Crime and Investigative Studies BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with placement)


January 2017, September 2016

code: F412, F413

Available in Clearing 01245 686868


From crime scene to courtroom to criminal rehabilitation: get exposure to the real world of crime and investigation. Learn about the impact of crime on both victim and offender, and discover how law and justice work in practice. This course has been validated to include an optional Sandwich Placement year in industry.

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For more information about Sandwich Placement opportunities, please contact the Placements Team.

Full description

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You’ll graduate from our course with the skills you need to work in the criminal justice system.  Many of our graduates choose careers in law enforcement. This might include policing, scene examination, customs and excise, probation, intelligence, prisons and security.

The legal and criminology elements of the course open up career possibilities in social and youth work, crime analysis, victim support and legal work.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Introduction to Forensic Methodologies
    You'll cover key aspects ranging from the management of crime scenes and the appropriate recovery of items found within them, to the interpretation of results obtained from laboratory-based analyses. A range of the most common types of evidence will be introduced, along with the techniques used to examine them. Particular emphasis is placed on the various microscopy methods available, including polarised light and fluorescence microscopy, and the physical principles behind them.
  • Perceptions of Crime
    You'll be introduced to the subject of criminology. Basic theories of positivism and classicism is covered at length including recent work that has been published by the leading academics in each field. You'll study historical aspects of crime and punishment, gaining a greater understanding of the origins of these theories, and how they have been introduced to the criminal justice system throughout time. The supposition of 'nature versus nurture' is examined in depth, along with other related concepts, such as 'the anthropological factor' and 'the female offender'. These ideas will be related to contemporary models of managing crime and disorder, both within the UK and worldwide.
  • United Kingdom Legal Systems and Law for Forensic Scientists
    Explore the different legal systems within the United Kingdom and the different requirements of these systems. You’ll look at the development of law in the English, Scottish and Northern Ireland legal systems and examine the jury system and the investigation of crime with each of these systems. You’ll closely examine the powers relevant to the Scene of Crime Officer/Forensic Scientist and the laws of evidence as they relate to the S.O.C.O./Forensic Scientist and the codes of practice of the Crown Prosecution Service. You’ll focus on seizure, rules of evidence and codes of practice as well as forensic scientist and expert witness.
  • Physical Criminalistics
    The examination of most physical (as opposed to chemical or biological) forensic evidence requires a broad knowledge of the characteristics of a wide range of materials The forensic scientist has no way of predicting what evidential types will be available or significant when an investigation begins and so all criminalists require a basic knowledge of the main evidence types. You'll deal with the physical properties of the commonest types of evidence encountered, but this must be tempered with the professionalism to seek more highly qualified or expert advice when necessary ("if in doubt then do no harm"). The focus will be on the evidence, though some new methodologies (e.g. the scanning electron microscope and x-ray diffraction) will also be introduced.
  • Introduction to Police Photography
    You'll be introduced to the use of photographic evidence and other image recording methods used in the documentation of police and forensic evidence. You'll conduct practical work on simulated cases in addition to attending conventional lectures and tutorials using photographic equipment available within our department. You'll be assessed through a written assignment/portfolio.
  • Identification Techniques
    The correct identification of a person, offender or victim, is extremely important in any police investigation. This module examines identification issues which are perceived to play such an important part in the identification of an offender. Different methods of identification is examined. Not only will the advantages of identification methods be examined, but also the disadvantages, which can lead to problems, if not understood correctly, at a later stage in court. The module is assessed by a written assessment and a poster presentation on a relevant topic.

