Forensic Investigation

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

Year of entry

Clearing places available

Forensics occupies a prominent place in the news and entertainment media, and this popular course offers an engaging exploration of this subject.

We believe practical experience is vital, so we house a range of crime scene, laboratory, policing and court facilities to allow you to develop practical skills in a realistic environment. You will develop a solid foundation in core forensic themes of crime scene investigation, forensic science and the interpretation and presentation of forensic evidence. Single honours students have the opportunity to study forensic sciences in greater depth.

You will explore areas including:

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

91% of our Forensic Investigation students were satisfied with the academic support on their course.

National Student Survey, 2017

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


Year one

Core modules

  • An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (SHons)
  • An Introduction to Forensic Investigation (all students)
  • Forensic Practice and Law (all students)
  • Science For Forensic Investigators (SHons and FIBios only)

Likely optional modules

  • An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (FICrim, FIArch, FIPsych)
  • Psychology & Crime (option for all students)
  • Cybercrime (option for all students)
  • Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 1 (SHons)
  • Law and the CJS (Option for all students)
  • 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)
  • Drugs and Toxicology (SHons & FIBios)
  • Recovery and Identification of Human Remains (FICrim, FIArch, FIPsych)

Likely optional modules

  • Crime Scene Investigation (FIBios only)
  • Criminal Investigation (option for all students)
  • Reconstructing Crime Events (option for all students)
  • Psychology & the Criminal Justice System (option for all students)
  • Recovery & Identification of Human Remains (SHons and FIBios)
  • Investigating Cybercrime (option for all students)

Year three

Core modules

  • Forensic Chemistry (SHons and FIBios only)
  • Expert and Professional Witnesses (all students)
  • Forensic Individual Study (SHons only)
  • Fire and Explosion Investigation (FICrim only)
  • Crime Scene Management (FIArch only)

Likely optional modules

  • Forensic Individual Study (FIBios, FIArch, FIPsych, FICrim)
  • Fire and Explosion Investigation (SHons, FIBios, FIArch, FIPsych)
  • Crime Scene Management (SHons, FIBios, FICrim, FIPsych)
  • Fire & Explosion Investigation (SHons, FIBios, FIArch, FIPsych only)
  • Forensic Criminalistics (option for all students)
  • Forensic Individual Study (FIBios, FICrim, FIPsych, FIArch)
  • Modelling Crime Events (option for all students)
  • Psychology of Serious & Prolific Offending  (option for all students)

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
Part-time * £4,625 N/A

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, 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 and laboratory sessions and simulations. 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, Law and a range of external lecturers. All of whom 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 students who prove themselves to be very competent) are also employed to provide additional support from a student perspective, which has proven to be invaluable for students.

Progression through the modules

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

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

Need some help?


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

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS course code

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

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2018

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 20/09/2018 15:29:00