Foundation degree in Criminal Justice

#1
I have recently been asked if I want to study for the above in September this year. The course is 2.5 years in length and costs £2.5k, is it worth doing or am i wasting my time and money.

From someone who hardly has a CSE to their name but wants to better themselves slightly and get a better job than the sh*te I am doing at the minute.

Cheers
 
#2
So who was it asked you? Do they think you are up to it or do they want your dosh and dont give a sh1t

Are yo ready to put in 20 hours a week of your own time reading books, writing essays to meet a deadline?

Why criminal justice?

So many questions!!!

Go see your ed officer before you commit.
 
#3
Don't know where a degree in Criminal Justice would lead, except maybe social work, the probation service, or whatever. If you're really committed to study why not check out the Open University?
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#4
Why not just go and do a MSc in something like Criminal Justice Studies. Full time - 1 yr, part time - 2 yrs. Dependant upon where you are and your current situation, you may even get a bursary and some non-means tested financial assistance. You've got the background to get onto a MSc programme, so forget all about previous academic qualifcations as they are not necessary. Previous related experience is the ticket in for you as a mature student.

Watch these Foundation degrees mate. They'll plug them like f*ck to get your arrse on a seat and you'll only end up disappointed and lacking any 'real' qualification at the end of it. Remember that if you intend to use it to go for a job, you may very well end up competing with other candidates who hold BA's, BSc's, MA's or MSc's. Don't sell yourself short.

Why have a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc?
 
#6
LONG POST WARNING

For what it's worth, my two cents, having conferred with a colleague who has gone through much the same route as part of his career (hasn't done him any harm)

We have known a number of people getting suckered into paying to get on to one of these so called "foundation courses", struggling to pay a small fortune for something that is worth less than the average A-level and taking years to accomplish. From what I have seen, what they teach could be done in an evening a week in what we used to call "night school", and employers are very well aware of that, so they don't rate them particularly highly

Criminal law is only one of the several areas of compulsory study in a regular 3 year law degree, along with contract law, family law, etc. We've both looked and can't find anyone reputable offering any degree in criminal justice as a stand alone CNAA degree subject, although I stand to be corrected. It could be a specialist degree for people already employed in law enforcement, for all I know. Or it could be one of these "vanity degrees" such as surfboard design, football history, political "sciences" or "media studies". To my mind, not much point in spending time and money studying something that isn't widely recognised by employers.

Perhaps best to cut your teeth with trying out an A-level course or two, that will impress unis and employers alike, and help you to build some confidence. If you get on well, then apply for a graduate course. Skip anything that claims to offer a masters, as it is prerequisite of reputable degrees that you have to do a lower (batchelor's) degree first. And both of us think you should be particularly wary of anyone offering an MSc, given that law is actually an LLB subject. Technically known as Legum Baccalaureus, it means a Batchelor of Laws, originally one of the liberal arts subjects and by no means described as a science subject. As far as we can tell there is no MSc in law, only the highly regarded Legum Magistra or LLM degree, and the entry criteria all call for an LLB degree as precondition of acceptance.

Employers will certainly respect any recognised legal qualification, you have no need to proceed to the LPC (legal Practice/Practitioner's Course - 12 months + long placement) unless you wish to pursue a career as a solicitor, in which case it takes years and I'm told the pay isn't particularly great for the better part of that time. My colleague tells me that many solicitors regret having done their LPCs and wish they had gone straight into corporate law.

Anyway, hopefully that helps. I'd ertainly recommend trying out a couple of A-levels first at night school, see how you get on, and if you end up being accepted for a degree as a mature student (over 25) then you will get greater financial assistance. And even if you don't, you still have the A=-levels to help you in the future.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#7
I've never heard of a MSc in law. Where did you get that from? No such qualification exists. Your post is quite confusing mate and a tad misleading. The bloke is asking about a Foundation Degree in Criminal Justice not an LLB. He hasn't mentioned anything to do with a law degree or employment as a solicitor.
 
