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Recruiting under this scheme is open! Please note, recruitment does not run in academic years. Intake start dates can vary throughout the year.

Salary: £24,780


The PCDA Programme is a three-year programme with academic modules, course work and exams. The total academic credit value of this course is 360 credits. The academic learning on this course is undertaken and coincides with serving as student police officer, with active frontline duties for Cumbria Constabulary. The normal working hours of a police officer are 40 hours per week.

As per Police Regulations an officer can apply for part time working and the request will be considered following the initial delivery phase and the officer is confirmed as independent in post.

Should an officer move to part time working during their probationary period, the length of the probationary period will be extended on a pro rata basis.

Is this the route for you? This route is for someone who would like to work in the role of an operational police officer, whilst studying, and who does not hold a degree-level qualification.

Before you start: To be accepted onto the PCDA, candidates have to meet the Constabulary's PCDA eligibility criteria and successfully pass the stages of the Constabulary's police officer recruitment process.

What's involved in a PCDA? A PCDA involves a three-year programme of academic modules, course work and exams. This is undertaken and coincides with serving as a student police officer, with active frontline duties for Cumbria Constabulary.

Provider: Cumbria Constabulary have selected UCLan as a higher education institute partner for the academic learning on the PCDA course.

Support: Apprentices will receive support from a UCLan tutor with your academic studies and officers and staff from Cumbria Constabulary will support you with your operational role.

You will receive one-on-one support from your UCLan tutor.

You will receive regular meetings to discuss your progress and any support you feel you could benefit from with your line manager within the force.

You can visit UCLan's PCDA page here.

Costs: The academic costs of this degree are covered by the apprenticeship.

Achieving your PCDA: Upon successful competition of your PCDA, you will graduate as a Cumbria Constabulary police officer and obtain a BSc (Hons) Professional Police Practice degree.

How to apply: Visit our Job Portal

Please note we require candidates to have a full manual UK driving licence in order to apply.

Need some guidance? Take a look at some guidance on how to apply here

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding the interviews/SEARCH assessment centre or would like to visit one of the stations, please contact our SPOCS to arrange

Through the PCDA entry route, officers will undertake a professional degree apprenticeship, licensed and overseen by the College of Policing and delivered through a formal collaboration by the force with University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), a Higher Education Institute (HEI). Officers have a 3 year probationary period, whilst undertaking a BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Practice Degree. For a full overview of the PCDA course view our course overview.

PCDA Course Information

Your first year will begin with a 21 week block of taught classroom learning including a group presentation, two exams, an essay, an Evidence based Policing Presentation with report and a 2 week PST (Personal Safety Training) and First aid course.

You then move into the Operational Tutor 'in company' phase which lasts for 10 weeks and includes a 3 week driving course. Followed by this you will spend 6 weeks on Independent Patrol Phase.

Finally you will head back into the classroom for 3 weeks of learning, again followed by 5 weeks of Independent Patrol Phase. During the first year you will also complete the Independent Patrol Status portfolio, whilst on the operational tutor phase of the programme.

In your first year you will spend 24 weeks in a classroom environment being taught by some of our tutors and UCLan and will have 22 days (fixed) annual leave.

Year 2 starts with a 4 week block of taught learning, followed by an independent patrol phase for 24 weeks (where you will have 8 protected learning days) and will also complete 25 shift placements.

After this there is another learning block of 3 weeks where you will complete an academic assessment on Counter Terrorism and a 4000 word essay, followed by another 15 weeks independent patrol phase.

The final part of year 2 starts with a 1 week learning block where you will work on a case study and essay, and then final 6 weeks on patrol.

In year 3 your Module1 and Module 2 are run concurrently over the duration of the final year, delivered during three taught blocks totalling to 7 weeks. The final and summative aspect of the PCDA and Degree is the End Point Assessment (EPA), based on a research based project of 10,000 words.

The EPA is embedded within an integrated Degree in Professional Policing Practice qualification and is UCLan led. During the third year of the programme you are required to successfully complete the Full Occupational Competency Portfolio.

By the end of year 3 you will have a minimum of 1047 training hours (over the full three years) classed as off the job training hours which are required by the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). Both modules will be completed at Level 6 and you will obtain your BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Practice Degree.

To be confirmed in post as a Police Officer, at the end of the third year you will have completed you Full Occupational Competency Portfolio, taken and passed the apprenticeship End Point Assessment and been awarded a BSc (Hons) Professional Policing Practice Degree.

Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship FAQs

Yes, for the majority of your time you will be in force on frontline duties.

The minimum amount of time spent in off the job learning such as in lessons will be 20 percent. Off the job could also include work-related projects, which would be agreed by you and the Constabulary, which could help tackle local policing issues.  

Yes, each recruit will be allocated a tutor. They will provide you with support via email and face-to-face meetings at the Constabulary's HQ in Penrith.

Recruits will be assessed on their practical work, assessments, course work, exams and a dissertation in year three.

Before new recruits join the PCDA programme, you will be required to attend an interview at a designated Cumbria Constabulary police station, successfully pass the SEARCH Assessment Centre to test for initial abilities including common sense approaches and reading and writing skills. There are also vetting and fitness tests that need to be passed before being enrolled onto the PCDA programme (note places are limited in each PCDA intake, enrolment onto the PCDA is subject to availability and, should the programme be popular, candidates may experience a waiting period before being offered a place).

To apply to the police service you must be at least 17 years old. You must be 18 at the time of appointment.

Unfortunately not, the old scheme is closed to new applicants, and has been replaced by the PC Degree Apprenticeship.

The degree is provided by the Constabulary's HEI partner, UCLan.

No, UCLan lecturers will hold lessons at a Cumbria Constabulary site, this will usually be the Carleton Hall site in Penrith.

No, your degree will be funded as part of the apprenticeship.

Yes, this will be organised by UCLan and will be held at Preston with graduates from other UCLan higher education courses.

PCDA Eligibility

In addition to the general requirements to join as a police officer, applicants must also have one of the following in order to meet both the academic requirements of UCLan and the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) apprenticeships:

  • Level 3 qualifications where the grades total 96 UCAS points or higher
  • Level 3 qualifications considered equal to the above (not all level 3 qualifications accumulate tariff points but they will still be considered)
  • Professional training or work experience considered to be equal to the above


  • Candidates must have a Level 2 qualification (GCSE or equivalent) in English and maths in order to enrol on the apprenticeship programme. Please note, we can only accept the actual certificate or a ‘Certified Statement of Results’, which can be ordered directly from the exam board. Further information on this
    can be found here
    • If you do not hold a GCSE in English or maths you can obtain via a college course. Click the links below for more information on each college and the courses they offer:

Furness College
GCSE Maths
GCSE English

Lakes College West Cumbria
GCSE Maths
GCSE English

Carlisle College
GCSE Maths
GCSE English

Kendal College
GCSE Maths
GCSE English

A review of a candidate's professional training or work experience which will include military, PCSO and special constable experience and work based practical skills e.g. problem solving and customer service will be considered if a candidate does not have the required UCAS points.

  • You must have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately prior to application.
  • Have achieved a standard of education equivalent to Level 3 for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (or be able to evidence via assessment that you are capable of achieving this), or a Degree, for the Degree Holder Entry Scheme.
  • Not be a member of the British National Party (BNP) or plus other organisations such as Combat 18 or The National Front.
  • If you have a criminal record, this doesn't mean you're automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare any caution or conviction on your application form, failure to do so will result in failing vetting due to integrity issues.
  • You may apply to more than one police force at a time
  • 96 UCAS points or equivalent professional training and experience.

For more eligibility criteria visit our PC Eligibility page


To be eligible to undertake the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship you must not be:

  • Undertaking another apprenticeship programme
  • Undertaking training funded by an Government Adult Education Budget (AEB) with a either a College, Local Authority or Private Training Provider, which replicates vocational and other learning aims covered by the apprenticeship standard; offers career related training that conflicts with the apprenticeship aims; or is be undertaken during working hours associated to the apprenticeship
  • In receipt of any Department for Education (DfE) funded programme during the duration of the apprenticeship programme, this includes DfE Funded Further Education and Higher Education programmes funded by a student loan. Or undertake any part of an apprenticeship whilst on a sandwich placement as part of a higher education degree programme.
  • You are eligible to start the PCDA apprenticeship programme, should you have less than four weeks to completion of an existing DfE funded course.

If you are unsure of how your own circumstance impact on you becoming a Police Officer undertaking the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship Programme, please contact our recruitment team: