies and to gain a wide variety of placement experiences.

First year

Many people will not have previously studied social policy nor had the opportunity to specialise in crime, policing or community justice on a formal basis during their advanced level studies. The first year of your programme is designed to help you find your feet and get up to speed with the subjects through the study of some of the main relevant disciplines and contextual material. Core first year modules studied include:

  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Social Issues
  • Research Methods

You can also choose a further two modules from a range of subject areas such as Urban studies, Politics, Sociology, Psychology and Childhood Studies. Taken together, your core and optional modules will help you begin the process of familiarising yourself with your specialism as well as enabling you to develop a good understanding of the broader context of policing and community justice.

Second year

Your second year core courses include the specialist pathways placement modules providing an observational placement opportunity, exploring the implementation of policy in various community justice contexts. The Criminal Justice module provides an overview of the different types of criminal justice systems. It also provides an insight into the operation of key agencies working across such systems. Social Theory, and Social Research. Social Theory will help you to develop a deeper appreciation of how many of the issues and debates within the field of policing and community justice are formed, framed and negotiated. In your social research module you will focus upon gaining research skills for your third-year research based dissertation which will take a focus upon a crime, policing and/or community justice question or other issue of your choice. You will also continue to have opportunities to tailor your degree to reflect your developing skills and interests through the selection of an additional module:

  • Managing Health and Social Care
  • New migration and Superdiversity
  • Housing and Communities
  • Policy Analysis
  • Global Issues
  • Equality and Discrimination

In your second year you can also choose to study a module from other departments if you wish to such as Urban Studies, Politics, Psychology or Sociology. This provides you with an opportunity to tailor your degree around your personal interests.

Third year

The core courses in your third year are:

  • Youth, Crime and Justice
  • Prospects for Social Policy
  • Dissertation

In the Youth, Crime and Justice module you will explore the ways in which young people have been understood and responded to by the state and wider society. In the Prospects module, as a member of a working group, you will be able to undertake a project on a crime, policing and community justice issue of your choice. You will produce a briefing paper, a Wiki, a policy report and you will also learn how to form and constitute a working party, engage in team work and develop further important transferrable skills. In the Dissertation module you will undertake an in depth research-based dissertation, centred on a crime, policing and community justice question or issue of your choice, supported by your academic supervisor. Your dissertation is worth around a third of your final-year marks and your ability to choose a topic or issue which particularly interests or inspires you, will provide you with an excellent opportunity to enhance your marks in your final year.

For the remainder of your modules you can choose from a range of specialist options, examples would include:

  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Poverty, Wealth and Assets
  • Agency and Morality
  • Doing or not Doing God

You can also choose to study modules from other departments to reflect specific interests which you have developed over the course of your programme and to broaden your understanding of the social and political context of policing and community justice issues and policies.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding 

Learn more about our scholarships and awards 

We encourage applications through the University’s Access to Birmingham (A2B) Scheme

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:

Please note that this programme will not be open for applications from 2016 entry onwards

A satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be required for September 2015 entry.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 at Higher Level to include English with a minimum of 32 points overall

Standard English language requirements apply 
Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

**PLEASE NOTE: This programme will not be open for applications from 2016 entry onwards**

Apply through UCAS at 
Learn more about applying


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Key Information Set (KIS)

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The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Social Policy lectures take many different forms, some may be talks followed by a workshop, others are combined with small group exercises, group discussions, seminars, project or placement work. You can see a sample lecture here on 'Perceptions of and Responses to Youth Crime'.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Employers value our graduates on the basis of our reputation for academic excellence and our student’s considerable suite of skills and experiences gained over the course of their degree programme, hence our graduates are highly employable. Supporting our students in acquiring skills and experiences to enhance their employability is a key priority for us and is reflected in the way that we structure our academic programmes.

Your specialist placement

Your specialist placement forms an integral part of your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway degree and there are a range of interesting opportunities available to you. Your placement will provide you with the opportunity to spend a dedicated block of time with a organisation or agency and so will provide you with an excellent means of developing a vivid and tangible sense of the connections between your academic studies and the world of employment. In addition to your placement, there are further options through which you can develop and broaden your experiences, helping you to build an excellent portfolio over the course of your degree programme. In addition, your various experiences will also provide you with opportunities to network and develop contacts, which can form valuable resources both during and upon completion of your degree. Systematic assessment and review of your progress is firmly built into your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway degree through our tutoring systems.

Graduate Internship Case Study: Amy Davenport, Health Exchange (2014)

Progress and tutoring

Your skill-set, talents and experiences which you bring with you to your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree are valuable resources and a baseline upon which we will build over the duration of your degree. A key source of support in that process is the tutoring system, which offers one-to-one tutoring across all three years of your programme, providing you with a personal and systematic approach to reviewing your progress, achievements and aspirations. You can also access the Academic Skills Centre that provide focussed one-to-one and group workshop sessions to enable you to develop your wider academic skills. Over the course of your degree programme a wide range of opportunities will be available to you for developing and enhancing your skills, experiences and employability.

