Forensic Investigations BSc (Hons) with foundation year

Study level: Undergraduate
Up-close hands in blue gloves and a shirt holding a piece of glass with a brush testing carrying out an investigation

Forensic investigation is an exciting and challenging area of study, which involves an understanding of investigative techniques including the interpretation and presentation of evidence.

Course option

Year of entry

Location

CU Coventry (Coventry) and
Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

4 years full-time
5 years sandwich

UCAS codes

FFDF

Start date

September 2024
November 2024


Course overview

Our degree with foundation year could be the stepping stone you need to achieve your goals. The foundation year aims to prepare you for degree-level study and is a great way to build the confidence, skills and knowledge needed to succeed on your degree course.

Foundation year

The foundation year course offers an introduction to your chosen subject and helps you develop the necessary skills for degree-level study. It aims to provide a thorough understanding of legal principles and best practice. With a focus on European, national and local contexts, this course explores the development of legislation and case law with core academic skills.

Degree

The degree provides the breadth of skills and techniques which could enable you to pursue diverse careers including those in fraud management, digital forensics, social media and other investigatory roles.

  • There is a valuable element of practical work and our course touches upon a range of investigative techniques.
  • 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 approaches2.
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2023

Why you should study this course

The course benefits from: 

Foundation year

  • Supports you to gain the academic skills required for degree-level study.
  • Provides a grounding in key areas of criminal law and legal practice.

Degree

  • Our comprehensive curriculum covers investigative skills, the law, interviewing techniques, forensic science, investigation management, and legal process of enquiry, crime scene analysis, fraud investigation, digital forensics, surveillance and the evaluation of evidence.
  • Use of ethical hacking facilities for digital forensics and investigation using social media and access to well-equipped laboratory facilities for various scientific techniques based in the state-of-the-art Alison Gingell Building4.
  • Experience of crime scene management and access to a crime scene house and mock courtroom where students will actively participate in simulated court room proceedings.
  • Regular expert guest lecturers from professionals in their field who provide insight into the numerous employability options available (subject to availability).
  • Recognised by Skills for Justice for the quality of our teaching – Quality Mark accreditation1.

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
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What you'll study

In the first year, the curriculum allows you to gain a broad grounding in the discipline where you will develop knowledge and skills to do with criminal and civil law, investigative practice, forensic science and forensic interviewing, among others. 

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 and a study of some criminal offences. 

    Compulsory

  • 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

  • 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.  

    Compulsory

  • 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

  • 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. 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

  • You will learn how to collect data, analyse data and present data in a variety of forms including creative presentations in digital formats 

    Compulsory

In year two, you will develop more advanced knowledge and skills to do with: crime scene analysis and the understanding of evidence, fraud investigation, 3D spatial reconstruction and digital forensics, among others. 

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 students will learn about the importance of research, 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 they are conducting your own research. 

    Compulsory

  • You will aim to learn how to visualise 2D and 3D images in a variety of scenarios including digital mapping, topography, stereo-chemistry, anatomy, CT scans, photogrammetry, augmented and virtual reality 

    Compulsory

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

    Compulsory

  • 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 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

  • 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

  • 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 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 social media profiling, reverse image search, bank statement analysis and basic account structures. 

    Compulsory

There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.

If you choose to do a work placement year2, you will pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.

Modules

  • This module provides an option for you to undertake an enhancement year2 following the second year of your degree programme. This year could consist of a European internship through Erasmus/Erasmus Plus/Turing Scheme (TBC), self-funded European internship, international internship, study abroad, or an appropriate and agreed combination of above activities.  

    Optional

  • This module provides an option for you to undertake an enhancement year2 following the second year of your degree programme. This year could consist of an internship or placement scheme, short term placement, business start-up, contract (freelance or independent commission opportunity), or an appropriate and agreed combination of above activities.  

    Optional

Your final year aims to bring you to the level to enter the world of work by consolidating your knowledge and skills from year one and two. You could also work on a large final project in an area of your interest, with the support of your dissertation supervisor. 

