Forensic Investigation

BSc Single Honours or in combination with either Applied Criminology, Archaeology, Biosciences or Psychology Forensic Investigation 2019/20

Year of entry

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

Forensic careers are exciting, challenging, rewarding and really make a difference to people and society and in a world where crime is a part of everyday life, there are ample opportunities and avenues that you could follow having studied Forensic Investigation at degree level.  Forensic investigators are key players in investigating and solving crime and they often provide the evidence that ensures that offenders are brought to justice and this makes for a remarkable career.  This programme prepares you for these careers by giving you the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of forensic theories, practices, procedures, cases and the criminal justice system as a whole, while also giving you the opportunity to develop excellent practical skills, using a range of crime scenes, laboratories, policing and court facilities and the experience of the staff, who are ex-forensic practitioners. Our students say that the Forensic Investigation programme is engaging and exciting and the extensive experience of the teaching team is invaluable, while current forensic professionals confirm that the course is current, accurate, innovative and relevant to a range of careers. 

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 the forensic professionals and companies who hire forensic professionals.  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 a range of forensic documentation that you will use when you are employed in the field and an understanding of the application of concepts to real cases.

“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 and arrange trips and visits where possible to allow you to put your knowledge into context.  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 personal and professional skills, such as problem solving skills, the ability to critical evaluate, communication skills, presentation skills and the ability to work alone and in teams.  We also support you in developing the personal qualities that may impact your chances of attaining employment, such as confidence, resilience and curiosity. This holistic approach is appreciated by our students and has been noted as excellent and innovative practice by professionals working in the field. 

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.

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.

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“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

Members of the Forensic Investigation Staff have worked on high profile forensic cases, such as the London Bombings, the Phuket Tsunami and the Torso in the Thames case.

The Forensic Investigation degree programme 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.

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.

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

 

* Students Combining With Archaeology, Criminology, Psychology

# Students Combining With Science Programmes 

Year 1

Introduction to Forensic Investigation (20 Credits)

(Core For All Single and Combined Honours)

This module examines the key forensic concepts that underpin the entire degree programme, such as the principle of evidence (what constitutes forensic evidence?), Locard’s exchange principle (‘every contact leaves a trace’) and individualisation (linking evidence to particular sources).  You will also be introduced to key investigative concepts, such as logic, reasoning and building arguments, so that you develop an ability to assess the value of forensic evidence within the context of a specific investigation.

An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours)

This module provides you with an overview of the entire criminal justice system and aims to develop your understanding of the people, companies and agencies involved in criminal justice and how the key players interact at all stages of the criminal process, from initial reporting of an offence to the reintegration of offenders into society after they have served their custodial sentence. Case studies are used throughout the module to demonstrate the key theories.

Forensic Practice and Law (20 Credits)

(Core For All Single and Combined Honours)

The module develops the concepts you study in ‘Introduction to Forensic Investigation’ further and explores the multi-agency approach to criminal investigations in more detail.  Particular focus is placed on the relationship between law and forensic investigation and the significance of  the chain of evidence from crime scene to court and you will gain a thorough understanding of the multi-agency approach used in forensic investigations and the roles of key personnel involved in forensic investigations. 

Science for Forensic Investigation (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours)

This module provides you with the opportunity to learn the essential biological concepts, chemistry principles and mathematical models that provide the basis for science modules taught in year 2 and 3.  The module is taught within a range of forensic contexts and the assessments in the module improve your ability to learn and retain information, apply scientific information to forensic cases and to interpret the value of forensic evidence using logic and mathematical methods, which are all essential skills for a forensic investigator.

Year 2

Crime Scene Investigation (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours)

This is the fundamental module that explores crime scene investigation theories, procedures and methods and it includes topics such as contamination, search methods, recovery and packaging of evidence. There is a significant practical component and this provides you with valuable experience in the examination of volume and major crime scenes. You will also learn how to follow standardised forensic procedures and complete forensic documentation and the module also aims to dispel the myths around crime scene investigation.

Drugs and Toxicology (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This module aims to develop your understanding of the legislation and chemistry of controlled substances in order to gain an understanding of the methods that can be used to investigate drugs offences and toxicology cases. This module makes extensive use of scientific analytical instruments and develops your understanding of key analytical instruments through taught theory, while also enabling you to build competency in the practical analysis of controlled substances and toxicological samples. The practical work in the module encourages development of interpretation skills with respect to drug and toxicology results.

