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


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 and wait to hear from us to confirm your pathway before making a payment to our online store.

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 HMPPS.

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.


Funding may be available for candidates employed in the community justice sector, through Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service or another employer. 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 4 Award

L5 Required Knowledge module price
20 credit module - £484

DipHE in Community Justice price £3,000

For payments please visit the online store

Location: Distance Learning

For more information please contact

Additional costs: You may incur additional costs for this for this programme, for textbooks etc.

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.
  • Level 6 entry
    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 working with offenders. For further details about Trainee recruitment see

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.

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



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.

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 the Community Justice Learning Application form and send it to us at with evidence of your prior learning so that we can confirm which modules are required.

The Programmes

The programmes include:

  • 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.

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.

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 the Programme Team who can be contacted at 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



Facilities and features

Health and Life Sciences facilities

Substantial investment in Health and Life Sciences has developed our teaching and learning facilities to help you develop 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 apply theory to practice in a safe environment. You will receive guidance and support from staff, to ensure that your practical ability in the clinical skills suites is accurate.

Library and learning zones

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including the Virtual Learning Environment, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.



Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Careers Team

Graduate careers

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

Take your next steps