Year two, core modules

  • Forensic Management
    Forensic science in all its forms is a diverse collection of human knowledge and experience involving both the prosecution and defence, in which the correct use of scientific methods enables the court to reach a reasonable verdict with minimal dependency on subjective witnesses. You’ll learn about the management techniques throughout the forensic process, in particular the crime scene, to ensure that the court can be assured that reliable and accurate examination has been undertaken, at all times maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the system. In addition, you’ll examine how the crime scene manager is responsible for the development of staff and the control of systems, policies and procedures. Learning resources will be available through our library. Assessment will be through coursework and an examination.
  • Community Safety
    Examine the impact that the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 has had on the way that crime related issues are viewed. We'll discuss the different partners within the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) including the police, fire and rescue, local authorities and NHS, and their roles when dealing with crime. We'll cover situational and social crime prevention theories in depth, including the 'SARA' technique for problem solving. The 'pattern analysis triangle' and 'routine activity theory'. You'll examine the methodologies used for conducting crime prevention surveys and how these are utilised by CDRP partners.
  • Mass Disasters
    You'll be introduced to the field of mass disaster planning and response, covering a range of aspects from what classifies as a mass disaster to planning, management and preparedness. You'll learn the complexity of different types of disaster operations from a variety of viewpoints, including expert practitioners dealing with the human remains to those dealing with the victim's families and role of the public services. You'll experience mock disaster scenarios and will be expected to take on various roles in order to overcome the challenges you're faced with during the practical sessions. Practical sessions will guide you through the processes of different aspects of disaster response including search and recovery, logging of personal effects, Interpol DVI forms for collection of ante mortem and post-mortem information, and other specialist roles (such as Odontologists, Pathologists, Coroners, APTs and Anthropologists).
  • Work-Based Module
    Preparing for the workplace by enhancing your employability skills through experience within crime and investigation. You’ll conduct an independent programme of study, which relates to an aspect of employment within your field. This will provide you with an individual learning plan and the chance to focus on a topic that interests you most.
  • Police and Forensic Investigations
    You'll explore the many different roles found within the modern Police Service, such as Dog Handlers, CID, Scenes of Crime, Firearms Officers, and how these may be used within a Police investigation. You'll gain the skills necessary to organise and manage a criminal investigation. You'll be provided with the basic outline of a criminal case from which you'll have to carry out your own investigation of it. The investigation will not only involve decisions being made over which forensic samples should be analysed, but also regarding witnesses to be interviewed and statements to be taken.
  • Project Preparation
    We’ll prepare you to carry out a major project in your final year, including skills in selecting a suitable project, using relevant sources of published information, literature surveys, writing a literature review and creating a project plan. During this self-managed module you’ll plan your project and regularly meet with your supervisor, who will give you advise and review your progress. You’ll also gain experience of projects by having the opportunity to listen to the project presentations by final year students.

Year three, core modules

  • Crime Scene Analysis
    You’ll gain the theoretical and practical skills necessary for examining crime scenes and analysing the evidence collected. Evidence recovery is covered in depth in addition to other analytical techniques. You’ll take practical crime scene exams where you’ll be expected to put into practice what you’ve been taught. This module will also include a witness statement and a moot court, during which you’ll be expected to give evidence in chief and be cross-examined. Assessment is by a practical scene investigation, written statement of evidence and a moot court presentation.
  • Youth Justice
    Explore areas relating to youth crime and the different methods in which they are managed within the criminal justice system. Discuss the difference in treatment between young offenders and adult offenders within the court system and the reasoning behind such policies. You’ll cover legislation arising from the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, such as anti-social behaviour orders and the more informal anti-social behaviour contract and how these have been extended through the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. You’ll explore the different roles found within the Youth Offending Service, allowing you to gain an understanding into the diverse services that can be provided to young offenders. You’ll also examine the various orders given by the courts that they must supervise, such as Reparation Orders and Supervision Orders, in addition to the Pre-Sentence reports that they must complete for the courts. You’ll look at Detention and Training Orders and the different facilities in which those subjected to such an order may be placed. As general attitudes change over time, as so do attitudes to the kinds of behaviour that is labelled as criminal, so you’ll realise that 'criminal' is no more than a label attached to different types of behaviour the different times in different societies. You’ll look at the criminal law in England and Wales and at the powers that the police possess to bring offenders before the court as well as various aspects of the criminal act such as actus reus and mens rea.
  • Forensic Pathology and Sexual Offence Investigation
    You’ll develop your knowledge in forensic pathology and sexual offences and look at the relationship between these two areas. Examination of the law in relation to both the rights of victim and confidentiality issues, procedures involved in the forensic examination of the scene, victim and suspect is explored. You’ll examine various cases involving the medico-legal examination of sexual offences and unnatural deaths and be introduced to forensic pathology which covers the role of forensic pathologist in fulfilling the key functions of the medico-legal autopsy, determination of cause of death and estimation of time since death.
  • Impact of Crime
    This module will explore the impact that crime has on society, both past and present. It'll be approached from different viewpoints in order to ascertain how we're all affected in different ways by crime. The concepts of ''fear of crime'', ''perceived crime'' and ''actual crime'' will be discussed, along with the effect that each has on different groups within society. The current penal system will also be explored to ascertain how society views the different forms of punishment, and how this has an impact of people's views on crime and disorder. The ''cost of crime'' will also be discussed at length in addition to current crime statistics to see whether or not the government's spending on crime is justified.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    You’ll create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could chose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you’re specifically interested in. You’ll identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artefacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.


Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment methods to help measure your progress. Besides practical and written exams, you’ll be assessed on your reports, essays, work portfolios and role-play participation.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of the largest of five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full- or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, to a BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate. 

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

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Additional study information


This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement year between years 2 and 3 of your studies. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


Additional costs

Please note, the estimated additional costs for this course are as follows: lab coat - £15; scientific calculator - £15; Nikon memory card - £8.

Fees statement 

Tuition fees for UK/EU students 2017/18 are currently set at £9,000. These fees are regulated by the UK government and may increase in line with government policy. There is a possible increase for the 2017/18 intake of 2.8% which would put the fees at £9,250.

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online