Forensic Investigation

BSc single honours or in combination with either Applied Criminology, Archaeology, Biosciences or Psychology Forensic Investigation 2017/18

Year of entry

Our degree in Applied Criminology and Forensic Investigation has a 82% overall student satisfaction rating.

National Student Survey, 2016

We believe that excellent forensic investigators exhibit key features, and our course encourages development of these features in our students. Knowledge of key theory is achieved through the

compulsory elements of the curriculum, while optional modules provide variety. Our students report that our curriculum is engaging and exciting, while visiting lecturers state that the course is current, accurate, innovative and aligned to the requirements of forensic employers.

Practical experience is vital and allows you to put theory into practice and we house a range of crime scene, laboratory, policing and court facilities to allow you to develop practical skills. High quality mentoring is also important and our staff have all worked as practitioners/researchers in the forensic field and therefore have significant experience that they are able to pass on to you. Finally, self-awareness is a key personal quality for forensic investigators, as it enables you to develop all aspects of your practice and therefore, our ethos is to invest in our students. This investment is highly valued by our students and visiting practitioners, as is the holistic nature of our educational approach.

“Choosing to study Forensic Investigation was a great decision for me because it has helped me to gain confidence in the use and application of multiple forensic techniques.”

Natasha Mallett, Forensic Investigation student

Our forensic investigation degree is delivered by staff who have worked as practitioners within the forensic field and we therefore have a wealth of experience that brings the theory to life and we have an excellent understanding of the core knowledge and skills required for forensic roles.  We also have a range of visiting lecturers, who are practitioners working in the forensic field currently, who support the core content of the course with lectures about their field of expertise.

The scope of the forensic investigation course is innovative, as the compulsory modules enable you to gain a solid grounding in core areas of forensic investigation, while the optional modules allow you to either focus on forensic investigation or explore related professions, such as policing, law, psychology and cybercrime and this variety is appreciated by our students and highly regarded by forensic professionals/ employers.

In addition to ensuring that the scope, quality and currency of the programme content meets the demands of forensic employers, we have also embedded a significant amount of practical and laboratory work into the crime scene and forensic science modules, to enable the development of practical skills, competency in completing forensic documentation and an understanding of the application of concepts to real cases. We also support our students in gaining work experience in the field through volunteer work, paid work, projects with external partners and through regular exposure to forensic professionals through guest lectures, again increasing the chance of employment.

Finally, we view our students as partners in learning, as you know the career that you wish to embark on and we understand the knowledge, skills and personal qualities required to achieve that career.  We know that self-awareness is very important in forensic careers and we therefore invest significant resources in helping you to understand yourself as a practitioner and provide you with opportunities to develop your academic and professional skills and to work on personal qualities (e.g. confidence) that may impact your chances of attaining employment. This holistic approach is appreciated by our students and has been noted as excellent and innovative practice by professionals working in the field.

In 2014, one of our final year students entered the Forensic and Policing Services Association (FAPSA) essay competition and she achieved second place and a special mention on their website regarding the quality of her work.

Forensic Investigation is a career that is challenging, progressive, exciting, rewarding and truly remarkable and is perfect for those who are inquisitive, resilient, dedicated, good at problem solving and enjoy working in a team. If you want an interesting, engaging and unusual degree programme, Forensic Investigation may be the degree for you.  

Our teaching team and visiting lecturers ensure that the course is always current, relevant and focused on preparing you for forensic careers. You will have the opportunity to network with professionals working in the field, which often leads to work experience and project opportunities.

“Choosing to study Forensic Investigation was a great decision for me because to start with I learned about the whole evidence process from crime scene to court, then I was able to gain practical experience in applying theoretical knowledge through practical crime scene and laboratory sessions.”

Hellen Frost, Forensic Investigation student

Three members of the forensic teaching team advised and starred on an episode of the BBC Top Gear programme, which investigated forensic evidence that could be found in used cars.

The Forensic Investigation degree course enables you to develop a solid foundation in core forensic themes including Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Science and Interpretation and Presentation of Forensic Evidence (the proportion of each depending on the overall degree title). The course was designed using the QAA Benchmarks for Forensic degree courses, therefore providing you with the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills that are valued by forensic and related employers.

