University of Chester

Programme Specification
Criminal Justice BA (Hons) (Level 6 only)
2015 - 2016

Bachelor of Arts (Level 6 only)

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice (Top-up)

University of Chester

St Helens College

St Helens College

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

3 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Social Science Social and Political Science

Law; Criminology; Social Policy and Administration

Social and Political Science

Friday 1st June 2012

The purpose of the Criminal Justice programme is to enable students to: 

1. Undertake a rigorous interdisciplinary study of criminal justice drawing on disciplines including, criminology, law, socio-legal studies, sociology, social policy, history and related professional practice. 

2. Link theoretical analysis with empirical enquiry and the operation and impact of policies on practice. 

3. Identify and understand different value positions in the criminal justice system and processes. 

4. Understand the legal context and principal legal features of the criminal justice system. 

5. Provide students with an understanding of policy and experience of practice in the criminal justice system and so improve their employability in criminal justice and allied areas. 

6. To enable students from a wide variety of backgrounds to realise their potential.

At level 6 students must be able to synthesise and critically reflect upon their analysis and argument. Application of a wide range of appropriate evidence and reflective practice should be well argued by incorporating critiques in presenting valid conclusions. The ability to deploy techniques and analysis should be incorporated with appropriate enquiry that focuses on the criminal justice discipline. Additionally, clear evidence of strategic selection of evidence along with critical examination of this evidence must also be evident. Knowledge and Understanding A. Students to gain Knowledge and understanding of: - The social and historical development of criminal justice; including the changing values governing police work linked to human rights (SO6810, SO6812) - The contemporary approach in relation to the punishment of offenders including courts, hearings for adults and young people; the governance and values of relevant institutions; the theory and practice of sentencing; prison and community-based penalties (SO6810, SO6812). - Issues relating to public, private and volunatry sector management including the formation and operation of contracts, along with legal responsibilities and liabilities for staff and client welfare (SO6813).

Cognitive skills B. Thinking or cognitive skills that will enable the student to: Appreciate the complexity of crime and victimisation and how to manage government response. Engage in rational, informed debate relating to the concepts of risk and dangerousness by producing strategies to manage and reduce risK (SO6812) Demonstrate problem-solving strategies relating to a range of commonly experienced problems linked to criminal justice professional practice (SO6810, SO6811, SO6812, SO6813).

Practical and professional skills C. Practical and professional skills that will enable the student to: - Apply legal principles within the criminal justice decision-making process (S06813) - Demonstrate strategies for managing staff, finances, and meeting professional standards (SO6810, SO6812, SO6813) - Demonstrate the ability to devise strategic, business, and operational plans linked to criminal justice management and professional practice(SO6810, SO6811, S06812, SO6813). - Collaboration and cooperation in working with others to demonstarte inter-agency working (SO6810, SO6811, S06812, SO6813) .

Communication skills D. Communication skills that will enable the student to: - Effectively display the ability to communicate between organisations and compare financial strategies, use of information technology, problem-solving, teamworking, and improving organisational effectiveness to establish best practice. - Management of staff, clients, systems of work, and effective problem-solving are key communication skills at this level. Students will also develop both written and verbal communictaion skills through critical reviews, written and verbal discussions (all modules), project proposals (SO6814), and problem-solving exercises (S06810, SO6811, SO6812, SO6813). Throughout the programme students are required to use the spoken word to support their work in both formal and informal situations. Students will also work together to practice or demonstrate learning or to initiate investigation and/or deliver presentations (all modules).

The programme is currently delivered by staff within the Department for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  The programme team comprises well qualified and very experienced staff from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. All members of the core team possess teaching qualifications; some have higher degrees, and all have experience of teaching on Higher Education programmes at the College. 

In terms of disciplinary backgrounds, members of staff have substantial experience within the fields of sociology, social policy and politics, psychology, law, criminal justice and social history. This diversity is one of the strengths of the teaching team, and offers students the prospect of a rich and rewarding cross-disciplinary learning experience. 

The top-up programme is offered in full-time (1 year), or part-time route (2 years). The programme is offered in a final level of study developing and building upon successful completion of the Foundation Degree in Criminal Justice. Students may enter or interrupt their study (with the credits they have accumulated at the points indicated during the Foundation Degree). The programme is based on a 2 semester academic year with modules being delivered through both semesters and assessed in the final semester.  The modules are rated as 20 UMF credits (equivalent to 200 hours of student effort).  There is also a 40 credit module reflecting the importance of the Dissertation.   