#8
I am an ex-solicitor, and agree with pretty much all of pyrogenica's post. The legal profession has become tough to enter, and to take that route you need commitment, finance and a CV that will encourage someone to take you on as a trainee solicitor. That said, some sort of legal qualification is often welcome to an employer, even if you don't actually practise law professionally.

I wish you all the very best with whatever you decide on. As I said before, the Open University may be a good solid route into higher education for someone who wants a flexible and reliable course of study.
 
#9
Thanks, Aloysius, the colleague who helped me answer went the LLB and corporate law route, and as stated in the post, neither of us had ever heard of an MSc in Criminal Justice Studies. Or even a Batchelor's degree in the subject, for that matter. Doubtless some college somewhere may offer one, but if it isn't recognised by employers, one has to question its' value.

The Open University may not be the quickest route to qualification, but it has a great reputation with employers. Extremely good advice, and I wish the OP well in choosing the right path. Whether it is in law, to become a solicitor or whatever he decides to do.

Biscuits: I couldn't see any real virtue in sitting through/paying for a foundation degree course in a subject as specific as criminal justice unless it is in anticipation of sitting an actual degree, and all the more so given that there doesn't appear to be any CNAA recognised "science" degree in criminal justice as previously stated.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough, and I certainly didn't mean to mislead anyone, those were just my opinions. But at least one person understood what I was trying to say, and I'm puzzled that you now say

Biscuits_AB said:
I've never heard of a MSc in law
Neither have I, which is especially puzzling given that you previously stated:

Biscuits_AB said:
Why not just go and do a MSc in something like Criminal Justice Studies.
and

Biscuits_AB said:
Why have a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc?
:?
 
#10
Foundation degrees are offered by some uni's but are usually only one year; the aim of them is to help you get onto a degree. Also, £2.5k sounds like quite a lot for a foundation degree.

If it is something you are considering, an access course at college is a much better option. It is cheap or free (I didnt pay for mine), not too much teaching time so you can work alongside it and many of them have compulsory subjects of English, Maths and computing at a basic level to help you get into university.

Either way, the point of both courses is to get you into university and not much help for anything else. As has already been mentioned law is a pretty competitive game these days, I have lots of friends with LLB, LLM, BVC OR lpc and still struggling to get any form of legal job. However a law degree is pretty well respected if you do well in it. Before you decide, make sure it is what you want and are focused on what you want to do when you finish.

Have a good think about whether you want to go back into education and what you want from doing so. It could be that another degree might be better for you. If you do want to get a degree, a lot of uni's will elt you off with not having qualifications if you are a mature student with 'life experience', however without doing an access course or such liek you may struggle to get into good study styles and to keep up with the post a level conveyor belt kids.

Ont he subject of an MSC, in law it is generally a LLM and any university worth their salt require a good first degree in law or a subject related to the masters you want to do.

You can try findadegree.com to see what is on offer and it will be best to speak to an education adviasor before you take anything on as they may have some good tips.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#11
pyrogenica said:

Biscuits_AB said:
I've never heard of a MSc in law
Neither have I, which is especially puzzling given that you previously stated:

Biscuits_AB said:
Why not just go and do a MSc in something like Criminal Justice Studies.
and

Biscuits_AB said:
Why have a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc?
:?[/quote]

1. Not sure which University you studied at mate, but an MSc in Criminal Justice Studies isn't a law degree and I never at any point said that it was, so what is it precisely that you are puzzled about?

2. Why settle for a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc? Sorry, but what exactly are you having problems there with mate? I thought that anyone possessing any knowledge of degrees would have understood that statement.

The way you dismissed Masters degrees was absurd. Where does an MBA sit in your esteemed estimation? A Foundation degree in Criminal Justice isn't a Law degree either, so why did you feel the need to ramble on about law degrees in the first place?
 