Forensic Biology (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This module focusses on the key evidence types encountered by the forensic biologist, including blood pattern analysis, analysis of body fluids (particularly blood, semen and saliva), analysis of hairs and fibres and DNA analysis. This module has a significant practical component allowing you to gain experience in analysing and interpreting the results from various types of biological evidence and the assessments in this module train you in forensic laboratory processes and paperwork, as well as developing your practical competency and your problem solving skills.

Research Methods for Forensic Investigation (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours)

This module prepares you for the Individual Study (dissertation) module in year 3 and improves your general research abilities, thereby improving your employability prospects and your ability to carry out general research on literature, which can improve your performance in assignments. The module progresses onto more advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods to enable you to develop the skills to carry out research, thereby preparing you for postgraduate study. 

Recovery & Identification of Human Remains (20 Credits)

(Core for Combined Honours*)

This module focuses on the methods and procedures involved in locating, recovering and identifying human remains.  It aims to provide an understanding of the key profession, such as pathology (post mortem examinations), odontology (use of teeth in identifying humans), anthropology (use of bones in forensic investigations), archaeology (locating and recovering human remains) and ecology (use of environmental materials in forensic investigations and focuses on mass disasters (e.g. tsunamis, bombings etc.) and mass graves, as specialist cases.

Year 3

Fire and Explosion Investigation (20 Credits)

(Core For Combined Honours#)

This module builds on the Crime Scene Investigation module studied in year 2 by applying the knowledge gained to the investigation of fire and explosion scenes, and where possible, the module is taught by current fire investigators and includes a trip to a fire facility where demonstrations of fire dynamics are provided. The practical component of the module allows you to gain valuable experience in fire and explosion scenes, and the assessments further develops your practical scene skills.

Forensic Chemistry (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This module builds on the chemistry learned in previous years and examines the key evidence types encountered by the forensic chemist, specifically ignitable liquids, explosive materials, inks and dyes, and environmental materials, such as soil samples and samples from oil spills. This module has a significant practical component allowing you to gain experience in analysing and interpreting the results from various types of chemical evidence. The assessments in the module provide an opportunity to hone your laboratory abilities, as well as gaining further experience with laboratory and court documentation.

Expert and Professional Witnesses (20 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This modules familiarises you with the English legal system in order to develop an understanding of the law, structure and processes that an investigator/scientist is required to adhere to when presenting their evidence in court. The roles, responsibilities and scope of both professional witnesses and expert witnesses are explored in detail, and the module culminates in moot court exercises that will build your confidence and practical experience.

Forensic Individual Study (40 Credits)

(Core For Single Honours Only)

This is an independent research project module, where you carry out research on a topic that you chose according to your own interests and career aspirations. You can select whether to do a literature based project or a practical project depending on the subject, and you will work alongside an academic supervisor who will guide you through the process. Forensic employers consider an independent research project to be a desirable experience for potential employees, as successful completion of such a project indicates independent thinking, problem solving, research abilities, resilience, and communication skills. Hence, this is a substantial piece of work and you work on this throughout the entire academic year.

Likely optional modules

Your optional modules will depend on your specific programme, but as a programme the following modules are available as optional modules within the Forensic Investigation programme.

Year 1

Crime Science (20 Credits)

(Optional For All Single & Combined Honours)

This module allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts and principles of existing scientific approaches and broader techniques in the prevention, investigation and detection of crime. The module explores ways in which the nature of crime can be informed by science and police investigative approaches and investigates how science can support detection, crime prevention and crime reduction.

Cybercrime (20 Credits)

(Optional For All Single & Combined Honours)

This module focuses on the technological advances that have occurred over recent years and considers how this has influenced crime and deviance and considers the challenges presented by ongoing developments in communication technologies and legislation.  The module also explores how these changes influence the methods used to investigate cybercrime, while also developing your awareness of the limitations and issues arising from these methods.

An Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)

(Optional For All Combined Honours)

This module provides you with an overview of the entire criminal justice system and aims to develop your understanding of the people, companies and agencies involved in criminal justice and how the key players interact at all stages of the criminal process, from initial reporting of an offence to the reintegration of offenders into society after they have served their custodial sentence. Case studies are used throughout the module to demonstrate the key theories.

