Forensic Investigations BSc | Coventry University
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Forensic Investigations BSc (Hons) 2019/20 entry

Course code:

F410

Study options:

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich

Location:

Coventry University

Starting:

September 2019

 

Fees:

2019/20 fees - TBC
2018/19 fees - £9,250

Find out more

Faculty:

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2222


Overview

If your attention to detail is unmatched you could be destined for life in investigation. This degree will get you there.

Forensic investigation is an exciting and challenging area of study, which involves not only an understanding of scientific methods of forensic analysis, but also investigative techniques, including the interpretation and presentation of analytical evidence to explain or solve criminal or civil cases.

Officially recognised by Skills for Justice for the quality of our teaching, our degree is concerned primarily with the identification, collation and reporting of evidence to a forensic hearing. Our comprehensive curriculum covers investigative skills, the law, interviewing techniques, forensic science, investigation management, the legal process of enquiry, crime scene analysis, fraud investigation, digital forensics, surveillance and the evaluation of evidence.

We run a range of interesting fieldtrips, which have previously included visits to the mortuary at the Coventry University Hospital and Specialist Group International, a world-renowned company which provides 24/7 specialist response to police, fire and other government agencies and boasts an arsenal of cutting-edge equipment. These industry visits contribute to our high levels of student satisfaction – 93% overall and 98% for teaching in the latest National Student Survey (NSS) 2016.  

See the facilities available in our brand new Alison Gingell Building

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

Employability

Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Teaching Excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

Course essentials

A degree which offers you more, at no extra cost

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies:

Skills for Justice

The course has achieved the Quality Mark endorsement and, as such, is officially recognised by Skills for Justice, the sector skills council and standards setting body for the justice sector, as providing education of outstanding quality and relevance.

Our Facilities

Facilities Test Image

SuperLab

The Alison Gingell building contains a state-of-the-art SuperLab, capable of holding up to 270 people at once. The lab's facilities include equipment for microscopy, DNA analysis and forensic testing.

 

Facilities Test Image

Life Sciences Research

Our facilities include a real ambulance, which students can use as part of their studies, and a purpose-built Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre. This allows for much improved training quality in patient care and patient safety.

 

Facilities Test Image

Strength and Conditioning Suite

Our multi-purpose strength and conditioning suite is equipped with multiple Olympic lifting platforms, a 20m gait analysis track, an anti-gravity treadmill and even a 3D motion capture system!

What our students say

I have always had a natural curiosity for finding answers in life, but wasn’t sure what degree I wanted to study until I discovered Forensic Investigations at Coventry University. The course covers everything that I am interested in with a good balance between the science and the sociological elements.

The course is well constructed and thought-provoking and I most enjoy being able to listen to my peers and reciprocate knowledge that I’ve found independently. I also enjoy being able to visually see what I’ve been reading about in text books and the tutors really help to bring theory to life."

Emily Palmer, BSc Forensic Investigations

Course information

This multidisciplinary degree encourages you to apply essential elements of psychology, criminology, law, forensic science and computing to conduct and report investigative analysis, using photography, video and other evidence-based techniques.

Although we cover the essentials of forensic science, our degree is not intended to be a forensic science course. Instead, we seek to broaden your perspective by providing a broad understanding of both forensic science and forensic investigation. You’ll not only study the ‘hard science’, namely the scientific side of scene analysis for evidence collection, but also the use of interview techniques, witness testimony and covert surveillance, for example, in the collection of evidence.

Course specification
Download PDF (209kb)

Modules

Overview

In your first year, we will introduce you to the study of criminology, criminal and civil law, investigative practice, forensic science and forensic interviewing.

We focus on developing transferrable skills such as analysis, strategy evaluation and reasoned argument. For example, when learning how to plan and prepare interviews with co-operative and non-co-operative subjects, we will use role play to help you to develop advanced questioning skills, useful in any interview or analytical situation.

