Crime and Investigative Studies with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (4 years)



Intermediate awards: CertHE, DipHE


From criminal investigation to courtroom: get exposure to the real world of crime scenes, policing and investigation. Learn about how crime is detected by the police using a range of investigative techniques, particularly forensic evidence, and how this is presented to a jury within a court of law. This course has been validated to include an optional Sandwich Placement year in industry.

Full description


You’ll 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

  • Chemical Principles
    This module provides an introduction to chemical science and includes the study of materials and the undergoing chemical changes. These principles will 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 students to gain practice in laboratory techniques based on the concepts covered in the lectures and how to report their findings. Tutorials will be held for students to practice questions and calculations based on the lecture material.
  • Biomolecules
    In this module you will focus on the composition, structure and function of the four groups of macromolecules - proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids. The central importance of water and carbon and the mechanism of action of enzymes and factors that affect enzyme function also will be studied. The lectures will be complemented by practicals that build on the lecture material and teach a range of laboratory skills.
  • 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, with the emphasis on 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 studied.
  • Mathematics for Science
    Maths for Science is a course that ensures students have the necessary mathematical skills required for their chosen degree. 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 that include applied problems to indicate the importance and applicability of mathematics to their future degrees. The subjects covered are 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.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 future requirements of students. 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.
  • Physiology
    Physiology is the science of body function and is related to the structure (anatomy) of 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 will 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
    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.
  • 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 will 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.
  • 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 is extremely important in any investigation. This module examines identification issues which are perceived to play such an important part in the identification of an offender. Different identification methods (such as fingerprints, DNA and odontology) will be explored and the advantages and disadvantages of various identification techniques will be examined. The complex challenges that are often associated with the identification of individuals will also be covered. This will include topics such as reliability of eye witness accounts and how animals can be used to aid in identification of individuals.

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 will 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 will gain the skills necessary to organise and manage a criminal investigation. You will be provided with the basic outline of a criminal case from which you will 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
    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 will 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 will plan your project and regularly meet with your supervisor, who will give you advice and review your progress.
  • Scene and Laboratory Investigation
    In this module you will undertake practical work in the recovery of evidence at various scenes and highlight the problems that different types of scenes can bring. You will 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 will build your practical skills by using specialist forensic equipment on evidence recovered from the scene.
  • Evidence Based Policing
    In this module you will develop a knowledge and understanding of 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. The content will include review of 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 four, core modules

  • Crime Scene Analysis
    You will gain the theoretical and practical skills necessary for examining crime scenes and analysing the evidence collected. You 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 will be expected to give evidence in court and be cross-examined.
  • 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. This module 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. The module will 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
    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.
  • 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.
  • Forensic Pathology
    In this module you will develop knowledge of forensic pathology, which contributes to the investigation of suspicious death and identification of the deceased. The forensic investigation of death is a multi-disciplinary approach that involves collaboration between forensic pathologists, crime scene investigators, forensic scientists and other experts in the forensic field. This module covers the role of the forensic pathologist in fulfilling the key functions of the medico-legal autopsy and determination of cause of death. Post-mortem changes after death, estimation of time since death, injuries and different types of asphyxias will also be taught in this module. Various case studies and peer-reviewed articles relating to the subject area will also be discussed.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    You will create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose 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 are specifically interested in. You will identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artifacts 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 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 & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, 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 starting 2018/19 or 2019/20 (per year)


International students starting 2018/19 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)


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

SD memory card - £8
Fine-tipped permanent marker pens - £3
Cost of printing dissertation/individual project.
CD/memory stick for dissertation submission.
Cost of printing A1 poster for dissertation - £15

Scientific Calculator.

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

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.

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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