Law and Criminal Justice (20 Credits)

(Optional For All Single & Combined Honours)

This module aims to introduce students to the criminal law and the criminal justice system in the UK. It will explore some of the basic legal principles necessary for understanding how the criminal law and criminal justice system operate. This module also aims to enable students to think critically about laws and legal processes. This will be achieved by exploring how social and political factors can influence the interpretation and enforcement of law.

Psychology and Crime (20 Credits)

(Optional For All Single & Combined Honours)

The module aims to introduce you to the discipline of psychology and its applications to the study of crime and offending behaviour. It explores a range of psychological theories and explores how these theories can be used to explain various types of crime and antisocial behaviour. The module also encourages students to critically evaluate the literature they read, by examining the strengths and limitations of relevant research and literature.

Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 1 (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single Honours Only)

This module allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding of basic police practice, policies and procedures in England and Wales and it is the first of three modules that embed the components enabling students to attain the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing, which is a nationally recognised qualification that  supports flexible entry into the police service. The module will focus on legislation and aspects of law such as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE 1984) and more generally legal reasoning and procedure and you will consider classification of offences, evidence gathering, search, arrest and detention. 

Year 2

Crime Scene Investigation (20 Credits)

(Optional For Combined Honours#)

This is the fundamental module that allows you to explore crime scene investigation theories, procedures and methods and it includes topics such as contamination, search methods, recovery and packaging of evidence. There is a significant practical component and this provides you with valuable experience in the examination of volume and major crime scenes. You will also learn how to follow standardised forensic procedures and complete forensic documentation and the module also aims to dispel the myths around crime scene investigation.

Criminal Investigation (20 Credits)

(Optional For All Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This module focuses on police investigations in the UK and the law underpinning these investigations, while also enabling you to become acquainted with the history, structure and function of investigative work in the UK as well as concepts and procedures and current practices relating to police investigations of volume, series and major crimes. In addition this module explores the current law in relation to police investigative powers, safeguards for suspects, and selected criminal offences.

Investigating Cybercrime (20 Credits)

(Optional For All Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This module builds on the themes encountered in Cybercrime, building your understanding of the challenges presented by new communication technologies and introducing you to a range of data recovery techniques that are used to support forensic investigations are explored.  You will also consider the validity, usefulness and reliability of these methods and increase your awareness of limitations and issues associated with cybercrime investigations.

Reconstructing Crime Events (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single Honours & Combined Honours)

The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the processes used to reconstruct events such as road traffic collisions and accidents/disasters in order to determine how they occurred and the actions of those who were involved. The module explores modelling methods and applies them to mock and real life examples and includes inputs from/on a range of professionals that reconstruct/model events.

Recovery and Identification of Human Remains (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This module focuses on the methods and procedures involved in locating, recovering and identifying human remains.  It aims to provide an understanding of the key profession, such as pathology (post mortem examinations), odontology (use of teeth in identifying humans), anthropology (use of bones in forensic investigations), archaeology (locating and recovering human remains) and ecology (use of environmental materials in forensic investigations and focuses on mass disasters (e.g. tsunamis, bombings etc.) and mass graves, as specialist cases.

Psychology and The Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single Honours & Combined Honours)

This module builds on the year 1 Psychology and Crime module, introduces forensic psychology and its impact on the criminal justice system and explores how psychology has influenced criminal justice procedures, impacted on police practice and given a better understanding of people involved in the criminal justice system such as: perpetrators, victims and witnesses. You will also learn about vulnerable people, such as those with addictions or mental health problems and the psychology of the court process and the prison system.

Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 2 (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single Honours)

This is the second of three modules, which embed within them components enabling the student to attain the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP), which is a nationally recognised qualification that supports flexible entry routes into the police service. This module focusses on legislation and relevant policing practices and policies relating to Volume Crime Investigation, providing an Initial Response to a Policing incident and Public safety. This module provides you with an introduction to the principles of the College of Policing Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP) further exploration of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and introduce relevant legislation such as Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act (CPIA) 1996 and considers the classification of offences relating to Public safety, how a police response is delivered and how evidence is gathered in order to bring offenders to Justice.  You also explore the fundamental aspects of a police officer’s duty, such as evidence gathering, case building and Interviewing of witnesses and suspects.

