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Ross, Policing (Criminal Investigation) graduate

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    3 years

    UCAS code:



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    Gain a solid grounding in police criminal investigations while also developing broad knowledge and skills that will set you up for a wide range of careers in criminal justice and beyond or further studies.

    Criminal investigation is a central part of police activity, and from looking at the news every day we can see how it influences the public perception of the police and their accountability and legitimacy.

    The increase in crime, and the way crime is committed today, provides very different challenges to the detectives of the past. On this course you will adopt a critical approach to criminal investigations, exploring police effectiveness in historic sexual and homicide investigations, public protection, and covert operations.

    You will also seek to understand the current context within which detectives work, including a national shortage of detectives, government austerity measures and the rise in technology and complex criminality.

    Why study Criminal Investigation?

    Studying Criminal Investigation gives you an exciting opportunity to critically analyse aspects of police investigations from different perspectives and understand the way in which crimes receive different levels of response depending on their perceived seriousness.

    Our expert teaching team have worked as practitioners or researchers within policing, criminology and related fields. They have an excellent understanding of the core knowledge, skills and personal qualities required for careers in the sector. They will help you to understand yourself as a professional and provide you with opportunities to develop your personal and professional skills, such as problem solving, critical evaluation, communication and presentation skills, and the ability to work independently as well as in teams.

    This course is an excellent choice if you want to gain a solid grounding in police criminal investigations while also developing broad knowledge and skills that will set you up for a wide range of careers in criminal justice and beyond or further studies.

      All about the course

      In Year 1, you will study key aspects of the policing function, focusing on areas such as law and policing, crime scene investigation and the criminal justice system. This will provide a good understanding of the context within which modern criminal investigations take place.

      In Years 2 and 3, you will gain deeper knowledge of criminal investigation as you study criminal investigation, evidence, investigative interviewing, human decision-making, major crime investigation, and investigating sexual and domestic abuse.

      You will be able to focus your studies on particular areas of interest through optional modules in areas such as human rights, cyber crime, terrorism and political violence, transnational crime, expert evidence and mental health and violence. In the final year you have the opportunity in the last semester to undertake either the gangs and serious youth offending module, or the miscarriages of justice module. The miscarriages of justice module allows students to investigate real potential miscarriages of justice and present findings to the charity inside justice.

      Throughout the course, particularly in years 2 and 3, you will consider aspects of the police function that relate to the National Intelligence Model, including how investigation of specific crimes link to the intelligence function, and the use of covert strategies within criminal investigations.

      In your final year, you have the opportunity to conduct independent research leading to your final 8,000 word dissertation. For this module you will choose a specific aspect of criminal investigation to study in depth with the support of an academic supervisor.

      Entry requirements

      Qualification type


      A Levels BCC
      BTEC DMM
      Access 6 Distinctions and 39 Merits
      International Baccalaureate 28 Points
      Combinations A combination of qualifications totalling 104 -112 UCAS points

      For more information on the IELTS (International English language Testing System) requirements for this course, please click here to visit our dedicated web page.

      More information about entry requirements.

      UCAS Points

      Module information

      Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. Modules will vary when studied in combination with another subject.

      Core/optional modules

      How you’ll learn

      The academic year is divided into two semesters and typically you'll undertake three 20 credit modules in each semester, with the exception of Year 3 where you'll complete a 40 credit dissertation over two semesters.

      You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshops. You will typically have around 14 contact hours per week. However, your actual contact hours depend on the option modules you select.

      Seminars in smaller groups will enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures. In addition, you will meet with your personal academic tutor (PAT), who will be able to assist you with any queries or problems that you may have. They will also be able to signpost you to any of the University services should you need them.

      All courses are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2022.

      When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars.

      Your module tutors will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class.

      For the dissertation in Year 3, you will undertake independent research on a criminal investigation topic of your choice. You will work under the supervision of a member of the course team who you will meet with regularly.

      Your overall workload typically consists of 14 contact hours per week. In addition, you will undertake around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity per week.

      For each 20 credit module, your study time is about 10 hours per week.

      The teaching team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience in criminology, policing and other related fields.

      All our team members hold doctoral and teaching qualifications. They are research-active and have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team web page. You should note that members of the teaching team might change.

      Postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars. We also invite expert speakers from to provide you with insights from criminal justice professions.

      Our knowledgeable, inspiring team is committed to providing you with the best education to enable you to to secure a number of different occupations in the public or private sector.