Agency placement experiences

You may wish to complement or build upon the experiences gained during your specialist observational placement, by undertaking further optional agency placements. Agency placement experiences are systematically integrated into the broader structure of an academic module, thus providing you with critically informed and animated insights into the links between your academic work and the work of employers. Placements can be valuable in that they can provide you with a further gateway through which you can gain a wide range of employment relevant experiences such as developing insights into what happens when an issue emerges within an agency and how the issue unfolds, is negotiated and managed. Undertaking an agency placement in addition to an internship can also further contribute to developing your sense of self-confidence and competencies in an agency setting.

Further internship experiences?

You may be interested in gaining further, perhaps complementary internship experience over the course of your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree. If you think that this option could be of interest to you, then there are a range of resources and support available which can facilitate you. For example, in addition to our dedicated Careers Advisor, we also have a specialist Internship Officer located in the School of Social Policy, who works with and supports students in securing internship opportunities. In addition to structured inputs into the programme, our Internship Officer also has an active relationship with our student Social Policy Society, arranging events, workshops and talks in collaboration with our students.

Work experience

If you are interested in gaining work experience over the course of your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree, our specialist careers and employability advisor who holds regular surgeries, several days each week in the building in which we are based, will be able to provide you with support, advice and information about the many employers who are keen to offer opportunities to our undergraduates. The Guild also has a facility called Jobzone which provides a wide and interesting range of opportunities for students. In addition, if you want to gain work experience in an area which is interesting or inspires you, but perhaps is low paid or unpaid, the University has a range of bursaries available which can enable you to do this.


Volunteering is a fantastic way to demonstrate your commitment to civic engagement, develop your employability skills, gain crucial work experience, network and meet new people. We actively encourage our students to gain experiences in voluntary agencies, both through our modules as well as through our links to the Student Volunteering Service, who provide our students with access to a wide range of experiences both here in the UK and abroad. 

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.

During your first year you will undergo a formal ‘transition’ review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You’ll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide range of teaching methods and assessments, including a range of eLearning mediums such as Canvas, Wikis and podcasting; workshops, presentations, seminars, classes, briefing papers, policy reports, project work and essays. A typical assessment for modules is 50% coursework and 50% examination. Some modules are 100% coursework. Students are able to choose some modules according to their personal strengths and preferences both in relation to subject matter and assessment methods. Your third-year dissertation, which is research-based, is supervised by an academic tutor. All students have the support of their own personal tutor throughout their degree, and access to welfare tutors if they have specific learning support needs.

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline, all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Career opportunities

With an emphasis on examining contemporary policing and community justice issues and debates, as well as exploring the range of ways in which responses to those issues are and could be formed, the work that you undertake on your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree makes strong connections with the concerns of a very wide range of employers and key professions. This means that the programme is a positive choice for students who are interested in enhancing their employment prospects through their choice of degree programme. Whilst the Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree will enable you to specialise, it is also a degree programme which has flexibility too. This means that it is possible for the students who undertake this degree programme to craft their degree in a way such that it reflects their developing personal interests, skills, experiences and career aspirations.

Careers support and pathways

Careers advice, skills development and opportunities for work experience are available to Social Policy students through our Universide-wide Careers Network and our specialist Careers Advisor.

Specialist social policy careers advisor

Social Policy students are supported by our specialist Social Policy Careers Advisor in various ways, for example:

  • Careers advice and support built into each year of your programme
  • Careers surgeries are regularly held in our building
  • Specialist careers fairs
  • Talks from our Alumni and visiting professionals
  • Specialist online support services
  • Advice and support for social policy students is also available through our Careers Network.

University wide Careers Network

Available to all social policy students, offering an extensive, well resourced service.

  • CV Clinics
  • Careers profiling
  • Careers events and fairs
  • Work experience fairs
  • Skills workshops
  • Careers vacancy data base
  • Work experience data base
  • Online interactive careers Service

The University has a range of bursaries available which can enable you to take up low or unpaid work experiences. Visit our Careers Network for more information.

The Personal Skills Award

The University’s award winning employability programme, is supported by our Careers Network. This module is accredited on your official academic transcript and will provide you with the opportunity to broaden and develop your skills in preparation for your career. The Personal Skills Award will provide you with opportunities to undertake training in areas such as:

  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Project management
  • Introduction to journalism
  • Media and press writing skills
  • International communications

The Guild also offers a range of services to help students enhance their employability. Jobzone provides students with information about job fairs as well as a wide range of opportunities for students to gain part time work experience both within the University, for example as student ambassadors, as well as in many of wide range of agencies and organisations located in the City of Birmingham.

