Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

University Centre Peterborough



Develop a thorough knowledge of forensic crime scene investigation, police and criminal justice procedures, and key criminological theories on this wide-ranging course.

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

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 (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.

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
    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.
  • 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).

Year three, core modules

  • 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.
  • Youth Justice
    Explore areas relating to youth crime and the different methods in which they are managed within the criminal justice system. Discuss the difference in treatment between young offenders and adult offenders within the court system and the reasoning behind such policies. You’ll cover legislation arising from the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, such as anti-social behaviour orders and the more informal anti-social behaviour contract and how these have been extended through the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. You’ll explore the different roles found within the Youth Offending Service, allowing you to gain an understanding into the diverse services that can be provided to young offenders. You’ll also examine the various orders given by the courts that they must supervise, such as Reparation Orders and Supervision Orders, in addition to the Pre-Sentence reports that they must complete for the courts. You’ll look at Detention and Training Orders and the different facilities in which those subjected to such an order may be placed. As general attitudes change over time, as so do attitudes to the kinds of behaviour that is labelled as criminal, so you’ll realise that 'criminal' is no more than a label attached to different types of behaviour the different times in different societies. You’ll look at the criminal law in England and Wales and at the powers that the police possess to bring offenders before the court as well as various aspects of the criminal act such as actus reus and mens rea.
  • Impact of Crime
    This module will explore the impact that crime has on society, both past and present. It'll be approached from different viewpoints in order to ascertain how we're all affected in different ways by crime. The concepts of ''fear of crime'', ''perceived crime'' and ''actual crime'' will be discussed, along with the effect that each has on different groups within society. The current penal system will also be explored to ascertain how society views the different forms of punishment, and how this has an impact of people's views on crime and disorder. The ''cost of crime'' will also be discussed at length in addition to current crime statistics to see whether or not the government's spending on crime is justified.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.

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Fees & funding

Course fees

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.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

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


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.

Entry requirements

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

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.

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Get more information

UK and EU applicants

+44 (0)1733 838210

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UK and EU students

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