#12
Mag_to_grid

A quick google search showed Foundation Degrees in Criminal Justice at Liverpool John Moores University, University of Northampton and De Montfort University...there are probably others. The one at Northampton (at very quick first glance) appears to have been developed with the police force.

Foundation degrees are usually 2 years long and were actually developed to replace HND's. They are confusing as they appear to give you a degree when in actual fact you will need to do more units to gain the correct number of points (usually including a dissertation). In their favour, they are slightly lower in academic level therefore being more accessible, but can still be worth doing to give you an introduction to a subject. It depends why you are being advised to do it and what you hope to do with the qualification and learning afterward.

Getting onto a degree programme may (as has ben stated) require you to study at A level equivalent for a while just to prove that you can actually do this. Best advice (as an ex-lecturer!)...talk to the course leaders direct - not just the admissions people.

Good luck
 
#13
Biscuits_AB said:
pyrogenica said:

Biscuits_AB said:
I've never heard of a MSc in law
Neither have I, which is especially puzzling given that you previously stated:

Biscuits_AB said:
Why not just go and do a MSc in something like Criminal Justice Studies.
and

Biscuits_AB said:
Why have a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc?
:?
Biscuits_AB said:
1. Not sure which University you studied at mate, but an MSc in Criminal Justice Studies isn't a law degree and I never at any point said that it was, so what is it precisely that you are puzzled about?

2. Why settle for a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc? Sorry, but what exactly are you having problems there with mate? I thought that anyone possessing any knowledge of degrees would have understood that statement.

The way you dismissed Masters degrees was absurd. Where does an MBA sit in your esteemed estimation? A Foundation degree in Criminal Justice isn't a Law degree either, so why did you feel the need to ramble on about law degrees in the first place?
Answers:

1.
a) Reading 2:1, mature student, BSc, Eng, mid 80s
b) Did you not say:
Biscuits_AB said:
Why not just go and do a MSc in something like Criminal Justice Studies.
That sort of suggests that you were stating that you could take an MSc in Criminal Justice Studies. That's how I (and others) interpreted your post.

2. We appear to speaking be at crossed purposes. When you said "Why settle for a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc?" I naturally thought you were suggesting an MSc in the same subject the poster was talking about, Criminal Justice. We both appear to be in agreement that no such course appears to exist.

3. I have never once "dismissed" master's degrees, far from it, in fact I referred to the LLM degree as "highly regarded". But it is a second degree, a post graduate qualification, meaning that the student usually has to first attain an acceptable "lower" degree in the same subject matter as a prequalification for acceptance.

Can't comment on the MBA, I would be interested to learn if it is fully CNAA accredited as a post graduate qualification or whether it is locally awarded. how it qualifies as a higher degree given that I am not aware of any prequalification requirement in a "lower" degree (e.g. batchelors in business administration).

The three people I know who have MBAs hadn't studied any related subject prior to admission to the course, and two of them were not graduates in any discipline, let alone business related subjects.

I freely admit to being completely bewildered by what seems to pass for a degree nowadays, what used to be regarded as more recreational than vocational subjects appear to be springing up in the guise of graduate subjects that I suspect have more to do with earning universities more revenue and appeasing goverment statistics than anything else.

/shrugs, dismisses inevitable incoming and packs for busines trip to sunnier climes
 
#14
The CNAA no longer exists as an accrediting organisation, some of its function has been taken on by the OU. Any UK university can accredit any degree in any subject (providing they are authorised to do so by the privy council), consequently all validation is 'local'. A Foundation Degree is a two year degree leading to a vocational qualification which gives the eqivalent CATS points to two years of study at university, most will lead to a one year top-up route to give an honours degree. Entry requirements are a matter for individual admissions tutors, whether they be for Bachelors or Masters Degrees. Many tutors will accept vocational experience in place of academic qualificaitons for their courses. With regard to Law, there is a one year conversion course for graduates in any discipline and there are indeed Master's degrees for those with undergraduate qualifications in law. Most people reading law do not end up working in law, degrees in any discipline are not gernerally about qualifications to do jobs!
 
