Crime and Investigative Studies with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (4 years)


September 2017

Intermediate awards: CertHE, DipHE


Are you interested in crime, forensic science, policing and the law, but unsure which subject to study? You’ll cover them all on this course. It includes a foundation year to build up your scientific skills and your confidence to succeed.

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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, crime 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

  • Chemical Principles
    This module provides an elementary introduction to chemical science for those with little or no prior experience of the subject. The study of materials and the undergoing chemical changes will be discussed. These principles will then be developed further by exploring the periodic table, chemical equations, calculating concentrations, quantitative chemical analysis such as colorimetry, chemical equilibria and organic chemistry. The practical component of the course will allow you to gain practice in some basic laboratory techniques based on the concepts covered in the lectures. In addition, tutorials will be held for students to practice questions further that arise from the relevant lectures. Laboratory experience and exposure will also equip students with required transferable skills. The focus will also be on good laboratory practice and sustainable approaches to chemistry.
  • Biomolecules
    In this module you will focus on water and carbon and their central importance to biology. The composition, structure and function of the four groups of macromolecules - proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids - will be studied. A specific focus will be the mechanism of action of enzymes and factors such as pH and temperature that affect their function. The lectures will be complemented by practicals that build on the lecture material and teach a range of laboratory skills. The module will also focus on developing the academic skills required to be successful in higher education, particularly independent study, understanding the different forms of scientific writing (for example, practical reports and essays). Other skills taught will include finding reliable sources of information, citation and referencing and avoiding poor academic practice and plagiarism.
  • Biology of Cells
    In this module practical sessions on cellular respiration, osmosis and cell diversity will support your lectures. You will study the structure and function of cellular organelles, membranes and transport systems, in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In addition, cell metabolism - the biochemical processes undertaken in living organisms - is a key component of this module. You will also cover Cellular respiration of glucose and the role of mitochondria. The fundamental principle of biology, the ability to renew (cells) and reproduce, both sexually and asexually and the mechanisms of cell division, including mitosis and meiosis, will be also be covered.
  • Mathematics for Science
    Foundation Maths for Science is a course that ensures students on the extended programmes for degrees in the departments of Life Sciences, Biomedical and Forensic Sciences, and Vision and Hearing Sciences have the necessary basic mathematical skills required for entry to level 4. By the end of this module, students will be able to carry out the basic mathematical manipulations and understand the relevant key concepts required in order to progress to their chosen degree course. Each mathematical concept is introduced by a lecture, in which examples of how to use and apply the concept are demonstrated. Students practise problems in a tutorial for each topic, using worksheets given out in advance of the sessions. The worksheets include problems applied to the various degree pathways to which the students will progress, to indicate the importance and applicability of mathematics to their future degrees. The subjects covered are a range of arithmetic skills, algebra, areas and volumes, trigonometry and basic statistics. In addition, there are sessions using Excel for manipulation of simple data sets using formulae and graphical presentation of the results. Students will be expected to apply the skills learnt in graphically presenting data to the other modules they are studying where applicable.
  • Physical Principles
    This module provides an introduction to the principles and laws of physics which underpin all life sciences. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed, and the focus will be on those aspects which are specific to the requirements of students in their future pathways. The module will be taught with a mixture of lectures, workshops, tutorials and laboratory practicals. The module will encompass aspects such as how organisms move in relation to their environment, how they perceive their environment in terms of light and sound, how the physics of fluids and gasses affect the anatomy and physiology of organisms, how electricity is used to allow communication, and finally how radioactivity impacts on organisms, and the applications of physics in modern medicine The practical component of this module will allow the students to develop an understanding of how the theory they are taught in lectures is applied in practical situations. This module will allow the students to progress to their next level of study with a thorough grounding in aspects that are often considered to be challenging, but when understood, allow the students to appreciate fully how organisms interact with their environment, as determined by the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry.
  • Physiology
    Physiology is the science of body function and is related to the structure, or anatomy, or the organism. In this module the main organ and regulatory systems that work to enable the body to function and respond to change, whilst maintaining a constant internal environment, will be studied. Although this module will focus mainly on the human body as an example of a much studied organism, reference to other organisms will be made to illustrate particular principles or to contrast different systems and mechanisms. Laboratory-based practicals and workshops will be used to build on the knowledge gained from the lectures. The practical sessions will enable the development of a range of laboratory-based skills, which will include the recording of observational findings as well as experimental results.
  • Introduction to Forensic and Investigative Sciences
    This module is designed to provide you with the fundamental knowledge of how evidential items recovered from crime scenes contribute to the investigative process. The processes involved in appropriate and lawful recovery, as well as independent analysis, will be covered as well as the decision-making processes around forming evidential conclusions. In this way, you will learn how evidence can be used to formulate hypotheses for further testing and ultimately for the provision of expert testimony in the courtroom. You will explore different aspects of the forensic and investigative sciences which will introduce you to the practices and requirements of criminal justice system.
  • Case Studies in Forensic and Investigative Sciences
    This module will enable you to gain an understanding in relation to how a criminal case is dealt with, starting with the investigation of the crime scene right through the process to the appearance of a defendant at court. It will look at the range of issues that can affect the investigation of a crime and will make reference to findings in relation to specific cases. You will examine the use of forensic evidence and how this can be used in an investigation.You will also explore the investigative process as a whole, looking at the different personnel involved. In reviewing and exploring examples of criminal investigations from the past, you will be able to develop an understanding of the criminal justice system from a realistic perspective, which will embed the principles in an effective manner.

Year two, 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 three, core modules

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Year four, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 exams, these will include your reports, essays, work portfolios, practical exercises, and participation in role-plays and group work.

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

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


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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?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

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

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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:

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.

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