To complement these core themes, you will be able to choose from a range of optional modules, including modules exploring police investigation, cybercrime, forensic intelligence, criminal psychology, forensic research, the criminal justice system and specialist forensic disciplines.

Work experience

We promote volunteering to our students and provide support and advice in identifying and applying for volunteering posts and work experience. We also provide some opportunities for students to work in the university as lab demonstrators and often invite our graduates back to deliver sessions on the course. These activities can be recorded with the university and lead to an extracurricular award.

When an opportunity for a visit arises, we make it available for students.  For example, students have attended mock crime scene exercises within police forces, post-mortem examinations, shooting range trip and court trips in the past.  

All members of the forensic team have been repeatedly nominated by our students for Golden Apple Awards which are internal teaching excellence awards and two members of staff have won the faculty award.

One member of the teaching team is a trained coach and mentor and has injected this influence into the degree course structure, to enable students to develop as people and professionals, in addition to learning the subject. It is often personal qualities such as confidence that prevents us from reaching our potential, and this approach is actively helping students to overcome issues that might impact their success.

Other information

As access to forensic and policing facilities is very restricted due to security issues, we hire a range of guest lecturers to come to the university and provide lectures or practical sessions on their area of expertise. These lecturers are professionals who are currently working in the field and these professionals often go beyond their lecturing remit to support students in accessing information, gaining work experience or giving careers advice. 

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info


Year one

Core modules

An Overview of Justice (SHons and FIArch/FIPsych only)
Principles of Forensic Investigation (all students)
Psychology and Crime (FICrim)
Skills for Forensic Investigators (all students)
Science For Forensic Investigators (SHons and FIBios only)

Likely optional modules

Psychology & Crime (SHons)
Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 1 (SHons)
A Language Module

Year two

Core modules

Crime Scene Investigation (SHons, FICrim, FIArch, FIPsych)
Forensic Biology (SHons & FIBios)*
Research Methods for Forensic Investigation (SHons only)
Scientific Methods (SHons & FIBios)*

*Likely to be changed this year

Likely optional modules

Crime Scene Investigation (FIBios only)
Criminal Investigation (all students)
Cybercrime (all students)
Psychology & The Criminal Justice System (SHons, FICrim, FIPsych, FIArch)
Reconstructing Crime Events (all students)*
Recovery & Identification Of Human Remains (all students)*

*Combined honours students must choose one of these modules

Year three

Core modules

Fire and Explosion Investigation (SHons, FICrim, FIArch, FIPsych)
Forensic Chemistry (SHons and FIBios only)*
Interpretation and Presentation of Forensic Evidence (all students)*
Forensic Individual Study (SHons only)

*Likely to be changed this year

Likely optional modules

Crime Scene Management (all students)
Fire & Explosion Investigation (FIBios only)
Forensic Criminalistics (all students)
Forensic Individual Study (FIBios, FICrim, FIPsych, FIArch)
Forensic Intelligence & Modelling (all students)
Investigating Cybercrime (all students)
Psychology of Serious & Prolific Offending  (SHons, FICrim, FIPsych, FIArch)

This course provides an excellent grounding for any career that involves the collection, analysis and interpretation of evidence, as these skills are taught in core modules and transferable to many careers. The graduate (or key) skills that are routinely required by employers are embedded into the Forensic Investigation curriculum and therefore, graduates are normally able to evidence these skills, preparing them for a range of careers and this is evidenced by ex-students who have secured positions in forensic organisations, police forces, prisons, medical laboratories, schools, universities and many went on to do higher degree study.

One of our students volunteered for Kent Police for one year and was placed within the CID office during that time, thereby liaising with detectives and gaining first-hand experience of criminal investigation.

Several of our students have become special constable and are therefore operational police officers while doing their degree course, which provides invaluable experience and also provides them with the opportunity to network and apply for jobs advertised internally within the police.

“The Forensic Investigation course at Canterbury Christ Church University has enabled me to develop a solid foundation of knowledge and practical skills required in the field. The modules involved are relevant and include a perfect balance between classwork and practical work. The lecturers are extremely supportive in all aspects, and they cater to each individual student, for them to reach their highest potential.”