All modules are compulsory.

The programme will also give students the expertise, experience and confidence to develop self-directed study and learning.   

Programme modules: 

Level 6 - 120 credits required to complete Level 6

SO6810 – Policing and Prisons (20 credits)

SO6811 – Substance Misuse and Crime (20 credits)

SO6812 – Crime and Justice Practitioner (20 credits)

SO6813 – Law, Responsibility and Management (20 credits)

SO6814 – Dissertation (40 credits)
Part-time route 


Part-time students will undertake the same modules as those students studying on the full-time route.  Part-time students will be encouraged to begin their dissertation in their first year of part-time study.  However, the latest start date for dissertations will be Semester 1 in their final year. 

Students may select which of the compulsory core modules they wish to undertake to facilitate the part-time route. 

Part-time students will be required to attend for one full day of study in each academic year with the option of evening tutorials and seminars to support their dissertation. 

Combinations of credits may be 80 and 40 over two years or 60 credits in each academic year. 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
SO6810 6 Policing and Prisons 20 Comp
SO6811 6 Substance Misuse and Crime 20 Comp
SO6812 6 Crime and Justice Practitioner 20 Comp
SO6813 6 Law, Responsibility and Management 20 Comp
SO6814 6 Dissertation 40 Comp

The top-up programme is offered in full-time (1 year), or part-time route (2 years). The programme is offered in a final level of study developing and building upon successful completion of the Foundation Degree in Criminal Justice. Students may enter or interrupt their study (with the credits they have accumulated at the points indicated during the Foundation Degree). The programme is based on a 2 semester academic year with most modules being delivered through both semesters and assessed in the final semester. A total of 360 credits are required for the BA Honours Degree and the credits are divided between the levels of study.
Level4 = 120 credits, Level5 = 120 credits, Level6 = 120 credits. Credits are designated to modules and are awarded for the achievement of the learning outcomes of the module. The credit value for each module varies and 1 credit represents 10 hours of learning.
TheBA (Hons) Degree requires 360 UMF credits. Degree classification based on 100% of level6 credit. Students who achieve 300 credits, with 60 credits at level 6, are eligible for a BA without honours.


All students must have a minimum of 240 credits that have been achieved from the Foundation Degree in Criminal Justice studies at St Helens College.  Alternatively, any student applying for direct entry must satisfy the APL Committee at both St Helens and the University of Chester that the aims and learning outcomes on their course of study, along with the 240 credits achieved appropriately match the aims and learning outcomes linked to the FD in Criminal Justice at St Helens College. 

The subject benchmarks for the BA (Hons) in Criminal Justice will continue to develop from the Foundation Degree and have been used to construct the aims and outcomes of the programme.  The benchmark qualifications of Law, Criminology, Social Policy and Administration, are inexstricably linked to the subject material within the modules to inform the teaching, learning and assessment processes.  These benchmarks have been used as important reference points in setting standards and determining appropriate assessment procedures. 

The UK Quality Code for Education has also been used to ensure the highest standards and quality for higher education are integral features of this programme.  Standards and quality have been defined by the clear identification of the minimum level of achievement that students are required to achieve in order to gain success.

Academic quality will be enhanced by our student support services, along with academic and pastoral tutorials.  The programme will reflect robust and diverse assessment processes and comprehensive resources will be made available to all students.

Quality assurance will be internally measured by the systematic reviews implemented from our HE co-ordinator and these will reflect the standards expected during IQER visits.

Subject benchmarks were selcted to promote the students\' knowledge and understanding of criminal justice theory in practice; promote intellectual skills to enable studnets to appreciate the complexity of crime and victimisation; harnass practical skills that promote investigation and research abilities and enhance the decision-making process of students. 

Additionally, the promotion of transferrable skills such as self-management, prioritisation, and effective communication will be developed throughout the programme.  During the design of this programme we have considered FHEQ, the QCF, Subject-Sector Skills for Justice Framework for the Justice Sector, relevent benchmark statements, Sector Skills Council Framework, and HEFCE guidelines.

The programme reflects important aspects of the above documents and additionally we have considered the following:

  • Employability and Skills within the Justice Sector in England 2010
  • 'The Bradley Report on People with Mental Health Problems, or Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System: The Government Response' (April, 2009)
  • Third Sector Employers in Justice and Community Safety (October, 2009)
  • Skills Priorities and Scenarios in the Justice Sector (Research Report, 2009)

The BA (Hons) Degree in Criminal Justice articulates with the FdA Criminal Justice programme in that one of its key drivers is to promote and develop the important employment skills necessary for a successful career within the field of criminal justice.

