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Forensic Investigation
BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation (with Foundation Year option)
BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation (with Foundation Year option)

BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation (with Foundation Year option)

  • ID:BU440026
  • Level:3-Year Bachelor's Degree
  • Duration:
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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • This course requires 104–120 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. We are happy to consider a combination of qualifications and grades to meet the overall tariff, for example A-levels A*CC, ABC, BBB or BCC, BTECs DDM or DMM. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to UCAS tariff points.

  • If you do not meet these you may want to consider our foundation year, a one-year course that will prepare you for degree-level study.

English Requirements

  • If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each of the 4 components or equivalent. 

Course Information

Why study BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation at BU?

  • Forensic investigation is a wide-ranging and compelling subject, drawing from scientific methods and practical training within criminal investigation

  • Taught by professional practitioners and guest speakers who are experts in their fields

  • Covering biological and analytical science, the degree provides an understanding and knowledge of key concepts in relevant law, professional skills, crime scenes and forensic sciences

  • Carried out in a variety of stimulating environments, including science labs, IT labs, field trips, and dedicated crime scene teaching labs in used for crime scene reconstruction

  • Year one is shared with students taking BSc (Hons) Forensic Science, with the option to switch degrees at the end of the year

  • Gain valuable work experience on your placement if you choose to take one and springboard into a career as a forensic investigator post-graduation. 

Foundation year: We have a foundation year option for UK students who do not meet the entry requirements for the degree course. This additional year of study will give you a grounding in the scientific skills required for this course, building your confidence, knowledge and skills for further study. After successful completion of the foundation year, you will progress to the full degree.

For September 2021 entry: In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses. This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in June 2021 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

UCAS Code: F401

With foundation year: F402

More info: Click here

Foundation year

Core units

  • Academic Study Skills: You will gain the fundamental academic and research skills required for degree level study. The unit will introduce you to a broad grounding in literature searching, literature review, data collection, methodological approach, data analysis and interpretation and ethical practice. It will also support you to begin to develop a critical and analytical approach to your work and identify areas for personal development. 

  • Applied Sciences: You'll gain a basic understanding of some fundamental aspects of science underpinning more specific disciplines, and an appreciation of how various scientific disciplines impact human life. You'll understand the differences between pure and applied science, as well as the roles of different ways applied science can be funded, and implications of these funding mechanisms. 

  • Introduction to Biology: Biology is the study of life and hence knowledge of plant and animal cell biology is fundamental to understanding wider concepts in biology. This unit also introduces key themes in human, environmental and ecological sciences to provide a sound underpinning in knowledge for future studies. 

  • Introduction to Psychology: This unit is designed to prepare you for advanced coursework in psychology. You will complete the unit with a good understanding of the various areas of psychology and how they seek to explain behaviour. 

  • Mathematics in Science: You will build your confidence in mathematics, in order to perform calculations on a range of scientific data from biology, chemistry and psychology and to be able to represent the findings in an appropriate format, including graphs. In order to carry this out it is essential to be able to convert the data between systems of units and to understand how to present very large and very small numbers in standard form. Basic statistical analysis of tabulated data will be carried out to introduce the concept of confidence limits and familiarisation of statistical testing. 

  • Foundation Year Project: You will carry out a research task on scientific topics chosen by the unit leader which you will be able to conduct a scientific investigation on. You will devise your own investigation and produce a literature review as a final scientific report. 

Year 1

Core units

  • Forensic Research Skills: This unit provides you with the skills to conduct the independent research needed for this course. These skills involve finding and evaluating academic literature, formulating scientific arguments and discussion, writing and presenting these ideas as essays, opinions and research papers. To facilitate discussion and questions, much of the unit will be taught in tutorial sessions, which also allows you to get to know the teaching team.

  • Cell Biology: Cells are the basic unit of life and hence knowledge of cell biology is fundamental to understanding wider concepts in biology. This unit introduces key themes in cell biology to provide a sound underpinning knowledge of cells and the way they function. The unit will equip you with an understanding of cell structure, function, control, basic molecular biology, the interaction of cells with viruses and the basic experimental techniques used to investigate cells.

  • Chemistry: You will be provided with an understanding of some aspects and processes within fundamental chemistry and analytical chemistry and develop your laboratory skills. The unit will predominately be delivered through lectures and practical laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions will enable reinforcement of the theoretical concepts by dealing with experimentally generated data and will allow for one-to-one and small group discussions.