      Dr Martin O'NeillSenior Lecturer

      How you’ll be assessed

      The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Some modules contain a piece of practice or 'formative' assessment for which you can receive feedback from your module tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

      There is a formal or 'summative' assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, posters, portfolios, performance, individual and group presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.


      You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

      We aim to provide you with feedback within 10 working days of hand-in (i.e. any practice assessment) and 20 working days of hand-in (formal coursework assessment).

      75% coursework (including presentations, essays, portfolios, group work, practicals)
      25% written exams

      Your future career

      The choice of careers following graduation is wide and varied. Previous graduates have decided to join the police through the traditional route, others have decided to apply for either direct entry detective (Metropolitan Police), or fast track detective programme (i.e. Kent Police). Further opportunities exist as investigators for: National Crime Agency, the Military, Independent Office for Police Conduct, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Security Services, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and so on.

      Other graduates have obtained jobs inside the criminal justice system, such as HM probation Service, HM Prison Service, the UK Border Force, etc.

      Graduates may also look at the private sector for security related and investigative roles too.

      In addition, there are a number charitable and voluntary organisations working with the criminal justice sector with vulnerable groups, such as Victim Support, Mind, Shelter, Nacro, Prince’s Trust, Porchlight, Barnardo’s, etc. offering suitable job opportunities.

      It is important to note that the knowledge and skills that you gain from undertaking a criminal investigation degree are transferable to other careers and therefore you could embark on a wide range of career pathways, and should not feel tied to the professions or other opportunities listed above.

      Some students opt to undertake further research, and go on to study Masters by Research postgraduate degrees on criminal investigation topics of their choice. Others opt to study at Masters level either with a different department (i.e. Law), or at another university that offers postgraduate courses of their choice.

      The course is ideal for anyone aiming for a career within the police service as well as those looking to go into other roles within the law enforcement and security sector. The course material provides students with all the necessary knowledge as well as the necessary skills for the practical application of it within a working environment. The staff themselves have a vast knowledge from their own careers within policing, allowing them to provide invaluable guidance to the students.


      Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

      of our Policing (Criminal Investigation) students were in jobs or further study 15 months after finishing their course


      The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for this course are:

        UK** Overseas***
      Full-time £9,250 £14,500
      Part-time £4,625 £7,250

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

      Please read the 2022/23 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2022/23 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

      **Home (UK) Fees

      The fees above are for the 2022/23 academic year but may be subject to change following any announcements by the UK Government (approved by Parliament) regarding maximum Undergraduate tuition fee caps for 2022/23.

      In addition, the University reserves the right to increase all full-time and part-time Undergraduate tuition fees mid-course, in line with any further inflationary increase in the Government tuition fee cap which is approved by Parliament. The University will publish information about any changes to tuition fees on its website.

      ***Overseas Fees (including EU fees):

      Undergraduate Overseas tuition fees for International students are not subject to the Government’s regulations on maximum tuition fees.

      Students with an Overseas fee status will be eligible for an International student Scholarship fee discount of £1,500, which will be applied to all Full-time Undergraduate courses with a tuition fee of £14,500.

      Students with an EU fee status will be eligible for the EEA Transition Scholarship. Further details can be found here:

      Diamond Jubilee Scholarships and Bursaries

      To celebrate 60 years of transforming lives through education new cash bursary and scholarship opportunities are available for students starting a degree in September 2022. See full details.

      Specialist facilities

      Our School has invested significantly in a Hydra suite that will allow our students to simulate crime scenarios under ‘close-to-real’ conditions You will have the opportunity to use the Hydra facility during some modules (e.g. decision making) to allow you to directly experience highly realistic incidents, situations and scenarios as part of your integrated learning.. You will also be able to gain some applied knowledge of criminal justice processes through our ‘courtroom’ which is a lecture theatre which simulates a courtroom and which used to be a courtroom in the past.

      Guest lecturers

      Guest lecturers are professionals currently working in criminal justice areas or organisations or individuals who come to Christ Church to deliver a lecture, seminar or workshop, or attend one of the careers events we arrange for you. This allows you to have direct contact with professionals working in the field, which allows you to network and opens up opportunities for work experience and employment and also allows you to gain insights into specific areas of the criminal justice system from people who currently practice or research in a relevant area.

      We also invite individuals who have a specific experience that allows you to gain an insight into a specific aspect of crime, such as victims of crime, where appropriate and possible.

      Regulated by the Office for Students

      The Office for Students (OfS) regulates Canterbury Christ Church University. The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. It aims to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. Further details about its work are available on the OfS website.

      Apply now


      3 years

      UCAS code:



      Apply via UCAS

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