Crime and Investigative Studies BSc (Hons)

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


January 2018, September 2017


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
    In this module you'll cover key forensic 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. In this module 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 and Forensic 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

  • Scene and Laboratory Investigation
    Undertake practical work in the recovery of evidence at various scenes and highlight the problems that different types of scenes can bring. You’ll build on knowledge you gained in previous modules in relation to contamination issues and also issues in the chain of continuity of evidence. You’ll build your practical skills with various laboratory instrumentation, which you’ll then use to undertake various analytical experiments on evidence recovered from the scene.
  • Evidence Based Policing
    Understand the key principles of Evidence-Based Policing, a methodology being employed increasingly across the country to tackle crime in times of austerity and greater demand for transparency and accountability. You will review the twentieth-century policing style, how research is being increasingly employed to aid policy decisions in the twenty-first century, analyses of the police response to common problems in society, how current methodologies can be improved with the use of research, and the scope for evidence-based policing moving into the future.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Digital Forensics
    This module will introduce you to the field of digital forensics, a critical component in the majority of modern policing incidents and/or investigations. You will be introduced to the key aspects of the digital investigative strategy, including identification, the powers necessary for lawful seizure, safe handling, policy and legislation, and methods of interrogation. You will also explore how digital evidence is reported within the criminal justice system.
  • 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.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Investigations
    Major Investigations within the Police service are probably the most complicated, involving not only police personnel but also staff from many other agencies involved in investigation of crime. You will look at the national standards involved in major investigations, as well as looking at the different disciplines including investigative theory, intelligence, planning of a investigation including investigative strategies and other investigative considerations. You will also look in depth at various roles within the major investigation team and how those roles interact with the strategic plan of the investigation management team.
  • Forensic Anthropology and Pathology
    In this module you'll develops the knowledge of forensic pathology and forensic anthropology which both contribute to the investigation of suspicious death and identification of the deceased. This module covers the role of forensic pathology in fulfilling the key functions of the medico-legal autopsy — determination of cause of death, estimate of time since death, traumatic and non-traumatic cause of death and asphyxias. Forensic anthropologists are, increasingly, making important contributions to death investigations, both at the crime scene and in the mortuary. Methods of archaeology and osteology appropriate to forensic investigation will be taught, with the emphasis on basic principles and the critical evaluation of techniques and their selection. A variety of resources will be available including ARU's collection of human remains and internet sites, the details of which will be distributed during the module and resources through digital library.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Specialised Topics in Investigative Science
    This module explores and covers specialised and contemporary areas of crime investigation which you may not have experienced or be aware of when compared to the more commonly reported media crimes. You will cover specific areas of current and emerging crimes within the large and complex range of criminalities, including UK based and international crimes. Each specialist area will cover the history, investigative techniques used, forensic science techniques, investigative agencies involved, legislation, impact of and response the crime.


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 between years 2 and 3. 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, 2017/18 (per year)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


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For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

Scientific calculator - £15
Nikon memory card - £8
Cost of printing dissertation/individual project

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.

UCAS Tariff calculator - 2017 entry

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

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International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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