HNC in Public Services: Crime and Criminal Justice

Course Overview

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Public Services: Crime and Criminal Justice is designed for individuals aiming to pursue a career in the public services sector, particularly within criminal justice. This programme provides a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system, criminal law, and various public service roles, preparing students for professional roles or further study.



The purpose of BTEC Higher Nationals in Public Services is to develop your professional, self-reflecting skills, knowledge and behaviours to be able to meet the demands of employers in the public services sector and adapt to a constantly changing world. The qualifications aim to widen access to higher education and enhance the career prospects of those who undertake them.

The course is delivered full time over one year with progression to the HND year two (top-up) course to achieve the full HND qualification.

At Level 4 (HNC) you will study a total of eight units and develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of public services through four core units, which will include one unit assessed by a Pearson-set assignment.

Core units: 

  • Unit 1: Organisational Structures and Culture
  • Unit 2: Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Unit 3: Equality, Diversity and Fair Treatment
  • Unit 4: Public Services in Contemporary Society

Pathway units:

  • Unit 7: Law and Legal Systems
  • Unit 8: Crime Reduction and Community Safety.

Optional units:

These can include two of the following, although this list is not extensive.

  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Terrorism and Counter-terrorism.
  • Crime and Substance Misuse
  • Community Engagement
  • Third Sector and Public Services
  • Psychology of Behaviour
  • Small-scale Research Project in Public Services.

To study the course, you will need an appropriate Level 3 qualification, or equivalent, e.g. Access to HE, BTEC National Diploma, BTEC National Certificate or A Levels. Applicants without formal qualifications/with appropriate work experience or other qualifications can apply. An interview with the course tutor is also required.

Assessments is via assignments and project work.

You can progress to the HND in Public Services: Crime and Criminal Justice with a view to accessing a top-up degree. Likely top-up degrees are in Criminology, Public Services, Sociology and Criminology, and Public Services and the Community.

You can access a variety of careers in the legal sector following your studies on this programme.

This programme is funded through Student Finance England, sponsorship from an employer or self-funded.

For more information on financial support, click here.

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