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

  • 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

  • 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.  

    Compulsory

  • 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

  • This 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

The foundation year offers an introduction to your chosen subject and supports you to develop the skills required for degree-level study.

Modules

  • The aim of this module is to ensure that you understand the primary concepts, terms and processes in the practice of Law in England and Wales. We’ll discuss the interpretation and application of legal rules, providing you with an insight into key aspects of professional practice and law in the workplace.
    We will focus on contemporary case studies and analyse current issues in the legal system to keep the course relevant.
    This module has content from the CILEx Level 3 Unit 1: Introduction to Law and Practice embedded.

    Compulsory

  • In this module, you will learn to understand exactly what constitutes a valid and enforceable contract. You’ll look at obligations, the rights of third parties and the terms of a contract to solidify your understanding. You will cover a range of relevant topics, such as discharge of contract, vitiating factors and legal reasoning.
    You’ll develop analytical skills by performing critical evaluations of contractual obligations and the remedies available.
    This module has the CILEx Level 3 Unit 2: Contract Law embedded.

    Compulsory

  • The Criminal Law and Practice module encompasses both criminal theory and criminal process.

    The Criminal Law element of the module will examine the general principles of criminal law, including how liability is incurred through acts, omissions and intention. Consideration will be given to particular offences involving dishonesty and non-fatal offences against the person, murder/manslaughter, criminal damage and where relevant, defences. Key doctrines and rules will be discussed with analysis of statute and case law.

    The Criminal Litigation element will be embedded into and run alongside Criminal Law study. You will look at how criminal cases play out in court within the criminal litigation system of England and Wales. You will have the opportunity to gain knowledge of the professional requirements and skills to run a criminal file in practice. In addition, you may also have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in making oral legal submissions (advocacy) in a virtual courtroom4.

    Compulsory

  • The initial transition to higher education can pose a range of challenges that you need to overcome. Therefore, we ensure that you have a clear understanding of the skills needed for effective legal practice, including how to create, draft and use various client care documents as well as becoming confident as an independent learner.

    We’ll guide you through legal reasoning, critical thinking and decision-making. You’ll also learn the processes and procedures of professional conduct, with client care, interviews and communications.

    Compulsory

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

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 (all subject to availability and potential additional costs for industry visits)2.

The foundation year programme is focused on applied learning geared to high intensity teaching and study throughout the programme, requiring full commitment from students. The delivery of course content is a blend of lectures, tutorials and online mediums.

Unlike traditional institutions, there are no end of year exams. Instead, learning is assessed through coursework and phase tests, which is more reflective of a working environment.


Teaching contact hours

You can expect up 20 hours of learning activities per week, made up of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, online classes and independent learning.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 30 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.


Assessment

The learning outcomes of modules, assignments and projects will be clearly stated. Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve these learning outcomes and your final feedback will refer to each outcome, as well as provide an overall percentage grade.

Assessment methods vary and may include practical class and project performance, written practical reports, project thesis, oral presentations, tutorial tasks and assessments which generally take place at the end of each six-week block.

We incorporate a wide range of teaching methods, for example, you may find yourself in a VR simulation exercise or interviewing police officers.

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 trips2, which have previously included the National Justice Museum 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 a team building and problem solving day at an activity centre, where you can take part in a range of activities, including problem solving exercises and some physical activities (both field trips and team building courses are subject to availability and additional costs may apply). 

Throughout the course you are strongly encouraged to gain practical work experience. You have the opportunity to take a sandwich year on a professional placement or you may opt for a shorter placement2. Long and short-term placements have resulted in us helping organise a range of internships in the UK and abroad. Students from our course may also be 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 by the police.

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


Teaching contact hours

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.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 20 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules. 
Some ‘contact’ hours may take the form of synchronous online learning (e.g. live online lectures, meeting tutors via video calling etc).

