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Policing Studies_01 CCJ_02


Community Justice Pathway and Qualification for Probation Officers and those working with offenders.


Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service is currently reviewing the training pathway to becoming a probation officer and will soon announce the new structure of training. DMU, one of the three universities that are contracted to provide the Level 6 PQiP will continue to provide this qualification. We have temporarily decided not to start new candidates on the Level 4 and 5 qualifications before the structure of the new qualification is announced. Once the announcement is made, we will inform potential candidates about any significant changes to the pathway. In the meantime, the Community Justice Team continue to welcome enquiries about our programmes and are happy to discuss developing a career in the probation service with potential students/candidates.

DMU offers several pathways to qualifying as a Probation Officer through a flexible approach and multiple entry points depending on your level of qualification and experience. The Community Justice programme consists of assessed knowledge and awards at three levels:

  • Level 4 Access Pathway
  • Level 5 Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) in Community Justice
  • Level 6 Professional Qualification in Probation

Please check the Entry Requirements for each level to identify where you think you should start your community justice pathway. For all pathways, please complete the application form and submit it to

Your application will be assessed based on the information you provide on the application form, including your evidence of prior learning; offers of a place on the community justice pathways may be conditional on you completing elements of lower levels in the scheme. Level 6 is only available to individuals who have secured a sponsored place with either HMPPS or a Community Rehabilitation Company.

The Community Justice Team possess a wealth of knowledge and experience of community justice and probation practice. Drawing on professional experiences as Probation Officers and managers of probation services, the delivery team provide invaluable insights into practice that facilitate learners making connections between the theories they are learning and their application in a practical setting.

Our programme draws on the practice and teaching expertise of our academic staff to deliver exciting and popular community justice learning pathways. The division prides itself on meeting the needs of employment partners, for example by awarding credit for assessed practice, by offering flexible timetables and by including both student and employer representatives in all decision making about our curriculum. We are one of only three universities contracted to deliver probation training throughout England and Wales, having been awarded the contract to deliver the Professional Qualification in Probation for the Midlands region.

Her Majesty Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has consistently rated our training of probation officers as outstanding. In the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017, De Montfort University was praised for the wide range of student support available, our facilities and resources and the culture that encourages, recognises and rewards excellent teaching. We were commended for the way employability is embedded in the curriculum in every faculty, the significant contribution DMU Square Mile makes to the social and economic development of Leicester and the way that real-world research feeds into students’ learning.


Funding may be available for candidates employed in the community justice sector, either through Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service or a Community Rehabilitation Company. If you intend to fund your studies through sponsorship from your employer, please ensure that you have confirmed this arrangement prior to enrolling on your programme. You will be asked to provide evidence to confirm your sponsorship at the point of enrolment, If you are unable to do so, you will be asked to pay any fees related to your programme.

You may also be interested in:

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

  • UK
  • EU/International

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: You may incur additional costs for this programme, including the cost of travelling to and from project/placement locations.


This course is 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 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 with a degree or DipHE 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 HMPPS or a CRC working with offenders. For further details about Trainee recruitment see

Candidates may 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 Roz Morrison 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.



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Substantial investment has developed our teaching and learning facilities to help you expand your practical experience and theoretical knowledge beyond the classroom.

The 19th century Hawthorn Building has facilities designed to replicate current practice in health and life sciences, including contemporary analytical chemistry and formulation laboratories, audiology booths and nursing and midwifery clinical skills suites.

Purpose-built clinical skills areas allow you to practice in a safe environment. You will receive guidance and support from staff to ensure that you develop a precise and accurate practical ability in the clinical skills suites.


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

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NUE Awards, 2021
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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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