‌‌Hannah Smith

“All the lecturers are extremely friendly, they give you all the help you need and support you all the way”
– Hannah Smith

Choosing Criminology at Derby

I chose to do this degree as I thought it would be the perfect avenue for me in order to pursue a career in the Criminal Justice System. Due to its diverse nature I was confident I would be able to find work in this area on completion of my degree. The criminal justice sector deals with individuals who have a complex range of issues which is why I thought a degree in this area would be beneficial to me if I was to truly understand my chosen area of work.

During my three years I studied a range of topics and in my final year I specialised in the investigations pathway. I enjoyed this the most as it was an applied module so was very interactive. This really helped to get the best out of us. Moreover, it gave us the chance to take statements which you will never get the chance to do in practice, as soon as you get a job you are doing it for real.

A supportive environment

All the lecturers are extremely friendly, they give you all the help you need and support you all the way. I had two particularly inspirational tutors and I know my studies would have been a lot harder without them. I had a particularly tough time in my final year due to family illness and the support of my personal tutor really helped. You do not need to be afraid to ask for help if you ever need it. At the end of the day all the tutors want the best from you and they are all willing to help you achieve it.

Real world learning experience

Most of the lecturers in the criminology department have had careers in the Criminal Justice System and I feel this had a positive effect on our learning as it made you more driven to participate in best practice in the field. You were given real life stories of how the system actually worked and how it should work, which gave you motivation to improve it to ensure the clients you work with receive the best service.

We also worked on real life cases and one of my tasks in a module was to attend Court at least three times to observe which helped as it made it more interesting and was something you could then discuss with peers.

There were several guest speakers discussing how they entered the CJS which again inspired you and made you realise it was achievable. We also went on a trip to Dovegate Prison which gave you a feel for the potential environment you could be working in and allowed you to see how comfortable you would feel with that. I loved it! You do not appreciate how intimidating that kind of environment can be unless you have had experience in it.

My Career

I now work for the National Offender Management Service, I am a probation service officer which is an apprentice probation officer. I am being put through a diploma programme by NOMS to qualify to be a probation officer. There was over 5000 applications for this position and 300 places available so I am extremely lucky.

My degree helped me get the position as I needed a relevant degree to the position. I feel my volunteering also prepared me for the role as it helps you to develop your communication and people skills which is crucial to a role in the CJS.

I will now be working alongside individuals on probation programmes and deciding what conditions should be put in place in a bid to rehabilitate them and stop their offending behaviour. My degree has helped give me the knowledge to identify key areas that help to reduce offending behaviour such as employment and education.


I would definitely recommend a degree at Derby as for results it is very high up the league tables. Furthermore, it is in the top ten for employment on completion of your degree. It is a great university with great facilities and the fact that attendance is kept such a close eye on is a real big help even though it does not seem that way at the time.

I would not have gone anywhere else and I am proud to say I went there.

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An international perspective

We are committed to studying in the field. One group of students recently visited criminal justice agencies in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with highlights including visits to San Quentin State Prison and gang projects in LA, a day spent with San Francisco Police Department and the chance to meet students from California State University.