Two police officers in busy street

Professional Policing BSc (Hons)

Get set for police officer training and qualify as a police officer on this degree. Take advantage of our close ties to local constabularies and graduate ready to apply for work in the police service. 

University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:



This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

112-120 UCAS points from 3 A levels, or equivalent

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
Start date

Showing content for section Overview


Following the National Police Curriculum as set out by the College of Policing, this BSc (Hons) Professional Policing degree prepares you for the emotional, physical and mental demands of a rewarding career in policing and related fields.

Use simulated facilities that replicate situations you’ll face in your job, gain insights from teaching staff with law enforcement experience, and get experience with local police forces.

You'll also gain legislative, policy and procedural knowledge and develop the critical thinking, communication, decision making and conflict management skills you need. 

You'll graduate with the core knowledge required of a probationary police constable, which provides you with an entry route into policing in England and Wales, the foundations to pursue other careers in law enforcement and criminal justice, or to continue your studies at postgraduate level.

Course highlights

  • Explore crime scenes and situations using virtual reality environments, allowing you to test your police officer training in a simulated environment
  • Build your professional network through our close ties with Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire constabularies
  • Get experience of the interdisciplinary work practices you’ll encounter in your career as you study alongside criminology students
  • Enhance your CV and apply your skills through volunteering opportunities with local police forces
  • Choose to do a work placement year with a UK police force after your second or third year on this Connected Degree - we're the only UK university to offer flexible sandwich placements for undergraduates
  • Or, have the opportunity to see other countries’ approaches to policing by spending a placement year at a policing-focused university overseas
  • Receive a £2,000 bursary on graduation when you apply successfully to join the Thames Valley force, thanks to our partnership with Thames Valley Police

Licensed by:

This course is a national pre-join degree programme licenced by the College of Policing.

Why study Professional Policing?

Meet your lecturers and discover how the BSc (Hons) Professional Policing course here at the University of Portsmouth will set you up for success.

Dr Richard John: The professional policing degree is now one of the prerequisite entry points for a career in policing.

Dr John Fox: A person who wants to join the police can come to Portsmouth as a full-time student, and effectively what we're giving them is a police training course.

Kimberley: Pretty much from college, I knew I wanted to go into policing. To know that there's a policing degree there that's specified for the role I want to do, then I would absolutely have signed up to that. I think that's the best route to come in now.

Dr Richard John: Students that enrol in this course will do some core subjects, such as research methods and such as criminal justice. They'll also have their own bespoke courses, such as 'an introduction to policing', and 'evidence-based policing'. We then move into managing complex investigations. Some of those really challenging issues that previously policing has struggled with and provides an opportunity to improve the delivery of policing for our communities.

Dr Richard John: We've got facilities here such as our interviewing suite and our forensic laboratories. We have Hydra facilities here to immerse them into the learning, almost like a flight simulator where they're given scenarios to solve under the time pressures and constraints that reflect reality. The course is accredited by the College of Policing.


When students come out of the end of this course, they will be fully qualified to apply to join a police force.

Kimberley: Students should consider a career in the police force because of the variety - that was a big draw for me.

Dr John Fox: You could join, with this degree, as a police staff member, as a detective. You open your career opportunities to far more varied routes than most public sector professions offer, for example, fraud, child protection or promotion. The sky really is your limit. The academic staff at Portsmouth, particularly on professional policing degree, have got experience in the field of industry.

Dr John Fox: Universities have now got this very interesting role that we can now influence the whole shape of the police service in England and Wales, and I think that's quite exciting to be part of.

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements​

BSc (Hons) Professional Policing entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBB-BBC
  • UCAS points - 112-120 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 29

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Facilities and specialist equipment

Three students sat laughing and smiling holding notebooks and pens

Hydra Immersive Learning Suite

Engage in simulated scenarios that replicate operational policing challenges, developing your problem solving, decision making and critical thinking skills.

Close up of gloved hands examining crime evidence with torch

Crime scene simulation spaces

Put your forensic skills into practice with simulated crime scenes.

Learn more

Computer screen and audio equipment monitoring an interview

Collaboration of Forensic Interviewing

This is where researchers explore and develop new techniques. Professionals train in interviewing and investigation. And you’ll develop specialist skills.

Learn more

Careers and opportunities

A career in policing is an exciting, rewarding way to serve your local community and make a positive impact on society.

Working as a police constable

This policing degree is an approved entry route into the police services in England and Wales, so you'll be eligible to apply for police constable roles for up to five years after you graduate (you won’t need to do a graduate conversion programme). This allows you to work in neighbourhood and response policing.

With experience, you can rise in the ranks to roles such as:

  • sergeant
  • inspector
  • superintendent
  • chief constable

Thanks to our partnership with Thames Valley Police, students who apply successfully to join the Thames Valley force will receive a £2,000 bursary on graduation.

Working in other police force units

After a two-year probationary period as a police constable, you can apply to work in specialist areas such as:

  • criminal investigation department (CID)
  • firearms
  • traffic
  • intelligence
  • child protection
  • fraud squad
  • drug squad

This course also gives you the knowledge and skills for roles in security organisations such as the National Crime Agency.


Do you need a degree to be a police officer?

There are three types of police officer training that enable you to become a police officer, but which one is right for you?

Find out in our blog post.

Read now

What kind of careers can a criminology degree lead to?

Studying a degree in criminology will open you up to a wide variety of career opportunities. From policing and cyber security, to NGOs and charities, discover some of the roles you could take on, and learn how we'll support you to achieve your goals.

Simona Ciobotaru: Studying a degree here at the University of Portsmouth in our School of Criminology and Criminal Justice will open you up to a wide variety of career options.

Alexandra Hemingway: It's not always really obvious exactly what kind of job you might want to do. A lot of students do need some help or inspiration, and a lot of that comes from directly inside their course.

If they're studying forensics, they've got really good simulations where they're doing practical examples of working with a scene of crime and stuff where they're going outdoors and really taking the science outside.

Laura Haggar: We have some students who might go into the prison service. We might have students who are interested in economic crime.

Simona Ciobotaru: A lot of students can go either into cyber security, NGOs and charities. They can work for the police.

Dr Richard John: One of the great attractive measures of policing today is actually you could join with this degree as a detective or an investigator.

Becky Milne: We have a big partnership with Hampshire Police, but also police right across the country and across the globe.

Dr Craig Collie: We tend to recommend that students do a placement or some work experience so they can put some of those skills to use.

Alexandra Hemingway: For example, working with Hampshire Constabulary as well as with charities or victim support. Another option is study abroad. You could go and do potentially a semester or a year in another university and you could also pick a work placement abroad. And there have also been opportunities to work right here in the university.

Michela Scalpello: Students can move into other areas in terms of analysis, data or government.

Dr Richard John: The sky really is your limit. The university of Portsmouth gives you the skills, it gives you the confidence and it gives you that academic ability to negotiate complex and difficult issues.

Dr Craig Collie: Learning how people think and behave and understanding how you yourself react to those things work into how those jobs would work. We've just got a wonderful team who are very experienced. Our team is one of the biggest criminology provisions in the country. You can nurture that interest here with us at Portsmouth.

Placement year (optional)

Working in a police force

After your second or third year, you can do a work placement year with a UK police force to get valuable longer-term work experience in policing and law enforcement.

We'll help you secure a work or study placement or that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

You could also choose to set up your own business.

Studying abroad

You'll also have the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad, in locations such as Canada and South Korea.

Volunteering opportunities

Through our ties to Hampshire Constabulary, you'll have the opportunity to take on a position such as a Special Constable or another police volunteer role. 

These positions include police training in areas such as officer safety, police first aid and the police IT and communication systems. 

As with all similar roles, successful application is still dependent on vetting and medical checks.

Ongoing careers support

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules

You'll analyse crime as a social problem, learning how to define crime within society and examining its impact.

You'll also think about social justice issues in relation to inequality and crime, and review the way society responds to criminal acts.

You'll look at the historical development of criminal justice, as well as the duties of the criminal justice agencies that exist today, and how they work together.

You'll also explore the ideas behind the different types of punishment used within the criminal justice system.

You'll hone key skills like academic writing, APA referencing, critical source analysis, research methods overview, basic data analysis and presentation.

This module will help you feel confident about self-directed study, giving you transferable abilities to analyse complex issues, back claims with evidence, and convey multifaceted criminology topics clearly to diverse audiences.

You’ll first trace the concept of evidence-based policing, before exploring its intersection with research methods, criminology and community policing approaches.

You’ll appraise case studies demonstrating how research informs resourcing decisions and tackles complex policing challenges, and learn how to embed and use ethical research within the workplace yourself.

You'll explore the role of policing within the wider criminal justice system and examine the individuals and agencies involved, considering societal shifts - from digital transformation to demands for local accountability.

You’ll evaluate policing powers including stop and search, arrest and detention, alongside frameworks governing professionalism and conduct.

By exploring trends from expanding remit complexity to budget constraints, you’ll debate the capabilities needed to realise responsive community policing.

Core modules

You’ll analyse the concepts of vulnerability and risk, and develop an applied understanding of community policing, problem solving, and breaking the cycle of offending across a range of crime types, including serious and organised crime.

You’ll also examine the expectations and requirements of police officers who work with partner agencies and vulnerable people, and the consequences of failing to adhere to these.

You’ll analyse risk factors and strategies for mental resilience specific to working in demanding criminal justice roles.

You’ll sensitively examine the warning signs, before evaluating tailored interventions around trauma support and reflective practice.

With insight into legal powers governing crisis response, alongside organisational initiatives promoting inclusive cultures, you’ll gain skills to advocate for your own mental health and that of the people you work with.