Career pathways

Our Social Policy: Crime, Policing and Community Justice Degree can provide students with a range of potential career pathways, example of which would include:

  • Graduate management training schemes in the Prison Service
  • Fast Track graduate entry into the Police Service
  • Working with Young Offenders
  • Policy work in a range of organisations specialising in criminal justice issues
  • Legal work, for example through the Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
  • Research in policing, crime and community justice issues

Learn more at the Prospects, the UK's official graduate careers website.

Some Social Policy Crime, Policing and Community Justice graduates go on to undertake further professional training, for example in criminal justice management, law, probation, and social work.

Your Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway Degree and Employability

Experiences you can gain as a Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway degree student, through your specialist placement, modules, placements, work experiences and volunteering, are an excellent way of enriching your CV so that it includes that all important 'experience' that employers so often look for. When interviewed for your first job, you will often find that employers have a keen interest in how far you have developed your appreciation of the connections between your academic subject and the work of their organisations – through your specialist internship and experiences of placements, voluntary work, work experience and beyond, Crime, Policing and Community Justice Pathway students are very well placed to respond with confidence and competence.

Graduate Internship case study: Amy Davenport, Health Exchange

Amy DavenportAmy Davenport, BA Social Policy (2013) "Overall, I feel that my internship has served me well and has given me a lot of confidence and a better skill set for my career. My view on social enterprises has changed enormously, as I now have a new understanding of its fast-paced nature and the importance it has in delivering to communities that may find it difficult to get help and support from other, more traditional access points. Looking beyond my internship, I now find myself looking for what social enterprises there are and what opportunities they have."

Opportunities to secure a career that is right for you, can be enhanced not only through the wide range of experiences that are available to you through your degree programme, but also through the wealth of resources and support that is available through our specialist Careers Network.

Graduate profiles


Richard, BA Social PolicyRichard took the single honours social policy degree. He decided to study social policy as it allowed him to study a wide range of subjects and issues. Over the course of his studies, Richard enjoyed the criminal justice and diversity modules. Richard graduated with a 2:1 and worked for a youth charity in London, providing after-school activities for young people and leadership training for hundreds of young adults, to enable them to lead in the organisations' residential supper programmes. Since then Richard has progressed to work for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) on their National Graduate Programme.

As part of the programme, Richard works in prisons directly with the residents and is on a fast-track scheme to becoming a prison governor working his way through the operational roles in prison. Richard feels that the knowledge and skills he gained from his degree, in addition to the fantastic support and guidance he had access to while at Birmingham, has aided him on his prestigious career path.

He would recommend the Social Policy BA to anyone looking to engage in interdisciplinary study.

Asha Kaur

Asha KaurAsha Kaur decided to study Social Policy at Birmingham because the subject provided opportunities to study contemporary issues, plus the flexibility to study a wide range of subject areas before deciding upon her future career direction. Asha found the Social Policy department to be highly supportive and committed to their students and the subjects they taught. After completing her degree, Asha decided to study law at Birmingham and gain legal qualifications; she found that many of the skills and areas of knowledge gained whilst studying Social Policy, formed an excellent preparation for studying law.

After completing her legal studies Asha accepted a graduate position with a top legal head-hunting firm. With a view to developing her career around issues to which she has a particular commitment, Asha has recently begun studying for a masters degree in International Human Rights Law; she also volunteers at the Refugee Council, blending her interests in Social Policy, Law and Social Justice. Asha feels her degree in Social Policy provided her with excellent preparation for the world of graduate employment and thoroughly recommends it to anyone who has a passion for social justice and to those who are currently undecided about their career path. 

Naila Begum

Naila BegumI found the Social Policy Department to be very supportive; personal tutors prioritise the welfare of students and ensure that they are on task with their academic work. I particularly enjoyed the Crime and Justice Modules as they provided me with really good insights into the way that public issues can influence the way that the law develops. My dissertation focused on Islamophobia and education as I was interested in researching the nature and prevalence of this issue. During my studies, I also had an invaluable opportunity to volunteer with a charity which assisted women suffering from domestic violence. This not only enabled me to enhance the diverse skills I gained from the course, but also the opportunity to make a real difference to people's lives.

After completing my undergraduate degree, I successfully completed the Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies (GDLs) at the College of Law at the University, and found that the knowledge gained from studying Social Policy is very relevant to different areas of Law. As a member of the Pro-Bono group at the University of Birmingham, I have taken part in various activities which focus on social policy issues, for example, providing information to people about parental rights at the Birmingham Probation Office. My undergraduate degree in Social Policy at the University of Birmingham was the most incredible 3 years. I would thoroughly recommend a social policy degree for anybody with an interest in law. The expertise and knowledge that I gained from studying Social Policy has opened up an excellent career path for me which is a priceless asset to have in today's competitive world  

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