St Helens College developed a Higher Education Strategy in 1990 which has subsequently been subject to three revisions and which clearly correlates with the institution’s overall mission and strategic plan.  A developmental feature of the Higher Education Strategy is the recent introduction of an institution wide Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy that reflects the value placed by the College on being learner-centred, on widening participation, on work-based learning and on employability skills.

The very nature of individual module aims and outcomes serve to inform teaching and learning methodology, as will the preferred learning styles of individual students.  As such, the Programme Team subscribe to the notion of experiential learning as depicted by Kolb (1986) whereby the cyclical nature of the learning process, effectively managed, enables access to learning by all students whatever their preferred learning style. 

The following range of teaching and learning methods will be employed: 

·       Lecture – This is used to impart a specific body of knowledge to students. In most cases, theoretical concepts generated by lectures will be developed through supporting seminars or through research practice. (including use of multi-media presentations, video presentations and, where appropriate, guest speakers)  

·       Teaching Workshop – This is where a lecturer or visiting lecturer introduces and demonstrates practically based technology, working methods and skills, potential of materials, within a short period of intensive study. For example Police interview techniques, risk assessment processing, pre-sentence reports, supervision of offenders and deciding on sentence.  

·       Seminars - This functions as a forum for the discussion and debate of ideas. The primary function is the exchange of opinion between staff and students, or students and students. A seminar may be initiated and led by staff or may be focussed around a student presentation.  

·       Self-Directed Learning - The concept of independent study is an integral part of the programme. It refers to the idea of student centred learning, whereby the student takes responsibility for setting his or her own goals and creating his or her own pathway of study within the framework of the course. With this in mind, the programme team will act more as facilitators, enabling and encouraging learning by developing study skills, suggesting areas of investigation and research, and providing academic advice and counselling. 

·       Written Work – The course involves a range of written assignments. These include essays, critical reviews, written discussions, project proposals, applications, letters of introduction, CV’s, reflective logs and a contextual report.  

·       Oral Presentation – Throughout the programme the student is required to use the spoken word to support their work in both formal and informal situations.  

·       Group Work – Certain assignments may require students to work together or in pairs, to practice or demonstrate learning or to initiate investigation and / or deliver presentations.  

·       Visits – Throughout the programme the students are required to attend a series of visits that will be pre-planned. These visits will take the form of court visits, police control rooms and professional organisations.  

·       Visiting Lectures – Students benefit from contact with a wide range of professional activities through direct contact with industrial specialists. The schedule of VL’s is intended to introduce the students to a variety of different professional practitioners and working methods.  

·       Individual tutorials – This system is an extremely important element linked to the rationale of teaching, learning and assessment at St Helens College. The individual needs of the student are effectively analysed with the aim to provide a clear pathway of learning to incorporate the style which most suits the student. These tutorials can be activated at the request of the tutor or individual student, and can be utilised in addition to the mandatory tutorials afforded to each and every individual student on the course. This process has also been informed by feedback from past and current students who have identified how advice relating to achieving learning outcomes and utilising appropriate study techniques has been invaluable in supporting them towards achieving independent study and the results associated with this.

The systems therein to support individual learning needs include: 

  • Booking a 20 minute one to one intensive session re Literacy and/or Number
  • Specific dyslexia support
  • Facilities for students with visual/aural impairment
  • Functional skills workshops (including evening sessions)
  • Evening Tutorials to provide flexible support and guidance.

 Systems established within the programme area to support individual learning needs include:

  • Extra support and guidance for students with dyslexia
  • Additional support for any student finding difficulty in coping with assessments.

All methods of assessment will follow current University of Chester Assessment Regulations and Code of Assessment Practice as specified in University of Chester Modular Framework (UMF), including the arrangement of Module and Programme Assessment Boards.   

All students are introduced to the methods of assessment and assessment deadlines during the induction programme. 

All work to be assessed must be submitted to the administrative staff and this should happen before the deadline indicated upon the assignment brief.  It is the responsibility of the individual student to ensure they obtain a signed and dated receipt for this submission.  This then acts as their proof should a dispute arise over meeting a deadline. 

All student work submitted for assessment will be either double marked or second line assessed and internally verified in line with the College’s policy.