#15
Excellent response, thank you for clarifying the mystery for me.

Bit of a curate's egg then, essentially if a foundation degree is as you suggest equivalent/accepted as a pass degree, and in many respects it appears to be equivalent to the old HND, then the status of an HND has been elevated. Not necessarily such a bad thing, and perhaps a streamlined path to academic progression (albeit not necessarily easier, another subject entirely)

The key issue seems to be discretionary entry, and whilst that seems desirable at a "lower" degree level, it could be questionable at the level of a higher degree (such as a masters).

Local accreditation seems an interesting concept, presumably this has resulted in the plethora of degree subjects being offered today, some of which I have described (and continue to regard) as "vanity" qualifications engineered to appease government statistics and bring home the bacon for financially astute new universities.

Very familiar with the GDL courses, currently doing it and, as you say, it is attractive as an instrument of career progression as opposed to necessarily being related to employment choices. (It was deemed "helpful" at work, hence fully sponsored :wink: )

Most helpful post, thank you
 
#16
Many foundation degrees are in fact more academic HNDs (most HNDs/HNCs have been rewritten - these are brand names which belong to BTEC - and cost money to teach!) otherwise they are pretty much the same. It is usually easier to top-up a foundation degree than an HND to a full degree. It has always been a matter of judgement for academic tutors as to which students they admit - applicants under 24yrs of age are usually expected to have UCAS points - between 80 and 180 for Foundation Degrees, 180 to 360 for Honours Degrees. Academic and research based postgraduate degrees normally require a second class honours degree and above, Vocational postgrad degrees may accept appropriate experience in the field. The entry qualifications are not related to the difficulty of the course but are only to filter the number of applicants - in theory all qualifactions at the same level have the same level of difficulty but some courses and universities attract more applicants than others. It is not a bums on seats approach - each student who fails or leaves has their government monies withdrawn from when they started, so tutors need to be satisfied that applicants will stay the distance and pass.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#17
pyrogenica said:
Biscuits_AB said:
Why not just go and do a MSc in something like Criminal Justice Studies.
That sort of suggests that you were stating that you could take an MSc in Criminal Justice Studies. That's how I (and others) interpreted your post.

And your (and 'their') point is precisely what? You can take a MSc in that subject. Try Pompey, Stirling, Edinburgh, and a few other reputable Universities. I'm still unsure what your argument here actually is.

2. We appear to speaking be at crossed purposes. When you said "Why settle for a Foundation degree, when you can have a MSc?" I naturally thought you were suggesting an MSc in the same subject the poster was talking about, Criminal Justice. We both appear to be in agreement that no such course appears to exist.

No, we are not in agreement. On this issue, we never have been. Such a course does exist, it's just that you have confused it with a Law degree, which in itself you appear to know little about. For example, family law is not a LLB compulsary subject (of which there are 7) as you suggest. Trust me on that. I would have thought that being a GDL student, you would have known that. Where are you studying your GDL? The course which I said doesn't exist was a MSc in Law. [/color]

3. I have never once "dismissed" master's degrees, far from it, in fact I referred to the LLM degree as "highly regarded". But it is a second degree, a post graduate qualification, meaning that the student usually has to first attain an acceptable "lower" degree in the same subject matter as a prequalification for acceptance.

I think you'll find if you read your original post that you told the original poster to 'skip anything calling itself a Master's degree' (but you didn't say why), which many (maybe even some of those 'others' you speak of) may view as being 'dismissive'. You even went as far as to question the value of a MSc in Criminal Justice Studies. You didn't say why though? Is this a field in which perhaps you have experience? I would imagine that such a qualification would be valued in The Police Service, The Probation Service and indeed by several Higher Education establishments and the wider Criminal Justice sector. It just so happens that the original poster is employed in a relevant area and has a substantial background within that area. I'd have thought that a Masters would have stood him in better stead than a Foundation degree. Perhaps you know better.

Thank you for the education in the hierarchy of degrees. I'll sleep a lot better at night now.


/shrugs, dismisses inevitable incoming

Was that intended to discourage any response or was that you being dismissive again?

Biscuits
 
#18
Hiya MTG,

some of my colleagues are starting of their studies with Foundations degrees; from what I can gather, they are supposed to be about the same as OU Level 1 and will take you from CSE or equivalent to A-level + standard but you do have to get stuck into them.

If you're doing it part-time / distance learning, have you thought about using your learning credits? If you're in UK, depending where you want the course to take you, it might be an idea to check out your local college for part-time A-level or similar courses.

Don't be put off by the academic content; most of these courses are intended for mature students, so they are geared to people who have been out of the system for many years. Look at the prospectus / website and ask yourself what you want to get out of it.

I'm doing an OU level 1 course and a BSY diploma course simultaneously, so it's not impossible.

Just don't get yourself sucked into something that isn't appropriate for your needs.

Hope this helps.

R.
 
#19
Biscuits: Lacking clairvoyancy, I could hardly be expected to know what the OP's considerable experience was in, save that he was thinking of spending quite a considerable sum on a foundation degree in a vocationally orientated subject related to law.

I have no experience of foundation degrees, but I have had some experience of being present at panel interviews where such qualifications have been largely disregarded (by my employers). Therefore, I advised caution against being suckered into pursuing a foundation course that may not be held in particularly high regard.

I agree with the sentiment that one should aim for the highest possible qualification, and have gone a stage further by suggesting that the OP may also wish to consider a legal as opposed to a more vocationally based course. As one poster has already said there are many people who take a law degree with no intention of becoming (eventually, and post LPC) a solicitor. It is a career path respected by many employers,and one that I am myself taking advantage of.

Ultimately it is the employer who determines the fitness for purpose of any specific candidate for a particular role, and I suspect that a law degree would hold equal weight to any degree in criminal justice, even when considering a career in (say) the police force or the probation service. If nothing else, it would certainly offer far greater prospects if considering employment in an alternative field of employment at a later stage.

As for being dismissive,I freely admit to having certain reservations regarding the value of less cerebral (i.e. vocational) studies in the wider context of general employment opportunities. Whereas a degree in, say, retail management LINK ) may be quite useful (but not prerequisite) when selling beds, I suspect a degree in law will help open doors in many more fields of prospective employment. But that is no more than my own personal opinion, drawn from years of my own experiences.

However, the OP did state that he was concerned about his lack of academic qualifications: "From someone who hardly has a CSE to their name ". This rather suggests that he wouldn't have the necessary UCAS points to make him eligible for entry into a higher degree, irrespective of what he studied.

If the OP is accepted for a higher degree on the basis of his life experience, and from the more constructive posts here I am reassured that such a concesssion is not lightly offered as I previously thought, and it is a worthwhile qualification, which only he can decide, then all well and good to him. If he feels it will further his career with the police, probation services or in a similar field, as opposed to a career in law per se, then that is a career decision that only he make make. And I certainly wish him well with that.

As for my GDL, my course tutors and my employers are perfectly happy with my progress, so I feel equally reassured by their confidence in my abilities and therefore little need to account to you. You may be reassured that I will not hesitate to seek your opinion about both my very well established career and my choice of studies if I want it, but I wouldn't advise you to hold your breath waiting for my invitation.

If it is being dismissive to put my business affairs first over arguing semantics over what is an opinion as to the better course to pursue, especially when others appear to have shared that opinion (for that is all that it amounts to), then I am guilty as charged. I have been overseas all week, and will be returning overseas in 24 hours, my priorities lie elsewhere than justifying my opinions to you and hearing your opinions in return.

If nothing else I haven't had to resort to technicolour to make my point.
 

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