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BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation

Use scientific expertise to investigate crime.


Develop your skills in simulated crime scenes and mock courts


2020 entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades BCC and above to include a Science Subject, preferably Chemistry or Biology. Other sciences are considered.

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above in a science subject.

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D in a science or science related subject.

And GCSE English Language, Maths and Science at grade 4 or grade C or above.


UCAS points 112

UCAS code 616G

Duration Three years full-time or six years part-time

How to apply for this course

Course Summary

Our BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation degree readies you to apply science to crime scene investigation. You'll understand the part forensic science plays in the criminal justice system and learn how to control, preserve, record, and recover evidence from a crime scene or other incidents.

You'll study crime, develop the skills required for crime scene investigation and the seizure of evidence, learn the forensic science techniques for testing physical evidence from crime scenes in the laboratory, write a witness statement for court and give evidence or oral testimony in a mock court setting.

BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation blends theory with practice in the forms of research and 'real life' case studies.

You'll also examine crime in the context in which it happens in the local, national and international arenas. On campus you'll have access to realistic, simulated environments including a well-equipped forensic laboratory and a crime scene house, in which you'll get authentic experience of collecting and analysing evidence from simulated domestic crime scenes.

Show video transcript

The large Criminology lab offers a wide range of scientific equipment and ample workstations.

Students are examining the anatomy in relation to bone structure or density. They are calculating height and weight and looking for peculiarities that translate in determinants of the suspect.

Other students are using a microscope. They are examining a cell for cell abnormality or gene structure as physical evidence that can be used to indicate or eliminate persons of interest in a case.

Why this course at Marjon?

Learn the science of gathering and testing physical evidence in weekly lab classes.

Taught by an expert team of experienced forensic scientists and working police officers.

Small class sizes give you hands-on experience and on-to-one access to tutors.

On campus facilities include forensic laboratories and simulated environments in Marjon's crime scene house.

Collaboration or volunteering opportunities with our partner agencies including Devon and Cornwall Police, Derriford Hospital Emergency Department and Police Forensic Capability Network.

Learn through mock court experiences.

Students say...


Amy Ridholls

“We learn and practice different aspects of the job including crime scene photography. We also learn about the science behind the processes such as forensic biology and how to write forensic lab reports. I have the opportunity to do a research placement with the Pathology Dept at Derriford Hospital which will give me great experience.”


Dan Edgecombe

“This course is challenging and I enjoy the extensive amount of knowledge being shared by my lecturers. I’m furthering my knowledge and personally the course has focused me more.”


Chloe Burrows

“This is a fascinating course which gives you insight into forensic practise and the law relating to forensics too. It has allowed me to discover my interests in forensics and has been an eye opener in terms of the career I want after this degree.”

This course is perfect if you're curious about

What is forensic science?

Once collected, how is evidence analysed in the laboratory?

How do you give expert evidence in court?

What new research methods would improve the effectiveness of the forensic science sector?

What is evidence and how is it collected?

What skills do you need to gain employment in the forensics field?

What might you become?

Career options include working as a crime scene investigator with police forces, or as a forensic examiner in forensic laboratories, police laboratories, hospital laboratories or government testing departments.

In addition graduates will be equipped for roles in scientific research including university research departments and other public sector services. They may also work for private companies that deal with specialised areas, such as fire investigation and forensic defence work.


Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

The degree builds from a basic understanding of crime scene investigation and laboratory skills to an application of sciences in forensic chemistry and forensic biology. It then leads to more complex understanding of crime scene management, forensic evidence analysis and forensic anthropology. Law and court room processes are included to enable the interpretation and understanding of the presentation of evidence in court. The third-year dissertation provides opportunity for a student to develop their own area of research interest.
Dr Sarah Gardner - Course Leader

Modules

1st Year

Introductory Scientific Studies
This subject will provide key theoretical and practical scientific skills in Chemistry.
Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation
This is an introduction to practical crime scene investigation. It will equip you with an understanding of crime scene types and an understanding of evidence types and the value of evidence. You'll learn how to process and recover forensic evidence. You'll also explore the flow of information from crime scene to court and how this is regulated.
Anatomy and Physiology
This subject will provide key theoretical and practical scientific skills in Anatomy/Biology.
Forensic Science
Delve further into the value of evidence. What is it? What makes it valid? You'll consider the role of expert witness during investigation and in the courtroom. You'll explore forensic science in the shape of laboratory protocol and skills, forensic analysis of key elements of crime scene evidence, and forensic science quality, standards and regulation. You'll also review some case histories, considering the ethical considerations as they relate to forensic science.
Forensic Trace Analysis
You'll learn what trace evidence is and what makes it valid, along with techniques in laboratory analysis of trace evidence. Again you'll review some case histories, this time focusing specifically on the analysis of trace evidence.
Forensic Documentation
This practical module will familiarise you with documentation which is regularly used by Forensic Investigators. This includes scene setting description, exhibit description and triangulation, evidence diagrams and floor plans, forensic strategies and action plans, submission forms, dockets and continuity, statement and Streamlined Forensic Report (SFR) writing. You'll also learn about police databases for monitoring and recording of information and how to correctly prepare your documentation for the courtroom.