Jessica Man, Forensic Investigation graduate


The 2017/18 annual tuition fees for this course are:

Full-time £9,250*  £11,000** 
Part-time £4,625  N/A 

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

*Full-time courses which have a Foundation Year 0 will have a 2017/18 UK/EU tuition fee of £6,165 in Year 0.

**Tuition Fee Scholarship discounts of £1,500 are available to eligible overseas students. Visit the International webpages for further information.

Please read the 2017/18 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2017/18 tuition fees and year on year fee increases

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) Yes, if the trip contributes to the course (whether it is part of an optional or compulsory module), but not including food and drink. Yes, if the trip is not an essential part of the course but is offered as an enhancement or enrichment activity, or for a student’s personal development.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

“The thing I liked most about the forensic investigation course was the staff. They really care about you and give you a lot of help and support, while also being friendly and funny too.”

Christina Rookes , Forensic Investigation graduate

The programme team aims to provide a friendly, well-structured and supportive environment, with a balance of encouragement and constructive feedback, in order to enable students to develop self-confidence along with academic and practical competency. The main methods of teaching and learning are lectures, seminars, tutorials, online materials, practical sessions and laboratory sessions, simulations and there is also extensive group work throughout the programme to enhance team and communication skills, and to encourage peer mingling and support. It is expected that students will progressively develop independence and take more responsibility for their own learning over the three years of study.

Academic input

The core forensic team consists of four senior lecturers, one lecturer and a technician within the forensic team and this team is further supported by staff from other disciplines within Criminology, Policing and Law and a range of external lecturers, who engage in teaching and assessment activities and support the core team in developing opportunities for trips, collaborative projects and networking. This combination offers a strong stable core of staff who focus on core concepts and skills, while externals bring extra variety both in content and real life case information. Peer mentors (more experienced who prove themselves to be very competent) are also employed to provided additional support from a student perspective, which has proven to be invaluable to our students.

Surprising terms

Some of our year two and three modules have prerequisite modules, which you must have studied in a previous year.  You will be advised of these when choosing options each year to ensure you make informed choices.

The assessment methods used include various forms of written assignment (e.g. essays, reports, reflective and critical journals and a dissertation), practical reports (e.g. forensic documentation, witness statements, scientific papers and  laboratory reports), presentations (i.e. case study / scientific paper / task group presentations and mock courts), task orientated assignments (e.g. data handling, computer-based assessment and on-line discussions) and examinations (e.g. multiple  choice, short answer and essay questions).

“I just wanted to say thank you for all your help and support throughout my degree, without you I definitely couldn’t have done so well.”

Hailey Adams , Forensic Investigation graduate

The forensic facilities include a range of crime scenes, including cars, crime scene rooms, fire scenes and outside scenes and a forensic workshop and range of science laboratories.  A wide range of forensic equipment is housed within these areas and the facilities and equipment used depends on whether you study Forensic Investigation as a single or combined honours degree.

We have a dedicated crime scene facility containing eight internal rooms and two outdoor scenes, a forensic workshop, five science laboratories, an incident room, a Hydra simulation centre and facilities to simulate courtroom scenarios, all with relevant equipment attached. One of our teaching rooms is an old courtroom, attached to the former Canterbury Prison.

We use our practical experience to generate realistic and complex scenarios to challenge your mind, your skills and the common misconceptions about crime.

“I loved all the lab exercises, very interesting, great equipment! What I liked the most about my experience was the way lecturers delivered the lectures. They are funny, experienced, full of great stories, and make studying a lot more fun and enjoyable. They were always ready to help any time I needed tutorial or had a question/problem.”

Denitsa Lazarova, Forensic Investigation graduate

We have a range of external professionals involved in the delivery of the course and these professionals also act as advisors to the core lecturing team.  They advise us on changes in legislation, procedure and trends, and aid the core team in course development, thereby ensuring that our degree is current, accurate and relevant to forensic employers.

We actively consult and collaborate with a range of forensic and related organisations and these change on a yearly basis, in response to changing operational commitments of these organisations and trends in forensic investigation. Past collaborations include Kent Police, Kent Fire Brigade and a range of independent laboratories.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Admissions Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 782900


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS code

  • F410 Forensic Investigation
  • F413 Forensic Investigation (4 years with Foundation)

Institutional code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2017

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 05/04/2017 11:21:00