spotlight on… criminology

We take a closer look at the Criminology Applied Diploma Level 3 course which is offered and available for you to study at Cowley Sixth Form.

You may not have studied Criminology before, so we asked two of our students, Alfie and Andraia, to give us a bit of insight into the course, what’s involved and what it’s like studying it here at Cowley.


When did you first consider studying Criminology at sixth form?

AL: When I was in year 10, we did a taster day at sixth form and I remember coming down to B14 with Miss Smart and I thoroughly enjoyed the mini lesson.

AN: I had always been interested in crime and how cases are handled and when I came for the Open Evening here at Cowley, I was introduced to Criminology and how there are so many interesting aspects to the course and how it covers so many things. 

What was it that captured your interest in the subject?

AL: My love for crime dramas played a huge part in my decision to study Criminology as I became interested with how a criminal investigation is structured and I was fascinated with different types of crime.

AN: The first thing that captured my interest about the course was the third topic that we do, which is crime scene to courtroom. This entails all about the process that police officers go through in order to take cases to court and I find it the most interesting.

What has surprised you most about the subject?

AL: There is a lot of theories and studies that we go over in class which reveal a lot about the mind of criminals and what makes a criminal. I have also learned about a lot of criminal cases that I didn’t know existed.

AN: This subject surprised me because it is not all exam based and you have two exams and two controlled assessments where you can use your notes to help you.

Doing additional research outside of lesson content is very useful in Criminology, what have you used to do this?

AL: Crime documentaries on True Crime is a way of doing additional research whilst also enjoying the time I spend outside of the lesson doing ‘revision’ – I enjoyed doing this prior to picking the subject but knowing I can still do this and having it be useful to my studies is brilliant. Reading/watching the news is also a big thing for researching outside of college and it’s quite interesting to read about things that are happening whilst also revising at the same time.

AN: Outside of lesson, I watch crime documentaries and read the news every day to make sure I am knowledgeable of different types of crime happening around the UK and the world so I can link this in to my answers.

If you are struggling with a question/topic what support is available?

AL: Textbooks are available to use for gaps in knowledge, as well as a world of knowledge on the common drive to look at, including extra questions and activities to consolidate knowledge. Teachers are always only an email away and Miss Smart always says her door is open if I ever need help. There is a lot of support in place, including extra sessions which help with controlled assessment knowledge.

AN: If I am struggling with anything at all, I can always email my teachers or go to speak to them during lunchtimes or before and after college, help is always available.

What do you enjoy most about the lessons?

AL: I enjoy that lessons involve discussions and we often get to talk through things that we do in class as well as doing independent work. The lessons are always quite fun and engaging as there is always something to learn and take away from the lesson.

AN: I enjoy learning new things and relating them to my other subjects. For example, I also study Law, so some topics in Law and Criminology are very similar and so I can relate them to each other and I can use information learned in both subjects when applicable.

What have you found the most challenging? 

AL: I have found that constructing an answer to an exam question is quite difficult in terms of structure because the format feels quite new from GCSEs to A-levels. However, we went through our mocks in class and that helps a lot.

AN: I found the controlled assessment most challenging as even though you have your notes with you, you have to remember all the aspects of the questions and what needs to go into each question.

What advice would you give someone thinking of taking the subject at Cowley Sixth Form College?

AL: You have to be dedicated and willing to put time and thought into the subject, it is a detailed subject but if you’re interested in criminal behaviour and crimes then it is totally worth studying as a subject.

AN: I would say that make sure you are going to put the extra effort in. You need to be able to research cases outside of college in order to make your answers top grade answers. And also, you need to be able to have a good attention to detail as in your controlled assessment you need to be able to pick apart a case study about crimes.

If you had to pick your subjects again, would you still pick Criminology? If yes, why? If no, why not?

AL: I think I would pick it again as it is an interesting subject and I thoroughly enjoy learning about it.

AN: I would definitely pick Criminology again as I find it the most interesting. I love all the different topics and because I find it interesting I also find it easy to answer exam questions.


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