Year 3

Crime Scene Management (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single And Combined Honours)

This module extends the knowledge and understanding you obtained in the Crime Scene Investigation module by teaching the students about crime scene management and the role of the crime scene manager. This module continues the theme that crime scenes and people are sources of forensic evidence and provides more in-depth teaching on the roles and procedures of modern crime scene investigators and, in particular, develops your practical skills relating to crime scene investigations and the management of personnel and evidential resources in support of enquiries. This will include your ability to recognise, record, recover and contextualise fingerprints, shoe marks, tool marks, DNA evidence and other forms of material relevant to volume and major crime scenes.

Fire and Explosion Investigation (20 Credits)

(Optional for Some Combined Honours*#)

This module builds on the Crime Scene Investigation module studied in year 2 by applying the knowledge gained to the investigation of fire and explosion scenes, and where possible, the module is taught by current fire investigators and includes a trip to a fire facility where demonstrations of fire dynamics are provided. The practical component of the module allows you to gain valuable experience in fire and explosion scenes, and the assessments further develops your practical scene skills.

Forensic Criminalistics (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single And Combined Honours)

This module investigates the collection, analysis and interpretation of a range of physical evidence types, with particular focus on marks and impressions, ballistics and documents. Critical scrutiny of these techniques will be a key aspect of the module, using case studies to illustrate key points and the concepts will be applied practically through compulsory practical sessions based on mock exhibits. This module includes extensive practical work, developing competency in laboratory work and completion of forensic documentation.

Forensic DNA Profiling (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single And Some Combined Honours#)

This module explores the history of DNA profiling and the use of human DNA as a forensic tool and you will explore the principles and concepts on which DNA profiling is based. You will then focus on core DNA Profiling methods used in forensic laboratories, receiving with in-depth teaching on these key methods, using cases involving DNA as key evidence to illustrate the importance of the evidence type. You will also have the opportunity to explore a range of specialized DNA methods, such as mtDNA profiling, YSTR profiling, paternity testing and low copy DNA profiling.

Forensic Individual Study (20 Credits)

(Optional for All Combined Honours*#)

This is an independent research project module, where you carry out research on a topic that you chose according to your own interests and career aspirations. You can select whether to do a literature based project or a practical project depending on the subject, and you will work alongside an academic supervisor who will guide you through the process. Forensic employers consider an independent research project to be a desirable experience for potential employees, as successful completion of such a project indicates independent thinking, problem solving, research abilities, resilience, and communication skills. Hence, this is a substantial piece of work and you work on this throughout the entire academic year.

Modelling Crime Events (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single And Combined Honours)

The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the potential of intelligence systems within the forensic investigation process, and the application of modelling techniques for crime scene reconstruction. The intelligence systems are not just employed by investigators in a ‘reactive’ manner (for example, in the use of DNA databases) but increasingly more proactively. Modelling is used to derive testable hypotheses for events before, during and after a crime and is often based upon principles from the physical sciences.

Policing Policy, Practice and Procedures 3 (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single Honours)

This is the third of three modules, which embed within them components enable you to attain the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP), which is a nationally recognised qualification which supports flexible entry routes into the police service. This module focuses on legislation and relevant policing practices and policies relating to Public Protection including child sexual exploitation, sexual offences, missing persons and Domestic abuse and includes a detailed exploration of the legislation relating to interviewing both witnesses and suspects and the skills required to conduct such interviews and other fundamental policing skills.

Psychology of Serious and Prolific Offending (20 Credits)

(Optional For Single And Combined Honours)

The module aims to explore specialist areas of research and application within criminal and forensic psychology, particularly in relation to serious and prolific offending behaviours and ways to address them. The module will critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the featured research and literature and in doing so facilitate students’ development of both subject specific and transferable skills appropriate to the level of study.

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.

This course provides an excellent grounding for any career that involves the collection, analysis and interpretation of information or 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 constables 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.

Several of our students have secured work with emergency services, such as policing, paramedic and within the fire service, as these services value the investigation nature of the programme and the resilience of the graduates produced.

Many of our students progress to postgraduate study to study Masters degrees and PhDs.

