Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice (DHEP)


Few careers can be more rewarding than that of a police officer and since 2020, all new police officers are 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 working as a fully operational student police officer. 

As a student officer on this programme you'll have the opportunity to develop your 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 is partnered with three regional police forces, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia, to provide you with expert teaching and support you throughout your policing career. You will apply directly through the police forces, and during the two years of your course, you will be on probation with your chosen police force.

On successful completion of the programme, you will pass the probationary stage of your police constable career and 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:

  • Introduction to Operational Policing
  • Evidence Based practice (EBP)
  • Independent Patrol Status

In year 2, you will complete the following modules:

  • Delivering Operational Policing
  • Advanced Operational Policing: Response, Roads and Community or Advanced Operational Policing: Investigative 


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.

From week one you will be a probationary police officer, receiving your uniform ahead of your induction and attestation. You will undergo a period of in-force training and a University protected learning block to prepare you for your first operational deployment. Deployments depend upon force structure and during the deployment you will initially be coached by one of our experienced tutor constables. They will support you to put theory learned into practice in an operational setting.


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.


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. It’s important to read and understand feedback, this sets you up for success during your early policing career. 

Student support


You can find an overview of support available to you on our Student Officer Support page.

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. A career in policing offers a wealth of opportunities including promotions through the ranks or lateral moves into specialist teams such as Counter-Terrorism, Firearms, and Dog Unit.

An overview of possible career pathways can be found on the College of Policing's website.

Contact us

If you have any questions about this course, please email

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. Your chosen force will determine your eligibility for this programme and may recommend the PCDA pathway as appropriate.

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 the assessment centres 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:

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

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

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021