Forensic Investigation

BSc single honours or in combination with either Applied Criminology, Archaeology, Biosciences or Psychology Forensic Investigation with Foundation Year 2018/19

Year of entry

Clearing places available

A number of our degrees are also offered with an additional foundation year (Year 0). Whether you are a school-leaver or someone considering returning to study but don’t have the entry requirements for your chosen subject, a foundation year course may be just what you’re looking for.

A foundation year is the first year of a four year programme which:

  • provides an introduction not only to study at University but also to your chosen subject
  • offers you a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Following the Foundation Year you will go on to explore areas including:

  • police investigation
  • cybercrime
  • forensic intelligence and research
  • the criminal justice system.

Crime is a part of everyday life and forensic investigators are key players in investigating and resolving crime. Excellent forensic investigators exhibit key characteristics and this degree programme enables you to development these characteristics, while also providing a range of opportunities for personal and professional growth.

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, post­mortem 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


Foundation Year

Biological concepts

This module aims to aims to introduce students to the central principles of biology, namely the basic structure, function and variety of living organisms and how they reproduce. It also aims to give students the basic transferable skills needed to understand scientific reasoning and to undertake scientific investigations.

Advancing biology

The aim of this module is to build on material learned in the module ‘Biological concepts’. Elements of genetics and molecular biology are extended and you will be introduced to various facets of the environmental sciences, including ecology and conservation, agricultural science, and pollution science. The module also aims to extend your practical skills within the life sciences.

Principles of chemistry

This is an introductory module that aims to develop your familiarity with fundamental chemical concepts such as atomic structure, chemical nomenclature, bonding, stoichiometry and a range of chemical reactions. The module also aims to develop your basic chemistry laboratory skills.

Advancing chemistry

This module aims to build on the knowledge acquired in Principles of Chemistry and to explore different fields within the subject of chemistry (physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and environmental chemistry). The module will also further develop your laboratory skills.

Physical laws of the natural world

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the physical concepts that underpin all of science and how physics are studied in the natural sciences. You will develop an understanding of how physical laws are used to describe natural phenomena and how they may be applied to gain a deeper knowledge of particular systems and processes.

Study skills

The course aims to give you the basic transferable skills needed to understand and practice scientific reasoning, to undertake scientific investigations and to communicate effectively scientific ideas and outcomes.

Year one

Single Hons Forensic Investigation Core Modules

  • An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System*
  • Introduction to Forensic Investigation*
  • Forensic Practice and Law*
  • Science for Forensic Investigation 

Combined Hons Forensic Investigation Core Modules

All combined hons programmes study Introduction to Forensic Investigation and Forensic Practice and Law as core modules

Likely optional modules

Your optional modules will depend on your specific programme, but as a programme the following modules are likely to be available as optional.

  • An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System*
  • Crime Science
  • Cybercrime*
  • Law and Criminal Justice*
  • Psychology and Crime
  • Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 1
  • A Language Module

*Please note these modules are subject to validation

Year two

Single Hons Forensic Investigation Core Modules

  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Biology
  • Research Methods for Forensic Investigation
  • Drugs and Toxicology

Combined Hons Forensic Investigation Core Modules

If you combine with Bioscience then your core modules will be Forensic Biology and Drugs and Toxicology. All other combinations study Crime Scene Investigation and Recovery and Identification of Human Remains as the core modules.

Likely optional modules

Your optional modules will depend on your specific programme, but as a programme the following modules are likely to be available as optional.

  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Investigating Cybercrime*
  • Reconstructing Crime Events
  • Recovery and Identification of Human Remains
  • Psychology and The Criminal Justice System
  • Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 2

*Please note these modules are subject to validation

Year three

Single Hons Forensic Investigation Core Modules

  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Forensic Individual Study
  • Expert and Professional Witnesses

Combined Hons Forensic Investigation Core Modules

The core modules for combined hons programmes vary according to the other subject. Hence if you combine with Bioscience then your core modules will be Forensic Chemistry and Expert and Professional Witnesses. Students that combine Forensic Investigation with either Applied Criminology or Psychology study Fire and Explosion Investigation and Expert and Professional Witnesses as core modules. All other combinations study Crime Scene Management and Expert and Professional Witnesses as the core modules.

Likely optional modules

  • Crime Scene Management
  • Fire and Explosion Investigation
  • Forensic Criminalistics
  • Forensic DNA Profiling
  • Forensic Individual Study
  • Modelling Crime Events
  • Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 3
  • Psychology of Serious and Prolific Offending 

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 ex­students 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 first­hand 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 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,165 N/A
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,500

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

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2018/19 only. Please read the 2018/19 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2018/19 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

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) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
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, well­structured and supportive environment, with a balance of encouragement and constructive feedback, in order to enable students to develop self­confidence 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, computer­based assessment and on­line 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

Need some help?

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

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • F413 Forensic Investigation with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2018

Entry requirements

  • Applicants do not require formal qualifications but should be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in the subject and English language skills to the equivalent of GCSE Grade C.More entry requirement details.

    This course can also be studied over four years with an initial foundation year (Year 0) for those without the formal entry qualifications. It is designed to provide you with the grounding you need to progress on to this degree.



Last edited 10/08/2018 11:45:00

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Last edited: 10/08/2018 11:45:00