“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

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900
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 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 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

CategoryDescription
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

Teaching

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions and you will typically have around 14 class contact hours per week, supported by additional online materials. Your actual contact hours depend on the optional modules you select.

Lectures are used to provide information and these are supported by small group seminars to enable discussion, practical sessions to allow you to apply your theory to a practical situation and workshops to support you with key skills development.  Tutorials are available to provide one to one support.  The team is dedicated to developing the whole person and therefore provide many sessions to help you develop your personal skills, as well as your academic skills.

The teaching sessions are interactive, allowing you to engage with the material on a deeper level and all practical sessions are designed to enable you to apply theory to context.  You will have the opportunity to use a range of specialist methods and equipment relevant to the modules you study and we have a dedicated forensic suite, including a workshop and a range of crime scenes.

You will have the opportunity to gain extensive practical experience and the practical sessions are designed according to real life scenarios.  You will also have lectures from professionals working in the field, allowing you to have regular contact with people working in the forensic industry.   We support you in getting work experience and where possible we arrange field trips that are designed to consolidate your knowledge (i.e. fire dynamics demonstrations, ballistics / shooting trip etc.)

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

Independent Learning

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 lecturers will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities where appropriate to complete before / after class.

We recommend that you set up student study groups and support each other with your university work, as research shows that we learn much better in communities. 

Each assignment and in particular the Dissertation in year three will require you to undertake independent research. The dissertation will be carried out under the supervision of a member of the course team, who you will meet regularly.

Overall Workload

Each 20 credit module requires approximately 200 hours of student, and approximately 50 hours of this is taught class contact time.  You will study 6 modules per year and this is 1200 hours of study per year, which works out as 37.5 hours per week, or approx. 12.5 hours study per module per week.  Many students choose to use holiday periods as intensive study periods, which decreases the amount of work you would do in a week.  There is some flexibility in deciding how to study.

Academic input

The core forensic team consists of highly qualified and highly experienced ex forensic practitioners and academic researchers, who have a range of expertise and experiences.   This experience is injected into every teaching session, and every assessment to make your experience as realistic as possible.  Some members are also qualified coaches / mentors, who aim to help you to overcome barriers to success and learning, which is an innovative and revered approach.

The core team is supported by other teams in the university, such as the law, policing and criminology teams and a range of professionals who are currently working in the field who attend the university to provide guest lectures.

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. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or 'formative' assessment for which you receive feedback from your 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, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows:

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The value provided below are based on core modules.

Foundation Year

35 per cent coursework & 17 per cent written exams & 48 per cent practical exams (Single honours & Combined Honours)

Year One

  • 37.5% coursework & 62.5% written exams (Single Honours)
  • 50% coursework & 50% written exams (Combined Honours)

Year Two

  • 62.5% Coursework 25% Written Exams 12.5% Practical Exams (Single Honours)
  • 50% Coursework 25% Written Exams 25% Practical Exams (Combined Honours*)
  • 50% Coursework 50% Written Exams (Combined Honours#)

Year Three

  • 55% Coursework 32.5% Written Exams 12.5% Practical Exams (Single Honours)
  • 55% Coursework 32.5% Written Exams 12.5% Practical Exams (Combined Honours*)
  • 35% Coursework 40% Written Exams 25% Practical Exams (Combined Honours#)

Feedback

The programme is designed so that each assessment informs a later assessment and the team is dedicated to providing high quality feedback on all assessments to enable you to understand what action you need to take to improve your work / marks and tutorials are also common to enable you to discuss your work.  We aim to provide you with feedback within 15 working days of hand-in for all assessments

*You must achieve a pass mark of 40 or above to pass a module and you need to pass all modules to be allowed to progress to the next academic year.

“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. Collaborations include Kent Police, Kent Fire Brigade, Prometheus Fire Investigation, Metropolitan Police and a range of independent laboratories and professionals.

Forensic Investigation will have an Industrial Advisory Board up and running for 2018-19. This will be made of professionals in the fields of crime scene investigation, forensic science and related professions, who will offer guidance on the programme’s curriculum development, with a view to enhancing the employment skills of our graduates.

Fact file

UCAS course code

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

UCAS institution code

  • C10

Length

  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time

Starts

  • September 2019

Entry requirements

Location

School

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Last edited 28/06/2018 08:34:00

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Last edited: 28/06/2018 08:34:00