Modules

  • Criminal and Civil Law

  • Critical and Digital Communication

  • Investigative Practice

  • Introduction to Forensic Science

  • Forensic Interviewing

  • Data Collection and Presentation Skills

Add+vantage

The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.

Overview

n your second year, as well as delving further into crime scene analysis and the understanding of evidence, we will also cover fraud investigation and digital forensics of many devices including mobile phones.

We will encourage you to consider your professional development and the career options available to forensic investigators. We will look at how you may relate the skills and abilities you have developed to a number of different employment opportunities.

Modules

  • Research Methods

  • Professional Development

  • Forensic Crime Scene Analysis

  • Understanding Evidence

  • Basic Digital Forensics

  • Fraud Investigation

Add+vantage

The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.

Overview

After your second year, you have the opportunity to spend a year on professional placement or studying abroad (additional costs may apply).

Overview

In your final year, you will be required to collaborate with a member of academic staff and apply the knowledge of research methods obtained during the first two years of your degree to design and conduct your own piece of research in an area of your choice.

In the past students have conducted research projects in subjects such as the use of ballistic examination, Islamic feminism, and social media in investigation.

Modules

  • Advanced Forensic Crime Scene Analysis

  • Specialist Inquiry

  • Surveillance Studies

  • Situational Analysis

  • Individual Research Project

Add+vantage

The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

In more detail...

  • 82% of graduates in work or further study after six months (DLHE 2014/15).
  • 87% satisfaction with teaching in the National Students Survey (NSS) 2017.
  • Regular expert guest lecturers which have recently included the Chief Executive of the West Midlands Police Crime Commissioners Office, the lead pathologist for this area and a national expert in Behavioural Investigative Advice.
  • A team of multidisciplinary experts from various subjects, including criminologists, lawyers, chemists, forensic scientists, investigators and psychologists who bring their research and practical experiences in to their teaching.
  • Two former senior investigating officers, one a member of the National Working Group on Disclosure matters, who have investigated numerous homicides, organised and gang related criminality, as well as gun-related serious crimes.
  • 95.7% of students said staff were good at explaining things. 100% said that staff had been available when needed and that they had the opportunity to provide feedback on the course.

Previous field trips have included the European Court of Human Rights, NATO Strategic Headquaters of Allied Powers Europe and the International Criminal Court.

Our main study themes are: 

  • Criminal and Civil Law: An introduction to the legal system in England and Wales, and some legislation that is important to investigators.

  • Crime Scene Analysis: This area of study enables students to learn in detail about crime scene protocols as well as techniques used to analyse evidence. Students study forensic examination, based on physical, chemical and biological techniques used in the examination and analysis of trace evidence.

  • Forensic Science: An introduction to the specialist areas of Forensic Science including forensic biology, forensic chemistry and anthropology.

  • Investigative Practice: Introduces students to some fundamental concepts, issues and understandings in investigation. The focus is on providing an appreciation of the basic skills and knowledge of an investigator as well as the approaches and actions that should be made in order to facilitate an effective investigation.

  • Specialist Inquiry: Students are introduced to some current aspects of investigation and issues within the investigative field. Specific subjects include profiling, investigation of potential terrorist threats, the media and familial DNA.

The emphasis of our course is very much on providing a practical, hands-on experience through guest lectures, work placements, industry visits, skills development and the study of real-life case studies.

We incorporate a wide range of teaching methods, for example, you may find yourself flying a drone surveillance exercise or interviewing police officers.

There is a substantial element of laboratory work and unlike other courses, which cover a selection of investigatory techniques, our course touches upon a huge range of forensic science and investigative technique. We’ll examine: blood splatter; fingerprints; DNA; semen analysis; footwear; trace; ballistics; explosive residues; hairs and fibres; interviewing victims, suspects and witnesses; surveillance techniques; how to recover passwords and deleted files in digital forensics; mobile phone forensics; fraud investigation; and how to use social media in investigations.