Any academic impropriety will be dealt with in accordance with the University of Chester UMF.  All students will have read and signed a policy on Academic Impropriety at Induction and this record will be held in their tutorial records. 

The programme is modular in design, with each module having a credit value based upon taught hours and expected hours of independent private study, practical and research work necessary to complete the module.

The basic functions for assessment are as follows: 

• Achievement against learning outcomes

• Written & verbal feedback to students on progress

• Measure achievement against specified assessment criteria

• Identify student strengths and areas for improvement

• Ensure national academic standards are met in comparison to other awards

Students work is assessed in order to ensure the programmes standards are met.  All modules contain assessed work that is normally in the form of an ‘Assignment Brief’.  All assignment briefs will contain both evidence requirements for submission and a series of weighted assessment criteria that tells the student what they are being marked against.  The assessment criteria will reflect the learning outcomes of the module and it is with these outcomes in mind that the external examiner can make a judgement on an individual student’s performance. 

All assessed students work also needs to meet a national standard consistent with the award being offered.  It is for this reason the programme requires an external examiner that remains impartial to the internal assessment process.  The External Examiner ensures that all students have been dealt with in a fair and consistent manner and that the academic standards of the award are maintained.  

All academic members of the programme team can be considered examiners for the college.  No college examiner can be eligible to be considered an External Examiner.  All grades allocated to student work during assessment are ‘Interim’ until they have been officially ratified by the External Examiner through the Assessment Boards.  

Assessment is a matter of judgement and not simply a matter of computation.  The marks, grades and percentages are symbols used by examiners in order to communicate their judgement of different aspects of students work.  Students must be made aware of the MAB and PAB discretion and final judgement on individual marks or grades.  

Methods of Assessment 

Two methods of assessment are employed throughout the three levels of the programme.  They are as follows: 

Formative Assessment – This is conducted through group and individual critiques, allowing the programme team to offer on-going feedback to students according to standards commensurate with the requirements of the programme.  There will be a formal process of formative assessment prior to the end of the 1st semester and students will be provided with both written and verbal feedback in relation to their performance at this stage of their studies. 

Summative Assessment – This is conducted through formal assessment records containing individual grades for specific individually weighted assessment criteria and written feedback. This form of assessment happens after work has been submitted to deadline and provides the students with a clear indication of their strengths and weaknesses, detailing how they might improve their performance. 

Formative assessments are varied and may include:

  • Problem-solving exercises
  • Case studies
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Discussions and debates 
  • Presentations
  • Literature reviews

Summative assessments are varied and include:

  • Essays
  • Exams
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Case studies
  • Research proposal
  • Dissertation
  • Case files
  • Problem-solving exercises

Students who graduate with this BA (Hons) Criminal Justice (top-up) degree will have developed comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system and the work associated with it, such as public service departments, including the police, prison service, youth service, probation service and the courts.  The role of politics, law and social policy will have also played an influential element of the student’s learning experience.  Analytical abilities and critical thinking skills will have been developed throughout the programme and will complement wider transferable skills of research, IT, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication.

Graduates will find the programme a useful grounding for entry to a range of criminal justice and related careers.  The police, prisons, youth offending service, national offender management service, and teaching are career paths taken by previous graduates, but the knowledge, abilities and skills developed throughout the programme of study will prove valuable in a wide range of central and local government areas.  Some graduates use the criminal justice degree as an opportunity to undertake formal legal training, or choose post-graduate study in related areas.

St Helens College respects diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. St Helens College strives to ensure that no student receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of social background, age, disability, gender, sexuality, marital status, race, religion, colour, nationality, or ethnic or national origin.  

St Helens College will take positive steps to eliminate discrimination, reduce the effects of past discrimination, continue the drive to increase levels of under-represented groups and promote equality in students’ admissions and your experience in College. No student should be disadvantaged by unjustifiable conditions or requirements. 

It is the responsibility of all students to implement and support this policy. All students of St Helens College are expected to treat each other with respect, as well as staff and visitors. Action will be taken in the case of unlawful and/or unacceptable behaviour by students. 

The monitoring of progress against the policy is the responsibility of the Equality & Diversity Committee.

The programme has links with numerous criminal justice agencies across the North West, for example, Merseyside Police, Victim Support, Community Safety Teams, Youth Offending Teams, Probation Services and Prisons.  In addition to the contribution to full-time members of staff, part of the programme delivery will be supported by visiting speakers and professional practitioners from a range of criminal justice and social agencies.


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