Crime and Investigative Studies BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year, 4 years with placement)


January, September



Got an eye for detail and a fascination for crime scenes? Step away from TV crime dramas and immerse yourself in our labs and crime scene rooms in Cambridge. You’ll learn about criminology, forensic science, policing and the law from lecturers with first-hand experience in the field. Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, our degree offers you real-world experience through work placements, internships and field trips, and career possibilities in criminal justice, crime analysis and victim support.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

You will graduate from our course with the skills needed to work in various areas in the criminal justice system, particularly policing, crime scene examination, prisons and security, as well as government intelligence agencies.

The legal and criminology elements of the course open up career possibilities in social and youth work, crime analysis, victim support and legal work.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Law and Policing
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to Law, Policing and Criminology. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. Students will also be introduced to specific concepts related to their degree programmes including an introduction to the English legal system, business law, criminal law and the criminal justice system and ethics. Real-world examples of the law in action will be highlighted, and students will practice applying the law to case studies. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Composition and Style; Ethics; Fundamentals of Law; Business Law; Criminal Law.

Year one, core modules

  • Introduction to Forensic Methodologies
    In this module you will cover key forensic aspects ranging from the management of crime scenes and the appropriate recovery of items found within them, to the interpretation of results obtained from laboratory-based analyses. A range of the most common types of evidence will be introduced, along with the techniques used to examine them. Particular emphasis is placed on the various microscopy methods available, including polarised light and fluorescence microscopy, and the physical principles behind them.
  • United Kingdom Legal Systems and Law for Forensic Scientists
    Explore the different legal systems within the United Kingdom and the different requirements of these systems. You’ll look at the development of law in the English, Scottish and Northern Ireland legal systems and examine the jury system and the investigation of crime with each of these systems. You’ll closely examine the powers relevant to the Scene of Crime Officer/Forensic Scientist and the laws of evidence as they relate to the S.O.C.O./Forensic Scientist and the codes of practice of the Crown Prosecution Service. You’ll focus on seizure, rules of evidence and codes of practice as well as forensic scientist and expert witness.
  • Introduction to Police and Forensic Photography
    In this module you will be introduced to the use of photographic evidence and other image recording methods used in the documentation of police and forensic evidence. You will conduct practical work on simulated cases in addition to attending conventional lectures and tutorials using photographic equipment available within our department.
  • Investigative Skills
    In this module you will be introduced to the process of Investigation. You will examine the roles of those involved in investigation and the methods they use. This module will identify the techniques used in volume and serious crime investigation. You will receive lectures from practicing investigators, take part in workshops and practical activities, and complete group activities.
  • Physical Criminalistics
    The examination of most physical (as opposed to chemical or biological) forensic evidence requires a broad knowledge of the characteristics of a wide range of materials. The forensic scientist has no way of predicting what evidential types will be available or significant when an investigation begins and so all criminalists require a basic knowledge of the main evidence types. In this module you will learn about the physical properties of different types of forensic evidence commonly encountered at crime scenes. The focus will be on the evidence, though some information about the analytical techniques used to examine the evidence will be introduced.
  • Applied Science for Forensic Investigators
    Develop your understanding of the basic scientific principles which underlie forensic investigations. You will be introduced to the broad scientific disciplines within forensic science, including chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics, providing you with the analytical skills necessary to interpret forensic evidence and apply scientific principles to forensic case studies. In addition to the standard biology and chemistry required as a basis of forensic analytical chemistry, you will explore basic physics, in areas such as blood spatter analysis and ballistics. Each lecture will be followed by a tutorial where students will be able to apply the scientific principles covered to relevant forensic situations. You will also participate in practicals to gain competency and confidence in performing basic laboratory techniques. These practical sessions include an introduction to wet lab techniques (e.g. the use of micropipettes), microscopy, presumptive testing, and thin layer chromatography (TLC).

Year two, core modules

  • Scene and Laboratory Investigation
    In this module you will undertake practical work in the recovery of evidence at various scenes and highlight the problems that different types of scenes can bring. You will build on the knowledge you gained in previous modules in relation to contamination issues and also issues in the chain of continuity of evidence. You will build your practical skills by using specialist forensic equipment on evidence recovered from the scene.
  • Mass Fatality Incidents
    This module will introduce students to the variety of mass fatality incidents that occur, both within the UK and Internationally. The module will cover natural disasters, accidents and intentional incidents such as terrorist attacks. In addition to considering the planning and management systems in place for dealing with potential incidents, the module will also consider response actions. There will be a particular focus on Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and the methodologies and standards used formally to identify victims of mass fatality incidents.
  • Introduction to Fire Investigation
    In this module you will explore different elements of fire scenes, including fire behaviour and fire scene examination. It will cover the fundamental theories of such scenes, and practical approaches to their examination. You will develop an understanding of fire behaviour, fire science and scene reconstruction. You will also experience methodologies used in fire scene examination and explore preservation procedures applied by fire scene investigators in depth. The collection of evidence, and its documentation within fire scenes, will be explored in order to develop your understanding of the correct procedures by following nationally-recognised standards.
  • Project Preparation
    This module will prepare you to carry out a major project in your final year. This will involve initially researching and selecting a suitable project. You will acquire skills such as applying for ethical approval, accessing relevant sources of published information, conducting literature surveys, writing a literature review, formulating risk assessments and creating a project proposal. During this self-managed module you will plan your project and regularly meet with your supervisor, who will give you advice and review your progress.
  • Police and Forensic Investigations
    What is a priority in a police investigation? What resources are needed? What evidence is key to the investigation? During this module you will gain the knowledge and understanding of the policing environment and the roles within the police service. You will be given case examples to research and write and therefore develop transferable skills by gaining an insight as to how these roles relate to an investigation. You will equip yourself with an invaluable asset of time management - essential to any investigation and will also learn various research techniques that will assist you when completing each assessment area. Explore the many different roles found within the modern Police Service – such as Dog Handlers, Crime Investigators, Firearms Officers, Search Officers, and Police Support Units – in addition to General Response and Community Officers, and how these may be deployed within a Police investigation. The number of Scientific Support Departments within the Police Service will also be discussed, such as Crime Scene Examiners, Fingerprint Laboratories, Fingerprint Bureau, and external Forensic providers.
  • Evidence Based Policing
    In this module you will develop a knowledge and understanding of the key principles of Evidence-Based Policing, a methodology being employed increasingly across the country to tackle crime in times of austerity and greater demand for transparency and accountability. The content will include review of the twentieth-century policing style, how research is being increasingly employed to aid policy decisions in the twenty-first century, analyses of the police response to common problems in society, how current methodologies can be improved with the use of research, and the scope for evidence-based policing moving into the future.
  • Digital Forensics
    This module will introduce you to the field of digital forensics, a critical component in modern policing. You will be introduced to the key aspects of digital investigative strategy, including identification, the powers for lawful seizure, safe handling, policy and legislation, and methods for examining digital evidence. You will also explore how digital evidence is reported within the criminal justice system giving you the opportunity to experience the procedures followed during digital forensic investigations.

Work placement (optional placement year)

Year three, core modules

  • Undergraduate Major Project
    You will create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you are specifically interested in. You will identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artifacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • Crime Scene Analysis
    You will gain the theoretical and practical skills necessary for examining crime scenes and analysing the evidence collected. You will be introduced to methodologies for examining, recording and recovering evidence from crime scenes, including the packaging of evidence and ensuring continuity and integrity. Building on the skills and knowledge from previous modules, you will advance your crime scene practices, enhancing the methodical and logical scene approaches required by crime scene investigators. You will also explore how crime scenes are linked, both forensically and through intelligence. You will also learn how to write witness statements and how to present evidence in court. You will be expected to give evidence in court and be cross-examined.
  • Forensic Anthropology
    This module develops the student’s knowledge in regards to the role of the forensic anthropologist and the application of forensic anthropology to criminal investigations. The module covers search, recovery and identification of human remains, considering the role of the anthropologist both at the crime scene and the mortuary. The module teaches how the anthropologist works with other experts within the investigative framework and covers both domestic and international applications; from single fatality investigations through to the use of anthropology during mass fatality incidents. Methods of archaeology and osteology and their application to forensic contexts will be taught with the emphasis on basic principles and the critical application of techniques and their selection. A variety of resources will be available including ARU’s collection of human remains and anthropological teaching aids. Case studies and peer reviewed articles will be discussed and a variety of additional resources are available through the digital library.
  • Forensic Pathology
    In this module you will develop knowledge of forensic pathology, which contributes to the investigation of suspicious death and identification of the deceased. The forensic investigation of death is a multi-disciplinary approach that involves collaboration between forensic pathologists, crime scene investigators, forensic scientists and other experts in the forensic field. This module covers the role of the forensic pathologist in fulfilling the key functions of the medico-legal autopsy and determination of cause of death. Post-mortem changes after death, estimation of time since death, injuries and different types of asphyxias will also be taught in this module. Various case studies and peer-reviewed articles relating to the subject area will also be discussed.
  • Major Investigations
    Major Investigations within the Police service are probably the most complicated, involving not only police personnel but also staff from many other agencies involved in investigation of crime. This module will look at the national standards involved in major investigations, as well as looking at the different disciplines including investigative theory, intelligence, planning of a investigation including investigative strategies and other investigative considerations. The module will look in depth at various roles within the major investigation team and how those roles interact with the strategic plan of the investigation management team.
  • Specialised Topics in Investigative Science
    This module explores and covers specialised and contemporary areas of crime investigation which you may not have experienced or be aware of when compared to the more commonly reported media crimes. You will cover specific areas of current and emerging crimes within the large and complex range of criminalities, including UK based and international crimes. Each specialist area will cover the history, investigative techniques used, forensic science techniques, investigative agencies involved, legislation, impact of and response the crime. The module allows students to demonstrate more independency in their studies of newer/specialist crimes and this is reflected in the media style based reports (i.e. podcast, webpage, blogs, new reels and newspaper reports) produced by students on the module.


Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment methods to measure your progress. This course has a hands-on approach, so a lot of your assessment will be through practical work. Your assessments will include traditional exams and assignments, as well as your performance in practical work, presentations, mock courts and group work.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information


This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement between years 2 and 3. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement, using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

SD memory card - £8
Fine-tipped permanent marker pens - £3
Cost of printing dissertation/individual project.
CD/memory stick for dissertation submission.
Cost of printing A1 poster for dissertation - £15

Scientific Calculator.

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

Foundation year entry requirements

  • 5 GCSE passes at grade 3 or D or above and evidence of two years post-GCSE study at Level 3
  • If you have achieved at least grade E in one A level, or equivalent, you are exempt from the two year post-GCSE study requirement, but you still have to meet the GCSE requirements
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificate level of proficiency of at least IELTS 5.5 overall including 5.5 in each band/component
International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)



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