Recognising the continual advancements in scientific analysis, we will monitor and discuss contemporary issues such as those concerning victims of serious crime, the impact of the media upon major investigations and the investigation of major disasters. We also offer a range of field trips, which have included the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham, where students are given a historical perspective of the development of justice and take part in researching archived case papers and documents, and an Army Assessment Day at MOD Stafford, as part of the Careers module, where students take part in a range of activities, including problem solving exercises, some physical activities and simulated rock climbing.

Students are strongly encouraged to gain practical work experience. You have the opportunity to take a sandwich year on a professional placement. Others have opted for a shorter placement. Long and short-term placements have resulted in us helping organise a range of internships in the UK and abroad. Students from our course are also able to get involved in the West Midlands Police Streetwatch scheme, which enables them to work alongside officers in promoting student safety and crime prevention. Participation in this scheme is voluntary and is subject to security checks.

Teaching methods include:
lectures, group work, seminars, tutorials, laboratory skills, flipped classroom, PC labs, mock courtrooms, interviewing and simulation exercises.

Meet our staff

Dr Chris Hiley - Course Director and Senior Lecturer Forensic Investigations

Chris started his career in Pathology as Senior Biomedical Scientist at University Hospital North Staffordshire where he obtained a PhD from Keele University. Chris obtained LLB (Hons) Law at Staffordshire University and became a Solicitor specialising in Commercial Litigation and Insolvency.

Read full profile

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will could vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include formal examinations, coursework, test and essays, practical or project work, group work and presentations and posters.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes. Assessments may include exams, individual assignments or group work elements.

On successful completion, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: the central issues in both policing and the use of forensic evidence in criminal investigations; the range of scientific and sociological perspectives adopted in the investigation process; the common sources of forensic evidence and the main forms of collection and analysis; the principles of “the life cycle of an investigation” and the role of a Senior Investigating Officer
  • Analyse, evaluate and interpret information from a variety of sources and demonstrate an analytical approach to problem-solving.
  • Think reflectively and strategically about evidence, evidence preparation and presentation.
  • Produce a well-structured and logical argument.
  • Carry out correct procedures for the collection of evidence observing prevailing regulations. 
  • Plan and conduct effective interviews using a skilled, accurate and precise approach.
  • Present evidence in written and oral forms.
  • Design and implement appropriate techniques and procedures to solve investigative problems. 
  • Demonstrate numerical and data manipulation skills at an appropriate level. 
  • Operate independently to solve problems.
  • Be an effective part of a team providing appropriate solutions to technical problems. 
  • Be able to interpret data derived from forensic evidence.
  • Communicate in a confident, professional manner, both verbally and in writing. 

In a typical teaching week, you will have between 12-15 ‘contact’ hours of teaching.

This generally breaks down as:

  • Personal tutorial/small group teaching: up to 1 hour of personal tutorials, or later, individual project supervision, occasionally throughout the course.
  • Medium and large group teaching: 12-14 hours of lectures, workshops, practical sessions or seminars each week.

 

A number of the modules contain a comparative focus on international investigative and procedural matters. These include evidence gathering, forensic computing and policing studies. In addition, as part of the Forensic Casebook module, there are workshops concerning a number of cases with international dimensions, including a manslaughter case when premises were destroyed to facilitate a fraudulent insurance claim but inadvertently killed an occupant. The case originated in the UK but culminated with a trial in a foreign country involving a non-British judicial system.

Students have opportunities to participate in Online International Learning (OIL) projects with the University of Malta, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada and the University of Seville. We also have student exchange agreements with these universities enabling you to study there for one semester or even a whole year.

Each year, we organise a subsidised trip to Europe, which has previously included visits to the: International Criminal Court and Peace 

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2016/17, we were able to provide a total of 3,482 experiences abroad that lasted at least five days.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni (HESA 2016/17)


3,482

Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2016/17



21,000

and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far


12

global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses

What our students say

I have always had a natural curiosity for finding answers in life, but wasn’t sure what degree I wanted to study until I discovered Forensic Investigations at Coventry University. The course covers everything that I am interested in with a good balance between the science and the sociological elements.

The course is well constructed and thought-provoking and I most enjoy being able to listen to my peers and reciprocate knowledge that I’ve found independently. I also enjoy being able to visually see what I’ve been reading about in text books and the tutors really help to bring theory to life."

Emily Palmer, BSc Forensic Investigations

Entry Requirements

University Course Code: HLSU021
A Level BTEC IB Diploma GCSE requirement
BCC. Excludes General Studies. BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: DMM 27 points Minimum 5 GCSEs at grade A*-C including English Language, Mathematics and Science, or specified equivalents.

A-Levels

A-Level applicants are required to have three
 A2 Levels. Coventry University may include AS grades within an offer for certain courses, but we are not able to accept two AS Levels in place of one A2 Level. In some courses it may be necessary for entrants to have passed specific A2 Levels in nominated subjects. Please see the course pages for more information.

Access Diplomas

The Access to HE Diploma in a science or health subject to include 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction, plus GCSE English Language & Mathematics at grade A*-C, or specified equivalents.

Coventry University welcomes applicants who have completed, or who are studying, the Access to HE Diploma developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Successful completion of the course will require you to gain 60 credits with at least 45 to be achieved at Level 3 (with the remainder at Level 2). In some cases we will require you to have gained Merit or Distinction grades in a number of units or in nominated subjects. For more information on the entry requirements for your chosen course please see the relevant course pages.

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas

The University will accept the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma for entry to most courses. In some cases we will require applicants to have studied either certain named modules or a specific named Diploma. The appropriate course page will have full information on the entry requirements. The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry to degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that provide a total volume of study that is equivalent to three A2 Levels. For example, you could be studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma plus an A2 Level, or a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma plus two A2 Levels. Where a specific A2 or BTEC subject is required for entry then you must be offering this as part of your combination of qualifications.

Please visit our page on European entry requirements for more information about specific country information.

English as a Foreign Language This course requires IELTS 6.0,  with no component lower than 5.5. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

English as a Foreign Language This course requires IELTS 6.0,  with no component lower than 5.5. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Unconditional offers

We want to recruit the best students to Coventry and having assessed applicants' past, current and predicted performance and commitment to the course we feel that it is appropriate to reward consistently high-achieving students with an unconditional offer from a top university. It is a commitment from us with regard to an applicants’ potential as an excellent undergraduate and we hope that this will encourage such applicants to join the Coventry community.

Personal statements and references will also be taken into account and, for some degree courses, an interview will form part of the assessment. The criteria for unconditional offers will vary across the University as entry requirements for specific courses differ and not all degree courses will be taking part in the Scheme. The unconditional offer will be confirmed once a selected applicant has made Coventry their firm choice.

Coventry University has assessed that you are capable of achieving excellent grades and we have demonstrated this belief by making you an unconditional offer. This is our commitment to you so then we ask that you reciprocate this commitment by selecting us as your ‘firm’ choice and activating your unconditional offer.

We will consider other qualifications for a pre-result unconditional offer providing that you have an appropriate proven performance at GCSE (or equivalent) level and predicted grades in line with grades that we expect to see at A-level. Other qualifications that we may consider for a pre-result unconditional offer include: The International Baccalaureate Diploma, BTEC Level 3 qualifications, Cambridge Pre-U and combinations of qualifications (e.g. BTECS plus A-levels).

An unconditional offer is what it says it is. So, if you don’t meet your predictions then your place at Coventry is still guaranteed. However, we would hope and expect that you continue to work hard to make the most of your potential and be best prepared to study at university level.

We can’t but our experience over the years has shown us that students like you with a track record of high grades and excellent predictions are very likely to achieve those grades. Our assessment takes into account all elements of your application to allow us to take a holistic view of your potential. There is still the opportunity to gain one of the Coventry University Scholarships if you achieve the required grades so there is a financial incentive to aim high. Unconditional offers are only made to individuals who have demonstrated their commitment so we believe their focus and determination is unlikely to waver in the final stages of their qualifications.

No, the unconditional offer is only available to those who will take up their place in 2018.

What our students say

I have always had a natural curiosity for finding answers in life, but wasn’t sure what degree I wanted to study until I discovered Forensic Investigations at Coventry University. The course covers everything that I am interested in with a good balance between the science and the sociological elements.

The course is well constructed and thought-provoking and I most enjoy being able to listen to my peers and reciprocate knowledge that I’ve found independently. I also enjoy being able to visually see what I’ve been reading about in text books and the tutors really help to bring theory to life."

Emily Palmer, BSc Forensic Investigations

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

For more information, please visit our Finance pages.

Starts

Fee


September 2019

2019/20 fees - TBC
2018/19 fees - £9,250 (per year)


Scholarships

If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship.

Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.

Starts

Fee


September 2019

2019/20 fees - TBC
2018/19 fees - £9,250 (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a range of EU Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Starts

Fee


September 2019

2019/20 fees TBC
2018/19 fees - £13,150 (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a wide range of Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising international students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Course essentials at no extra cost

We're committed to communicating study costs clearly to make sure you're not faced with having to make any unexpected payments.

This is why our ‘Flying Start’ package provides you with a few course essentials. Your full-time fee for an undergraduate degree will cover the following:

UK field trips

Any mandatory site visits and trips within the United Kingdom.

Key material

This can include core textbooks, software and equipment.

Laser prints

1,000 A4 sides of black and white laser printing credits per year.

Optional year

Pay no tuition fees for optional work placements or study abroad trips.

As well as covering UK field trips, key materials and laser print, the fees for this course also include:

  • Laboratory coat and safety spectacles provided for use
  • Scene of Crime outfit and basic fingerprint kit
  • Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (formally CRB Disclosure) for those undertaking placements with children


The following are additional costs not included in the fees:

  • Optional camera
  • Optional Accredited Computer Interrogation Course
  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip

What our students say

I have always had a natural curiosity for finding answers in life, but wasn’t sure what degree I wanted to study until I discovered Forensic Investigations at Coventry University. The course covers everything that I am interested in with a good balance between the science and the sociological elements.

The course is well constructed and thought-provoking and I most enjoy being able to listen to my peers and reciprocate knowledge that I’ve found independently. I also enjoy being able to visually see what I’ve been reading about in text books and the tutors really help to bring theory to life."

Emily Palmer, BSc Forensic Investigations

Career prospects

Successful completion of this course will support you to develop a wide range of skills in the collection, analysis and interpretation of physical evidence, all of which are useful for a diverse range of careers in areas such as the intelligence services, insurance companies, banking, the prison service, accountancy firms, trading standards, fraud investigation organisations, social care, environmental or financial services and teaching.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University’s Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have taken up posts in the financial sector, insurance services, credit card providers, digital forensic companies, accountancy firms, the Border Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and local government, as well as more traditional law enforcement positions, such as police constables, civilian police investigators, protection services, crime scene examiners and working for the Border Control Agency.

Some have chosen to continue their studies with postgraduate qualifications, such as the MSc in Fraud Management here at Coventry.

What our students say

I have always had a natural curiosity for finding answers in life, but wasn’t sure what degree I wanted to study until I discovered Forensic Investigations at Coventry University. The course covers everything that I am interested in with a good balance between the science and the sociological elements.

The course is well constructed and thought-provoking and I most enjoy being able to listen to my peers and reciprocate knowledge that I’ve found independently. I also enjoy being able to visually see what I’ve been reading about in text books and the tutors really help to bring theory to life."

Emily Palmer, BSc Forensic Investigations
Disclaimer

By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the University. A copy of the 19/20 Contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the University will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the University.

The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK and EU students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase for UK and EU Students is expected to be in line with inflation. For international students, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation.

Admission to this course is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and a successful interview. Find out about the application process