Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Probation officer training and education

The Institute is contracted by the Ministry of Justice to train Probation Officers in five of the ten regions in England and Wales. This training comprises a programme of part-time academic study integrated with work-based learning that leads to:

  • Either a BA (Hons) in Community Justice, completed over 27 months
  • Or, for recent graduates with a relevant degree, a Graduate Diploma in Community Justice, completed over 15 months

Both of these awards lead to qualification as a Probation Officer.

To apply for a place on one of these programmes, you must already be employed as a Probation Services Officer by a probation trust in one of the five regions where the Portsmouth is contracted to provide this training. These regions are:

London covering the whole of Greater London
North East covering the counties of Durham, Northumbria and Teesside
South East covering the counties of Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley
South West covering the counties of Avon and Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire
Wales covering the whole of the Principality

If you are already employed as a Probation Services Officer by a trust in one of these regions, your employer will be able to advise you on how and when to apply for a place on one of the above courses.

If you are considering a future career as a Probation Officer but are not currently employed in the Probation Service, you will have to apply for a Probation Services Officer post when one becomes available. Applicants who hold a recent and relevant degree are given preference by many trusts.

Relevant Degrees

In order to qualify for entry to the Graduate Diploma in Community Justice you must hold a relevant degree, defined as:

  • Either a single honours degree in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Community Justice or Police Studies;
  • Or a combined honours degree in which two disciplines each comprise 50% of the curriculum. One of the disciplines must be Criminology, Criminal Justice, Community Justice or Police Studies and the other must be either another social science discipline or psychology or law;
  • Or a masters degree in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Community Justice or Police Studies;
  • Or a composite masters degree in which two disciplines each comprise 50% of the curriculum. One of these disciplines must be Criminology, Criminal Justice, Community Justice or Police Studies and the other must be either another social science discipline or psychology or law.

Many probation trusts are now seeking to employ graduates with relevant degrees as Probation Services Officers. The following courses offered by the University of Portsmouth all meet the above relevance requirements.

Full-time 3 year undergraduate degree

  • BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Studies
  • BSc (Hons) Criminology with Psychology
  • LLB Law with Criminology
  • BSc (Hons) Sociology and Criminology

Part-time undergraduate degree by distance learning

  • BSc (Hons) Crime and Criminology

Full-time 2 year postgraduate degree

  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology

Part-time postgraduate degree by distance learning

  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology