PDA Criminology SCQF level 7

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA in Criminology at SCQF level 7 covers areas such as:

  • The accused's journey through the Criminal Justice System in Scotland
  • Evaluation of the Criminal Justice System in Scotland and another country

This qualification is available through colleges. It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of lectures and self-directed study.

This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ assessment guidance 2023-24.

The PDA in Criminology at SCQF level 7 has developed in partnership with employers and industry so it is suitable for the current sector.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff, while learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

It can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

This PDA provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • relevant units or qualifications at SCQF level 6 or 7
  • HNC Social Sciences, Legal Services or Police Studies
  • significant employment experience where detailed written reports are expected
  • relevant employment experience for criminology

Learners would have the opportunity of progressing to other PDAs, which could perhaps lead to a full HN qualification in Social Sciences and Legal Services at SCQF level 7 or 8.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Each unit is assessed separately.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

Group Award code: GR11 47

The PDA in Criminology at SCQF level 7 consists of one mandatory unit and one or two optional units.