Forensic Investigations BSc (Hons)

 

Course Code

UCAS Code: F410
International Code: HLSU181

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

 

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich

Start date

September 2022


Course overview

Study level: Undergraduate

From ‘crime scene to court’, this multidisciplinary degree encourages you to apply essential elements of psychology, criminology, law, forensic science and computing to conduct and report investigative analysis.

Additional key points:

  • Officially recognised by Skills for Justice, achieving its Quality Mark endorsement
  • We focus on providing a practical experience, using real-life case studies and scenarios, as well as traditional academic approaches
  • Our ‘Crime scene to court’ approach has been praised by accrediting body Skills for Justice
  • Opportunities to go on international field trips, which have previously included the European Court of Human Rights, NATO Strategic Headquarters of Allied Powers Europe and the International Criminal Court*.
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Global Ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Employability

Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

Forensic investigation is an exciting and challenging area of study, which focuses on understanding and developing an expansive array of investigative techniques, including the interpretation and presentation of analytical evidence to explain or solve criminal or civil cases.

The course brings together a range of important disciplines within investigative processes – digital forensics, social media, fraud, photography and sociology in criminal and civil investigations.

Although we aim to 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 an understanding of both forensic science and forensic investigation. 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.

There is a valuable element of laboratory work and our course touches upon a huge range of forensic science and investigative techniques. 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.

We focus on providing a practical experience, using real-life case studies and scenarios, work placements*, industry visits* and skills development, as well as traditional academic approaches. We aim to host regular guest lectures led by investigative professionals who provide specialist and up-to-date knowledge and understanding of their particular fields (subject to availability).

Our teaching team currently has a wide range of professional experience and includes a qualified solicitor, trained barrister and senior investigating police officers, as well as current expertise in surveillance and investigative interviewing, pathology, fraud and financial 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.

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies:

Skills for Justice Quality Mark logo

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.


I chose this course since the modules stood out to me, the practical modules such as forensic interviewing and science drew me in further. I am forever grateful that I picked forensic investigations as I have felt part of one big family since the get go, the experiences and the memories I will not forget and are once in a lifetime. I have enjoyed this course so much I have decided to stay for a master’s at Coventry!

Teresa Crabtree, Forensic Investigations BSc (Hons), current student, 2021
Yellow tape that says Do not enter across door stopping entry. People in protective suits sweeping the room.

What you'll study

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

We focus on developing transferable skills such as analysis, strategy evaluation and reasoned argument. For example, when teaching you 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

  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to the legal system in England and Wales, and some areas of legislation that are important to investigators. There is a brief examination of the court system in England and Wales, identification of the court structure and consideration of the roles of some of the personnel involved in administering justice. Some areas of substantial law are examined in depth. You will consider the rules of evidence, rules which must be considered at every step during an investigation. The more important pieces of legislation that govern the conduct of investigations are examined, and a study of some criminal offences.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Test

  • During this module you will be introduced to basic investigative concepts, issues and approaches. The focus is on the nature of formal investigation, what investigation focuses upon, investigative mindset, the methods, processes, management and accountability that govern investigators and investigations. The module aims to equip you with a theoretical and practical understanding of the development of investigative practices and how investigations are administered.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module is designed to help you to make the transition into higher education by learning about academic and professional standards and the expectations of your lecturers, tutors and future employers. The module is designed to provide you with the foundations of the conventions of witness statements, essay and report writing and presentation and provides you with the opportunity to develop critical and analytical skills within both an academic and investigatory environment. This module aims to ensure you can access the resources offered by the university to support your learning and begin to think more widely about the sources of information necessary for an effective enquiry. The module should provide you with the skills and knowledge to help you to become an effective, independent and self-directed learner. In addition, the module will provide an introduction to digital literacy and the effective use of technology to enable you to be able to assimilate information and present it effectively throughout the three years of the course, and develop good habits ready for employment.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module introduces you to the specialist areas of Forensic Science through specific case studies and explores a range of forensic techniques. The module also introduces you to scenes of crime as well as the legal and practical aspects of crime scene processing and management.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • The aim of this module is to provide you with a basic knowledge of and the relevant skills necessary in order to conduct a variety of interviews in an investigative context. It will be concerned with the specific practice of interviewing for evidence gathering purposes. You will study some theory surrounding the art of interviewing but will be mainly tasked to perfect, as far as possible, your skills by conducting interviews. In this module we will look at how witnesses remember and how you, as an investigator, can forensically recover this information. The module will consider the PEACE interview model where we will consider the technical and practical issues of interviewing. This is a taxing module as it considers not only some in-depth theory but also legislation and practical skills.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • The module aims to provide you with the skills and knowledge to help you collect data, analyse data and present data; skills required for effective research and different types of presentation including digital storyboards, digital mapping, timelines and effective field work. The module includes skills in digital literacy, communication, research, data analysis, professional report writing and enhances employability and transferable skills.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and exam

