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The award
BA (Hons)

How long you will study
16 months

Domestic course fees
GBP 6160 per total

How you will study
distance, online

Course starts

International course fees
GBP 6160 per total

All study options
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About Criminal Justice (Top-up) at University of Essex Online

If you have previously completed a criminal justice related foundation level degree (or equivalent), this course provides a route on to a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice.

Our Criminal Justice (Top-up) degree is designed to equip you with a broad-based and thorough understanding of the rapidly changing environment and operations of the current criminal justice system.

By completing this route you will be able to top-up your existing qualification to a degree-level qualification. It is ideal if you are looking to progress your career and can also provide a stepping stone to future postgraduate studies.

Course structure

The Bachelors degree in criminal justice (Top-up) is made up of the following modules and, upon completion, is equal to a total of 120 credits.

Level 6 modules:

  • Victimology and Criminal Victimisation (15 credits)*
  • Criminal Justice in the Information Age: Cyber Crime and Security (15 credits)*
  • Criminal Behaviour and Deviance (15 credits)*
  • The Economics of Crime (15 credits)*
  • Research Methods (15 credits)*
  • Policing (15 credits)*
  • Criminal Justice Research Project (30 credits)*

These modules are core and must be passed in order to achieve the award.

Learning and assessment


Studying online gives you the freedom to study when and where it suits you - at home, during your lunch hour or anywhere else you have internet access.

All of our online courses have an indicative study duration which is a guide to how long your course will take to complete. The actual duration may be longer or shorter depending on your speed of study, study options chosen and module availability. It's possible to complete your studies faster than the indicative course duration by doubling up on modules at certain times; however, minimum study durations do apply.

All of our courses have regular start dates throughout the year. Our academic year is organised into modules, typically with a one- or two-week break between modules and a structured three-week break for the Christmas period. Students will receive a course timetable during the application process.

Teaching methods and style

As we are a 100% online university, we utilise a virtual learning environment instead of a traditional campus. The system tracks and manages the learning process in real-time and provides you with immediate access to your learning materials.

This learning platform allows both students and tutors to actively take part in real-time conversations and you can listen to, and view, live lectures and seminars over the internet. All courses are delivered in English only.

You are supported throughout your course by a dedicated Student Adviser and have the opportunity to regularly interact with fellow students and your tutor. To ensure you receive the support you need from your tutor, we cap our class sizes at 20 students.


We adopt an assignment-based approach to assessment instead of exams. Criminal justice assignments are based on real-life work experience and assessed by tutors on an ongoing basis.

You are always aware of your current provisional grade right from the start of the programme, allowing you to evaluate the success of your current study methods and clearly identify areas to improve.

We believe that this transparency gives you the information you need to make the most of your course. We achieve this by:

  • showing your marks clearly in your gradebook, which can be viewed whenever you log onto the learning platform
  • the rapid turnaround of work assessed to ensure that your gradebook is always up to date
  • assessing your work throughout the module rather than waiting for end of year exams
  • ensuring you have regular contact with your Student Adviser
  • the simplicity and transparency in the design of our assessment criteria

We also have a policy of ensuring that work submitted by students is authentic. As well as the fact that all work is frequently assessed, we use a well-established electronic monitoring system to check for plagiarism.

On successful completion of your Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice, you will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus.

Career prospects

We are dedicated to improving employability amongst our graduates. Our online courses give you the opportunity to improve your career prospects and earning potential with a mix of key skills that are directly transferable to the workplace.

Careers linked to criminal justice are very varied. Our courses provide an excellent training for work within the criminal justice system, for example, as community safety officers, risk assessors, court managers, researchers, paralegals, police officers, probation officers and youth workers.

Students have also moved into civil service, journalism or professional positions within the voluntary sector such as fund-raisers and project managers.

Study options for this course

Notes about fees for this course

Tuition fee: £6,160 (learn more)

Entry requirements

In order to start the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice (Top-up) course, you must have completed one of the following:

If English is not your first language, your English ability should be equivalent to IELTS (Academic) 6.0. If you do not hold an IELTS or equivalent qualification, we require students to pass a free online English test.

You don't need to prove your knowledge of English if you're a national of, or if you have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in, any of these countries.

All applicants must pass their first assignment set during the two week induction period in order to continue with their studies.

21-day money back guarantee

You may be eligible for a government-backed tuition fee loan to cover the full cost of your BA (Hons) Criminal Justice (Top-up) course. If you do not progress after the first 21 days, your loan will not be activated and you won't be charged. If you have paid for the course yourself you will receive a full refund.

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