Detective Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme


Few careers can be more rewarding than that of a police officer and from 2020, all new police officers will be required to have a degree-level qualification. Our Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice gives graduates of any degree subject area the opportunity to complete this qualification while they’re helping to fight crime and protecting people from harm as a Student Officer.

As Student Officers, the Programme allows graduates to develop their knowledge of and interests in a range of operational policing roles, allowing for potential future career advancement and discipline specialisation within the police.

Staffordshire University has partnered with four of our regional forces, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands, to provide you with expert teaching and support you throughout your policing career. During the two years of your course, you will be on probation with your chosen police force.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing and Practice.

Key course information

  • 2 years

  • Full time split between study and practical police work time.

  • Multiple start dates throughout the year

Course content

Our two-year ­work-based learning programme will see you earning and learning whilst studying towards a Staffordshire University Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice. You'll have a student card and have access to all of our University facilities, as well as the support of a virtual community.

The Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice programme has been designed to ensure that our student officers meet the national standards set by the College of Policing (CoP), the professional body for all those working in the Police Service.


In year 1, you will complete the following modules:

  • Understanding Policing
  • Evidence Based Policing
  • Vulnerability and Public Protection

In year 2, you will complete the following modules:

  • Advanced Knowledge and Concepts
  • Delivering Professional Policing

Delivery and assessment


We are committed to supporting you to learn while you earn and have developed a blended learning approach to support this.

During your time as a Student Officer you will complete taught modules and be deployed operationally with your chosen police force.

Your learning will be delivered by a combination of Staffordshire University academics and police colleagues. You won’t need to travel to our Stoke-on-Trent campus for lectures, we’ll deliver academic excellence in locations across the region.

In your first eight weeks, you will spend four weeks learning in the classroom and four weeks completing your police induction where you’ll be given your uniform and welcomed into your new Student Officer role.

You'll be based either within a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or a safeguarding team. To begin with, you'll handle volume and priority investigations such as theft, burglary, missing persons, domestic abuse and hate crime, before moving onto serious and complex crime, such as serious sexual offences and serious violence. These are just some of the offences you could be dealing with as a trainee detective constable.


There are a number of elements that make up the assessment, including diploma assessment i.e. formal assessment of the diploma modules and ‘on-programme’ assessment of operational competence. You will also be required to complete and pass the National Investigators Exam.


Examination feedback may take a variety of formats. However, as a minimum, generic feedback will be made available to all students who take written examinations.

Student support

Learning support

In addition to the excellent support you will receive from your course teaching team, our central Academic Skills team provides group and one-to-one help to support your learning in a number of areas. These include study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills); written English (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy); academic writing (including how to reference); research skills; critical thinking and understanding arguments; and revision, assessment and examination skills (including time management).

Additional support

Our AccessAbility Services support students with additional needs such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties. You will also have full access to our support services such as Student Guidance.


You will be supported with professional development throughout your career by both your Police Force and the University. At the end of the course you will be a qualified Detective Constable and will be posted to an investigative role in either the Criminal Investigation Department or a safeguarding team, such as the Child Protection and Exploitation Team (CPET). A career in policing offers a wealth of opportunities including promotions through the ranks or lateral moves into specialist teams.

Delivery method
Work based learning
Off campus

2 years

Graduate Diploma

Entry requirements

To complete the Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing, you will need to hold a Bachelor’s degree in any subject.

Qualifications listed in your application must be evidenced with a certificate.

What if I don't meet the requirements?

If you have not yet completed a degree, you can either:

To find out more about the police recruitment process, including SEARCH assessment and interviews, entry requirements or eligibility checks, please visit your chosen force's website.


This course is paid for by your employer. You just have to choose your police force and apply for the role.

How to apply

Use your degree to make a real difference in your community - you can apply for the Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing directly through one of our regional partners.

UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021