In 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

  • This module naturally follows on from the Critical and Digital Communication module in year 1, which introduced you to the concept of critically analysing ideas and concepts that have been put forward by academics and the skills needed when you are required to undertake academic writing as part of your undergraduate degree. In this module you will learn about the importance of research in the social sciences, the issues that you need to consider when reviewing research which has already been undertaken and indeed those that you should be aware of when conducting your own research.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module provides you with an introduction to the types of employment options available for investigators. Practitioners from investigative professions deliver sessions to explain the work they do and options that may be open to the students you once you have graduated. In addition, you have the opportunity to relate the skills and abilities you have developed to a number of different employment fields.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • The module develops the different aspects of forensic science studied in year 1. It encourages you to learn in detail about crime scene protocols as well as the techniques used to analyse evidence.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • Evaluating performance and, in particular, the probative value of the evidence is an essential part of the advancement of an investigation. This module is designed to introduce you to the processes undertaken in understanding and evaluating evidence as an investigation matures. The aim of this module is to focus upon the investigative process and for you to consider those issues that may dictate or influence how an investigation is conducted. This should help you to consider the investigation and investigative strategies, taking some theoretical perspectives and placing them in a practical context, applying a range of procedures and protocols to the theoretical constructs. The teaching on this module makes extensive use of a variety of case studies as a learning tool, to help put the investigation process into a wider perspective. This will build on the knowledge, skills and understanding acquired earlier in the course and will assist you in beginning to appreciate the complexities of this field of expertise.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module introduces you to the concepts of digital investigation within the UK legislative framework. You will examine the identification of digital evidence and its recovery in accordance with The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO 2014) Principles. The main topics you will cover include concepts of digital evidence, digital forensic investigation methodology, file systems essentials, data acquisition and forensic examination of digital systems.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module is designed to introduce you to the processes involved in evaluating evidence relating to fraud and recognise the many and various manifestations of fraud in society. You will have the opportunity to study the psychology of fraud, both as perpetrator and victim in the areas of frauds against the individual, older people, companies, industry, financial institutions and the State. You should learn how to devise an investigation strategy and what is involved in managing an investigation including financial profiling, bank statement analysis and basic account structures.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and exam

After successfully completing your second year, you have the opportunity to spend a year on professional placement or studying abroad.*

In your final year, you will 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, Artificial Intelligence and social media in investigation.

Modules

  • Successful completion of this module enables you, with the aid of specific case studies, to analyse and evaluate forensic evidence obtained from a range of sources. The module deals primarily with the appropriate application of a range of forensic crime scene techniques to a range of crime scenarios and you will also address the principles of forensic quality and the presentation of evidence to a criminal court.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and oral test

  • This module introduces you to some contemporary issues within the forensic investigation field, including investigative techniques, advances and ethics. You will not cover every aspect of investigation but instead you will focus on issues that are evolving in terms of relevance or technique.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • This module aims to provide you with an introduction to the legalities and practices surrounding covert surveillance. The module focuses on the legislative framework with the aim to ensure you know how to conduct proportionate, legal and necessary surveillance whilst remaining accountable and safe. You are introduced to some of the techniques of surveillance including forensic photography.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • This module brings together the skills and techniques of forensic investigators developed during the course, and encourages you to think creatively and critically about the procedures used when gathering evidence. Case studies will be used to help clearly demonstrate the links between the academic elements of the course and the practical issues faced by forensic professionals. Successful completion of the module will enable you to develop and enhance transferable skills such as reasoned argument, strategy evaluation and analysis. This module is designed to provide you with an increased understanding of the investigative world and how it operates in reality.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework

  • The module widens your experience in independent investigative and analytical work. You will present an appropriate independent investigative project in an area of interest to you. The aim is to provide you with the opportunity to study an area of Forensic Investigation, set your own questions and then proceed to construct and develop answers to those problems. Success in this module is evidence that you have become a self-directed learner.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Dissertation

  • You will also be able to take an Add+vantage module which can allow you to develop your CV by taking credits in an area of study that doesn’t have to be related to your degree. The assessment type will depend on the type of Add+vantage module you wish to take.

    Compulsory

    Assessment: Coursework and exam

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.


How you'll learn

Teaching methods include lectures, group work, seminars, tutorials, laboratory skills, flipped classroom, PC labs, mock courtrooms, interviewing and simulation exercises. You may find yourself flying a drone surveillance exercise or interviewing police officers.

In a typical teaching week, you will have around 12-15 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down into tutorials (or individual project supervision later on in the course), workshops, practical sessions, seminars and/or lectures.

Some ‘contact’ hours may take the form of synchronous online learning (e.g. live online lectures, meeting tutors via video calling etc).

The university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via emerging online technologies and methods across all courses. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2020/2021 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will 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.


Job ready

The course is focused on providing a practical experience, using real-life case studies and scenarios, as well as traditional academic approaches. You will have the opportunity 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.

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.

Throughout the course you are strongly encouraged to gain practical work experience, whether on a long or short placement.*


International experience opportunities

A number of the modules contain a comparative focus on international investigative and procedural matters. These include evidence gathering, forensic computing and policing studies.

You have opportunities to participate in Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects with other educational institutions. In the past we have participated in projects with the University of Malta, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada and the University of Seville.*

We have previously organised visits to the European Court of Human Rights, NATO Strategic Headquarters of Allied Powers Europe and the International Criminal Court.*


Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2022 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
A level BCC (Excludes General Studies)
GCSE Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 9-4 / A* - C including English Language and Mathematics, or specified equivalent
BTEC BTEC Level 3: Extended Diploma: DMM
IB Diploma 27 points

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

Fair Access Scheme

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

If you do not have the typical entry requirements, you may want to consider studying this course with an international foundation year. Upon successful completion our International Foundation Year - Law will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to progress onto this undergraduate degree.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall, with no component lower than 5.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2022/23 Tuition fees

Student Full time Part time
UK £9,250 per year Not available
International £15,950 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.


Facilities

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Ambulance

Our facilities include a mock ambulance, which students can use as part of their studies, to help simulate the patient journey. This gives students the opportunity to learn in situations that mirror real life scenarios.

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Strength and Conditioning Suite

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

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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.


Careers and opportunities

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 aim to give you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The university’s Talent 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.

Further study

You can choose to continue your studies at Coventry University with the MA Terrorism, International Crime and Global Security. You may be entitled to an alumni discount on your fees if you decide to extend your time with us by progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate study.


How to apply

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  • Student Contract

    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 2021/22 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.

    Tuition fees

    The tuition fee for the course that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For UK and EU students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, EU students should be aware that there may be a change to UK laws following the UK’s exit, this may change their student status, their eligibility to study part time, and/or their eligibility for student finance. We will act in accordance with the UK’s laws in force in relation to student tuition fees and finance from time to time.

    For International students the tuition fee that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For international students, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation.

    Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery. 

    Facilities

    Facilities mentioned on this page may not be relevant for every course. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Placements and study abroad opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any placement or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (e.g. travel, visas and accommodation etc.), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the requirements in this regard, please contact the International Office for further details if you are an EU or International student.

    Additional costs

    This course may incur additional costs associated with any field trips, placements or work experience, study abroad opportunities or any other opportunity (whether required or optional), which could include (but is not limited to), equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas).