Forensic Investigation FdSc

Full-time, part-time undergraduate (2 years, 3 years)

University Centre Peterborough

January, September


If you’d like a career in crime scene investigation, this course will introduce you to the forensic techniques used, as well as to police investigative methods and court evidence requirements.

Full description


Many of our graduates go on to careers in the police force, crime scene investigation and police community support. Others work in the intelligence field, analytical services, community safety, probation service, youth work and the prison service.

Modules & assessment

The modules listed below are for the full-time version of this course. For full module details, please visit the University Centre Peterborough website.

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
    You'll be introduced to the use of photographic evidence and other image recording methods used in the documentation of police and forensic evidence. You'll conduct practical work on simulated cases in addition to attending conventional lectures and tutorials using photographic equipment available within our department. You'll be assessed through a written assignment/portfolio.
  • Identification Techniques
    The correct identification of a person is extremely important in any investigation. This module examines identification issues which are perceived to play such an important part in the identification of an offender. Different identification methods (such as fingerprints, DNA and odontology) will be explored and the advantages and disadvantages of various identification techniques will be examined. The complex challenges that are often associated with the identification of individuals will also be covered. This will include topics such as reliability of eye witness accounts and how animals can be used to aid in identification of individuals.
  • Physical Criminalistics
    The examination of most physical forensic evidence requires a knowledge of the characteristics of a wide range of materials. A forensic scientist has no way of predicting what evidential types will be available and/or significant when an investigation begins, so all criminalists require a basic knowledge of the main evidence types. Through a series of integrated lecture and practical sessions, you will learn the physical properties of the most common types of evidence encountered at crime scenes. You will develop the professionalism to determine when to seek more highly qualified or expert advice on the basis of 'if in doubt then do no harm'. You will focus on physical evidence, and will cover the basic principles of a forensic examination, the physical properties of documents, glass fragments (including fracture patterns and optical properties), paint, tool, tyre and footwear marks, soil and vegetation, and finger marks as well as other body prints. You will be taught via laboratory-based practical sessions and group work, enabling you to develop your teamwork as well as transferrable communication skills essential in a professional forensics laboratory.
  • Applied Science for Forensic Investigators
    All forensic investigators require a strong grounding in science and in this module, you will be introduced to the basic scientific principles needed for the rest of your course and beyond. You will be introduced to the broad scientific disciplines within forensic science, including chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics. You will develop the analytical skills necessary to interpret forensic evidence and be able to apply scientific principles to forensic case studies. Your introduction to chemistry will include a discussion of the periodic table and properties of elements, atomic structure and chemical bonding. You will also be introduced to the basic principles of molecular biology, focussing on the polymerase chain reaction and short tandem repeats, and how these are used in forensic and investigative sciences. We will discuss the basic principles of biochemistry and human anatomy in the context of how biological evidence may be used in forensic cases. We will also look at the basic physical principles underlying blood spatter analysis. You will learn through a series of lectures and tutorials where you will apply your knowledge to real-world forensic situations and contexts. A significant practical element is included, so that you gain competence and confidence in performing basic laboratory techniques such as the use of micropipettes, microscopy, presumptive testing, and thin layer chromatography (TLC). By completing practical sessions, you will also develop your numeracy, problem solving and critical thinking skills. Interactive lectures will also help to develop your communication skills and teamwork. Your learning here will benefit you in career pathways such as a forensic scientist, analytical science, scientific support, crime scene examination and police officers.

Year two, core modules

  • Forensic Management
    Forensic science in all its forms is a diverse collection of human knowledge and experience involving both the prosecution and defence, in which the correct use of scientific methods enables the court to reach a reasonable verdict with minimal dependency on subjective witnesses. You’ll learn about the management techniques throughout the forensic process, in particular the crime scene, to ensure that the court can be assured that reliable and accurate examination has been undertaken, at all times maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the system. In addition, you’ll examine how the crime scene manager is responsible for the development of staff and the control of systems, policies and procedures. Learning resources will be available through our library. Assessment will be through coursework and an examination.
  • Police and Forensic Investigations
    There are a wide variety of roles found within the modern police service, including dog handlers, crime investigators, firearms officers, search officers, and police support units. These are in addition to general response and community officers, all of whom could be deployed within a police investigation. We will explore the different scientific support departments within the police service, such as crime scene examiners, fingerprint laboratories, fingerprint bureaux, and external forensic providers. You will therefore build your knowledge and understanding of the policing environment and the varied roles within the police service. You will apply your learning through exploring cold cases, reviewing techniques gained in previous modules, and evaluating how new methods and technology could impact an investigation. By working in teams, you will experience an environment similar to that in the policing field, giving you an opportunity to discuss your ideas, review procedures and learn to support your conclusions. You will be provided with a variety of specialist topics to research and discuss, helping you to gain transferable skills for a future career in roles within or associated with crime investigation.
  • Community Safety
    Examine the impact that the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 has had on the way that crime related issues are viewed. We'll discuss the different partners within the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) including the police, fire and rescue, local authorities and NHS, and their roles when dealing with crime. We'll cover situational and social crime prevention theories in depth, including the 'SARA' technique for problem solving. The 'pattern analysis triangle' and 'routine activity theory'. You'll examine the methodologies used for conducting crime prevention surveys and how these are utilised by CDRP partners.
  • 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.
  • Mass Disasters
    You'll be introduced to the field of mass disaster planning and response, covering a range of aspects from what classifies as a mass disaster to planning, management and preparedness. You'll learn the complexity of different types of disaster operations from a variety of viewpoints, including expert practitioners dealing with the human remains to those dealing with the victim's families and role of the public services. You'll experience mock disaster scenarios and will be expected to take on various roles in order to overcome the challenges you're faced with during the practical sessions. Practical sessions will guide you through the processes of different aspects of disaster response including search and recovery, logging of personal effects, Interpol DVI forms for collection of ante mortem and post-mortem information, and other specialist roles (such as Odontologists, Pathologists, Coroners, APTs and Anthropologists).


We’ll assess your progress using exams and essay assignments, as well as your performance in practical work, presentations, classwork and role play.

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?

University Centre Peterborough
University Centre Peterborough

University Centre Peterborough (or UCP) is our modern campus in the heart of an historic city.

Explore UCP

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)*


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.

Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you’re studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity, or 60 credits per year). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period, or for more credits. All fees are for guidance purposes only. Your offer letter will contain full details of credits and fees, or you can contact us if you'd like more information.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

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

Loans and fee payments


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 students

Most new UK undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This also applies to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have citizens' rights following Brexit.

Government funding 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 range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Entry requirements

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72 UCAS tariff points. GCSEs required: 5 GCSEs at grade C or above in English, Mathematics and Science.

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

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.

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UK and EU applicants

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UK and EU students

Apply for 2021

UCAScode: F411

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UK and EU students

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