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. 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:

  • Phase tests
  • Essays
  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Digital storyboards
  • Individual assignments

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.  

Forensic Investigations is a ‘doing’ course continues to develop a number of opportunities for students to explore creative processes which includes simulations, raft building, problem solving and teamwork. The raft building day tests team building and leadership skills.

Dr Chris Hiley, Course Director, 2022
Chris Hiley

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

72 UCAS tariff points. All foundation courses require 5 GCSEs at A-C/9-4 including Maths and English, and at least one A2 level or a BTEC equivalent qualification.

If you don’t fulfil the entry criteria your application may be considered on an individual basis, taking into account any work experience, other qualifications and/or any training you have completed. Speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

For information regarding specific requirements, please fill in our request information form.

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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. Find out more about our Fair Access Scheme.

Got higher grades? Have you considered direct entry to the degree without foundation year?


Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Foundation year

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £7,950 Not available
International/EU Not currently available*** Not available

Degree

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £9,250 per year Not available
International/EU Not currently available*** Not available

Please note: UK (home) tuition fees for the degree course years will be charged at the current Coventry University UK (home) degree fee level. This was set at £9,250 for the 23/24 academic year.

If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.

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.

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.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**This course with foundation year is not currently available to international students

If you do not meet the entry requirements to directly join year 1 of the degree, please take a look at our International Pathways Programme for additional options.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Facilities

Our foundation years are taught at CU Coventry’s Mile Lane building, a short walk from the city centre. You’re part of the university from day one, so during your foundation year you’ll have access to the wider facilities at Coventry University. Once you successfully complete your foundation year, you'll transfer over to studying your chosen degree at Coventry University, where you'll be taught on campus in the relevant academic buildings.

Located on our Mile Lane campus, you will have access to our Library and Learning Services (LLS), fully equipped seminar rooms and IT suites4. You can also take advantage of reading rights in Coventry University’s Lanchester Library, make use of sport centre facilities and receive full membership to Your Students' Union.

Two students walking outside with the CU Coventry building behind them.

Mile Lane

The campus is home to an on-site library with bookable one-to-one academic writing service and library support sessions, fully equipped seminar rooms, open-access study areas, a café and an IT suite. Our labs contain industry-standard equipment so that you learn using the same equipment as many industry professionals.

A student working in a booth in The Hub.

The Hub

At The Hub you'll find the Health and Wellbeing Centre, the Students’ Union and Square One which provide entertainment from quiz nights to live music, the Spirituality and Faith Centre, Tank Studio, Careers Office, Enterprise Hub and a fantastic food court.

 

 

External view of the Lanchester Library.

Lanchester Library

You will have full reading rights in Coventry University’s Lanchester Library. The library is open 24/7, 364 days a year and has many study spaces, including group and silent areas. It also currently offers touchdown computers and free-to-loan laptops.

 

 

The Forensic Investigations degree is delivered at the Coventry University campus in Coventry.

There are a number of state-of-the-art facilities available4:

  • Two fully functional houses with video and audio links to a central control room where we stage simulated crime scenes.
  • Ethical hacking lab isolated from outside networks where digital forensics is taught.
  • 20 VR Oculus Quest 2 headsets for 3D simulations and spatial reconstructions.

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, fraud investigation organisations, environmental or financial services and teaching.

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.

Further study

Some of our graduates have chosen to continue their studies with postgraduate qualifications, such as the Terrorism, International Crime and Global Security MA here at Coventry.


How to apply

  • Study location

    The Foundation Year study route will be delivered by CU, part of the Coventry University Group, for and on behalf of Coventry University.

    If you choose to study at CU Coventry for your Foundation Year, then your learning will be based at CU Coventry. Mile Lane, Coventry. Subject to meeting requirements you will then transition to the relevant Coventry University subject faculty building for your progression degree.

    Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 

    1Accreditations

    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.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) 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 is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    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 current 2023/2024 contract is available on the website for information purposes however the 2024/25 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. 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.

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