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Community Justice Pathway and Qualification for Probation Officers and those Working with Offenders.


We are pleased to offer a range of pathways which enable you to achieve the Professional Qualification in Probation (PQiP) and to apply for posts as a Probation Officer.

Options include:

  • Community Justice
  • The Four Required Level 5 Modules for entry into the BA/GD
  • The Level 4 Assessment giving Advance Standing to the level 5 DipHE as well as the Gateway Assessment Service (GAS)

Why DMU?

DMU has a long history of providing training in probation. Our academic staff have extensive experience in research and scholarship relevant to probation. Programme staff include: Professor Rob Canton who is the co-editor of the Dictionary of Probation and Offender Management. His publication Probation: Working with Offenders (2012) is used widely on probation training. He has worked as an expert with the Council for Penological Cooperation in the writing of the European Probation Rules. Professor Canton has been influential in shaping probation work and training both in the UK and in Europe.

Professor Hazel Kemshall is a nationally and internationally renowned expert on risk management in probation and developed the risk materials used by probation staff throughout England and Wales. Professor Kemshall has published extensively on risk and the risk materials she developed are used throughout Her Majesty Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).

Reasons to study the Probation professional programme at DMU:

  • Her Majesty Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has consistently rated our training of probation officers as outstanding
  • We offer courses which lead to a professional qualification which enables graduates to apply to work as a probation officer
  • We have a history of delivering probation training in partnership with the probation services in the Midlands and the East of England
  • We are one of only three universities contracted to deliver probation training throughout England and Wales
  • Rated in the top 10 most popular universities in the UK by UCAS, find out more #ichoseDMU

We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) to provide the full range of training options.

CRCs are encouraged to email if they wish to discuss any aspect of the pathways in more detail.

You may also be interested in:

Criminology BA (Hons)
Criminal Investigation with Policing Studies BA (Hons)
Criminology with Psychology BA (Hons)

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Institution code: D26

Level 5 Award

L5 Module Prices
15 credit module - £445
30 credit module - £484

For payments please visit the online store

Location: Distance Learning

For more information please contact

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme, including the cost of travelling to and from placement locations.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.




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Not available to international students

Entry criteria

Entry Criteria

Learners can enter the training at one of 4 levels depending on previous qualifications and experience.

  • Level 4 entry
    Learners without any formal qualifications will usually enter the qualification at level 4. Learners will need to have experience of working with challenging people.
  • Level 5 entry
    Learners with a degree which is not related to Community Justice are eligible to enter the programme at level 5. Learners entering at this point will be required to take 4 modules covering the required content. There will be an additional 15 credit module available for students progressing from level 4 leading to the award of DipHE in Community Justice.
  • Those with a relevant degree that does not cover the required 4 modules can study the content they require on a module by module basis.
  • Level 6
    Learners who have a relevant degree containing all 4 required modules are eligible to study the level 6 qualification. Learners wishing to join at this level should note that they are required to be in post as a trainee with NOMS or a CRC working with offenders.

All candidates will need to complete the Gateway Assessment Service form in order to determine the level at which they join the programme.

Structure and assessment


Teaching and assessment

Gateway Assessment Service



These programmes are offered in distance learning mode. Extensive use is made of e-learning technology to allow students to communicate with DMU staff and with other students. Learners will be supported throughout their time at DMU by both the Programme Leader James Tangen who can be contacted at and by Module Leaders. Learners studying at level 5 and 6 will have a personal tutor throughout their study period. A variety of assessment methods are used. These include:

  • Essays
  • Case studies
  • Reflective diaries
  • On-line discussion

More information can be obtained at

We have been informed by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service that Unique Reference Numbers generated by a Gateway Assessment Service (GAS) assessment are no longer required to apply to become a Probation Officer. If you need any further information please look at the HMPPS website If you would like to self-fund for one or more of the four Required Knowledge modules, ahead of the HMPPS recruitment drive, you are still able to study these with us. Please complete a GAS form and send it to us at with evidence of your prior learning so that we can confirm which modules are required.

The four level 5 Required Knowledge modules are:

  • The Criminal Justice System
  • Penal Policy and Punishment of Offenders
  • Crime and Criminal Behaviour
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders

These modules are needed before candidates can study for the level 6 BA/GD programme in Community Justice which leads to the professional qualification giving eligibility to apply to work as a probation officer.

To study for these modules students will need to demonstrate that they are able to study at this level by way of possessing a BA or higher degree.

For those not possessing any relevant formal qualifications we have created a Level 4 Assessment giving Advance Standing to the level 5 DipHE. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have experience of working with challenging behaviour. Candidates might for example hold the VQ3 in Probation Practice but candidates who have experience to draw upon to complete the assessment will be considered on an individual basis.

If you do not possess a BA but do for example hold a Level 4 qualification such as a Certificate in Community Justice then you will need to complete a Diploma in Higher Education which will consist of the 4 required Level 5 Knowledge modules plus a 5th module Introduction to Adult Learning, Reflection and Diversity. Possession of this Level 5 award will enable you to progress to the BA.

The Gateway Assessment Service (GAS) then will help you assess where in the ladder you will need to join:

  • Level 4 Assessment giving Advance Standing
  • Four Level 5, Required Knowledge Modules
  • Diploma in Higher Education Community Justice
  • BA/GD in Criminal Justice

The Programmes

The programmes includes:

  • Learning about the criminal justice system
  • Criminology, risk assessment and risk management
  • Probation law
  • Values
  • Ethics and professional practice
  • Offender management and interventions

The module leaders are DMU staff who have experience of probation training, have worked in practice in the sector and are active in criminal justice research.

The programme combines academic study with the assessment of practice. In addition to academic assessment, students on the BA/GD complete a vocational qualification in Probation Practice which is planned and assessed in the workplace.



Facilities and features

Health and Life Sciences 


Investment of £12 million in Health and Life Sciences has developed our first-class teaching and learning facilities to help you develop your practical experience and theoretical knowledge beyond the classroom.


We have 1,500 study places and 650 computer workstations across four sites on campus.

During term time the main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving access to more than half a million publications and a wide range of DVDs, as well as e-resources and thousands of electronic journals. Award-winning staff are on hand to help and there is a café for study breaks.

We offer a range of workshops, drop-ins and one-to-one sessions, plus our Just Ask service provides email or telephone support.


Opportunities and careers


Graduate careers

Students who complete the Honours Degree or Graduate Diploma are eligible to apply for posts as a probation officer.

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