You’ll analyse the ideological shifts that now place victims at the heart of the system, and the requirements upon professionals and other related agencies to implement policies and work with victims of crime.

Evaluating emerging academic disciplines advocating for victims, you'll consider practical limits and potential around driving accountability through legislation versus culture change.

You’ll analyse the tools and frameworks in place for managing complex investigations across borders - from counterterrorism operations to transnational organised crime.

You’ll evaluate digital evidence gathering alongside emerging forensic techniques, considering ethical dimensions around intrusive tactics.

You’ll also look at the benefits and challenges of intelligence analysis and interagency coordination.

You'll examine the history, role and organisational structures of the police in the UK, including the wider policing 'family' and agencies that are involved in governance and oversight of the police.

You’ll tackle the changing nature of crime and the associated challenges for the police, alongside associated governance, trust and legitimacy issues.

You’ll work independently and in groups with your classmates on research projects, identifying and responding to inherent ethical issues involved in your projects and considering their societal impact.

Finally, you'll develop and produce the results of your research projects in a variety of forms.

Core modules

It's up to you what your dissertation or project is about – this will be your chance to showcase your passion for criminology and associated disciplines by choosing a subject area or topic that most interests you.

You'll draw on everything you’ve learned so far to investigate, analyse, craft and refine your dissertation or project, using existing texts, sources and artefacts to support your arguments and give them context.

You'll have the support of a dedicated dissertation tutor to guide you throughout this module.

You’ll examine major incident procedures and the application of forensic science, as well as the legal and ethical parameters that govern them.

This module provides versatile perspectives and best practice principles so you can understand how complex investigations can be managed balancing rigour, resources and the delivery of justice.

You’ll analyse the frameworks in place to ensure accountability and ethics in policing when it comes to use of force.

Alongside professional policing standards, you’ll examine occupational pressures and issues of diversity, ethics, welfare and wellbeing.

By evaluating policy tensions between achieving fair treatment versus effective crime control, you’ll gain knowledge preparing you to champion progressive policing centred on human rights values.

By role playing out a complex criminal case, you’ll learn how best to manage incidents, offenders, victims and witnesses during the real-time process of the police response to a criminal offence.

You’ll make decisions about how to evaluate evidence, work within legislation and with multiagency frameworks.

You’ll direct victim liaison and make judgements balancing rights, resources and crime control. Your decisions will consider the ethical dimensions around use of force, information sharing, surveillance and custody management.

You’ll look at community policing, and serious offences such as terrorism and organised crime.

You’ll then explore the counterterror operations and national models of intelligence and decision-making needed to investigate these threats.

Optional modules

You'll enhance your academic skills by examining crime, security and justice issues in a different part of the world, while having an experience you’ll never forget living abroad.

You’ll make friendships and gain memories that last long after graduation day.

You’ll grow as a person too - from confidence to communication skills - priming you for diverse professional settings.

We'll help you find and secure a work placement that inspires you in a destination you can explore and make home during your placement year.

You'll have the chance to try out skills and gain experience that'll help you clarify your next career steps, while building capabilities employers seek and applying what you've learned on your degree so far to a real-world working environment.

Return feeling confident and re-energised for your final year or first year of your career, ready to make an immediate impact in whatever you choose to do next.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

Claudia Cox

Policing is a fascinating subject to learn about, research and teach because everyone is impacted in some way by the decisions police officers make. Understanding how and why different people trust the police and have the confidence in them to do their job effectively is what interests me the most.

Claudia Cox, PEQF Programme Area Leader (Police Education Qualifications Framework)

How you're assessed

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 5% by exams and 95% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 5% by exams and 95% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Your coursework may include:

  • essays
  • reports
  • oral presentations
  • group projects and portfolios
  • seminar participation and engagement
  • thesis/major report

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.


Teaching methods on this policing degree include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • group discussions
  • practical workshops

The teaching on this course is informed by experience and the latest research. Staff members on this course have operational policing experience or experience of working elsewhere in the criminal justice system. Many have also conducted research into policing and criminal justice.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

Teaching staff profiles

User profile default icon

Dr Rich John

Subject Area Lead for Policing

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Read more

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 9 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU residents – £9,250 (including Transition Scholarship)
  • International students – £17,200 (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Senior Leader Police Course shoot

£2,000 on graduation when you join Thames Valley Police

Thanks to our partnership with Thames Valley Police, students who apply successfully to join the Thames Valley force will receive a £2,000 bursary on graduation.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.


If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to pay additional costs anywhere between £50–£1,000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence if you take a placement abroad.

The amount you'll pay will vary, depending on the location and length of your stay. It will also depend on additional funding the UK Government makes available after Brexit and if the UK remains part of the Erasmus+ student mobility programme or not.

During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, tuition fees for that year are:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – M392
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.