2nd Year

Criminal Law
You'll be introduced to criminal law within a social science context asking questions such as: What constitutes crime? How are crimes are dealt with? What is the relationship between law and policy?
Crime Scene Photography
You'll learn the principles of using equipment to make photographic portfolios for forensic purposes. You'll also get hands-on as a crime scene photographer, developing the practical skills need to produce photographic portfolios for forensic purposes. For this you'll learn technical skills including the use of exposure, light and aperture in crime scene photography and how to manage the workflow of a crime scene.
Mass Disaster Victim Identification
In this module you'll develop an understanding of the physical and chemical processes associated with the decomposition of deceased human remains. You'll also gain an appreciation for the methods of measuring post mortem interval used by pathologists and how to compile evidence for the purpose of identification under conditions of mass disaster. You'll develop your insight by examining mass disaster case histories.
Forensic Biology
This is all about how biology can be applied to legal cases so you'll learn about human fluids, tissues and DNA, forensic botany, forensic phycology, palynology and mycology, forensic entomology and post mortem, forensic microbiology and food contamination and decomposition of human soft tissue and pathological time of death.
Research Methods
In this module you'll undertake an original piece of research, learning the process of research design, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, literature review and how to analyse and writing up your research findings.
Crime, Media and Culture
You'll think about crime, culture and media; identifying the ‘everyday’, exploring the principles of cultural criminology and considering the media and the production of ‘news’.

3rd Year

Forensic Investigation Honours Project
The Honours Project is an individual piece of research on a topic of the your choice related to forensic investigation. You'll ask a research question and design your research which is to include a literature review, data collection, data analysis and reporting. You'll write it all up to produce your dissertation.
Case Assessment and Interpretation
This subject demonstrates how Forensic Scientists assess and interpret evidence for court using Bayes Theorem.
Advanced Forensic Analysis
This module is divided into four experiments: 1.Gas chromatography OR thin layer chromatography (TLC) OR RAMAN/IR testing 2. Intelligent fingerprinting and presumptive drugs testing 3. Gel electrophoresis - differentiation of DNA in tissue of body fluids 4. Student selected experiment – from a choice of in-house forensic techniques.
Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management
You'll leave us with the skills to work as a Forensic Investigator for a range of organisations but in this module you'll work on extra skills needed to freelance or to run your own forensics business.
Crime Scene Management
Prepare for day-to-day life as a Forensic Investigator. You'll learn the police command structure, the roles and responsibilities of key actors at crime scenes and techniques for investigative decision making, initial forensic response and scene assessment. You'll also further your knowledge as to how investigations are managed and how you can communicate effectively as a member of the investigating team. Specific techniques applying to victim, suspect and witness management; murder investigation and sexual offences will also be explored. This module is all about being well prepared to work as part of a professional forensic investigation team.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum


Fees for International students: £12,000 per annum

Additional costs:

Students are required to self-fund the following:

  • A lab coat at £10-20
  • A scientific calculator at approx £15

A crime scene case kit and on and off-site forensic experiences are provided at no extra cost.


Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Includes lectures, seminars, tutorials, mock court experiences and practical laboratory experience in the forensic laboratories and the crime scene house. 

 

How will you be assessed?

A range of assesements are used including practical laboratory and crime scene house assessments, written reports and court based oral testimony.

Course leader

Dr Sarah Gardner

Sarah's teaching interests include forensic biology, blood pattern analysis, DNA profiling, fingerprints, forensic chemistry, research methods, mass disaster victim identification and forensic trace analysis.

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Lecturers

David Moore

Associate Lecturer

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Dr Emily Norton

Lecturer in Forensic Science

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Emily is a certified Forensic Anthropologist (FA-III) with a range of forensic casework experience. Her teaching focuses on equipping students with the practical skills they need to work in the forensics sector. Her research interests include the use of orbital remote sensing platforms to locate human mass graves.

Linda Wilday

Laboratory Manager

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Linda is a biochemist with over thirty years’ experience of in research and deployments of new technologies.


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