Crime and Investigative Studies BSc (Hons)

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


January 2019, September 2018


From crime scene to courtroom to criminal rehabilitation: get exposure to the real world of crime scene and police 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.

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

Full description


You will graduate from our course with the skills needed to work in various areas within the criminal justice system, particularly policing, crime scene examination, prisons and security, as well as government intelligence agencies.

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.
  • 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.
  • Introduction to Police and Forensic Photography
    In this module 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.
  • 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 learn about the physical properties of different types of forensic evidence commonly encountered at crime scenes. The focus will be on the evidence, though some information about the analytical techniques used to examine the evidence will be introduced.
  • Perceptions of Crime
    This module will introduce you to criminology during which basic criminological theories will be explored. You will 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 also explored, along with other related concepts such as 'the anthropological factor' and 'the female offender' in order to provide you with the basic knowledge and understanding of why crime occurs.

Year two, core modules

  • Scene and Laboratory Investigation
    In this module you’ll 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 the 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 by using specialist forensic equipment on evidence recovered from the scene.
  • Project Preparation
    This module will prepare you to carry out a major project in your final year. This will involve initially researching and selecting a suitable project. You’ll acquire skills such as applying for ethical approval, accessing relevant sources of published information, conducting literature surveys, writing a literature review, formulating risk assessments and creating a project proposal. During this self-managed module you’ll plan your project and regularly meet with your supervisor, who will give you advice and review your progress.
  • 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.
  • 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 modern policing. You will be introduced to the key aspects of digital investigative strategy, including identification, the powers for lawful seizure, safe handling, policy and legislation, and methods for examining digital evidence. You will also explore how digital evidence is reported within the criminal justice system giving you the opportunity to experience the procedures followed during digital forensic investigations.

Year three, core modules

  • Undergraduate Major Project
    In this module you’ll be creating a substantial piece of individual research focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience and/ or suggestion from your tutor. You’ll identify problems and issues, conduct literature review, process data, critically appraise and present your findings. 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. Students will be introduced to methodologies for examining, recording and recovering evidence from crime scenes, including the packaging of evidence and ensuring continuity and integrity. Building on the skills and knowledge from previous modules, you will advance your crime scene practices, enhancing the methodical and logical scene approaches required by crime scene investigators. You will also explore how crime scenes are linked, both forensically and through intelligence. You will also learn how to write witness statements and how to present evidence in court. You’ll be expected to give evidence in court and be cross-examined.
  • Forensic Anthropology
    This module develops the student’s knowledge in regards to the role of the forensic anthropologist and the application of forensic anthropology to criminal investigations. The module covers search, recovery and identification of human remains, considering the role of the anthropologist both at the crime scene and the mortuary. The module teaches how the anthropologist works with other experts within the investigative framework and covers both domestic and international applications; from single fatality investigations through to the use of anthropology during mass fatality incidents. Methods of archaeology and osteology and their application to forensic contexts will be taught with the emphasis on basic principles and the critical application of techniques and their selection. A variety of resources will be available including ARU’s collection of human remains and anthropological teaching aids. Case studies and peer reviewed articles will be discussed and a variety of additional resources are available through the digital library.
  • Forensic Pathology
    Forensic Pathology is a discipline of pathology concerned with the investigation of deaths where there are medico-legal implications, for example, suspected homicide and other complex medico-legal cases. Forensic pathologists are medically qualified doctors who perform autopsies on sudden, unexpected and suspicious deaths. The forensic investigation of death is a multi-disciplinary approach that involves collaboration between pathologists, crime scene investigators, forensic scientists and other experts in the forensic field. This module develops the knowledge of the students in relation to the subject of forensic pathology, which contributes to the investigation of suspicious death and identification of the deceased. You’ll cover the role of forensic pathology in fulfilling the key functions of the medico-legal autopsy determination of cause of death, post-mortem changes after death, estimate of time since death, traumatic causes of death and asphyxias. Various case studies and peer-reviewed articles relating to the subject area will also be discussed in the lecture/seminar sessions.
  • 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.
  • 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. The module allows students to demonstrate more independency in their studies of newer/specialist crimes and this is reflected in the media style based reports (i.e. podcast, webpage, blogs, new reels and newspaper reports) produced by students on the module.


Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment methods to measure your progress. This course has a hands-on approach, so a lot of your assessment will be through practical work. Your assessments will include traditional exams and assignments, as well as your performance in practical work, presentations, mock courts 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

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, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


Fee information

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

Additional costs

Memory card - £8

Fine-tipped permanent marker pens - £3

Cost of printing dissertation/individual project

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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

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

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

From September 2018, EU students starting an undergraduate degree with us can access an £800 bursary.

Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

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.

International students

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

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.

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