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology: Giving you an overview of the structure and function of the human body, you will be introduced to the principal concepts underlying pathophysiological processes that disturb health. Key biological and physiological practical techniques relevant to measuring human health and disease are covered, together with the skills you will need for the analysis and presentation of the resulting data.

  • Introduction to Forensic Investigation: This unit will provide you with a deeper appreciation of the legal aspects, command structure and operational procedures of UK forensic investigations and provide a deeper insight into a range of forensic sciences available. It will provide you with the theoretical understanding to enhance practical experience in the recovery of physical evidence.

  • Introduction to Psychology: This unit will demonstrate the way in which psychological research underpins the understanding of deviant and aggressive behaviour and the concept and utility of offender profiling in forensic investigations. As well as providing a critical understanding of the psychological processes at work during interview, you will be introduced to the potential biases inherent in the courtroom environment. 

Year 2

Core units

  • Crime Scene and Advanced Crime Scene: These two units provide details on the legal aspects, command structure and operational procedures of UK scene of crime investigations and provide an introduction to a range of forensic sciences. Both units will also provide practical experience in the recovery of evidence from potential scenes of crime.

  • Forensic Computing: The role of this unit is to provide you with the fundamental skills and understanding of the techniques and technologies of digital forensics as they apply in a digital (computer-based) environment. You will develop competence to conduct your own forensic examinations of digital media. You will select and use existing software, including software used by law enforcement agencies.

  • Forensic Law & Practice: You will critically consider the criminal justice system in England and Wales and engage with the central issues common to any major criminal justice system. You will be equipped with a greater knowledge of criminal procedure including a comprehensive coverage of the entire criminal process from police investigation through to trial process to appeals and rectifications of miscarriages of justice.

  • Forensic Science: The basic scientific and analytical principals underlying the practice of forensic science will be explored in this unit. You will be introduced to a range of basic case types and to the analytical techniques commonly employed in forensic casework.

Option units

Semester 2 (choose one):

  • Case studies in Forensic Science: Discover how forensic science has developed and impacted on the investigation of crime and Criminal Justice System by studying and discussing a selection of cases from the published literature and trial transcripts. You will learn about the process of case investigation in modern policing; how a lawyer/barrister prepares a case for court and understand the role and responsibilities of the forensic expert and the impact that may have on a legal investigation.

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS): On completion of this unit, you will be able to select and plan GIS analysis using the appropriate software and manipulate the software for specific tasks. Emphasis is on data capture and analysis, and the presentation of data as cartographic maps.

  • Introduction to Toxicology: The basic principles of toxicology will be explored in this unit, designed to offer foundation knowledge for those intending to study toxicology at higher levels or for those intending to study subjects peripheral to toxicology or where a basic understanding of toxicology will be relevant.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Optional placement year

You may choose to complete an optional 30-week minimum or a short five-week industrial work placement. You’ll get an opportunity to include a period of academic study during this time. The placement year offers a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future.

Final year

Core units

  • Advanced Forensic Science: You will enhance your knowledge and critical thinking skills associated with the scientific and analytical principals underlying the practice of forensic science in this unit. You will gain in depth knowledge of key areas of forensic science.

  • Independent Research Project: The Independent Research Project provides you with an opportunity to gain experience of research in a topic of your choice relevant to your degree and to demonstrate your ability to report that research. Such experience is considered essential for those students interested in pursuing academic and/or professional research at a higher level of responsibility and achievement.

  • International Investigations: Covering events ranging from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, transport disasters and design failures, you will learn about the role of professionals & organisations at major incident sites and national systems of emergency response & recovery and the legal and cultural issues. You will gain an understanding of the principles of search, location and scene management of crimes, accident, major incidents and disasters and an awareness of the organisations involved in recovery of victims, investigating and prosecuting on local, national or international scale. You will develop an appreciation of the cultural difference between northern European, Mediterranean and Eastern cultures and the International agreements on search, recovery and repatriation protocols. You will take part in group work exercises, presentations from appropriate organisations and some practical activities.

Option units

Semester 1 (choose one):

  • Environmental Forensics: Issues in Environmental Forensics range from pollution investigations to wildlife crime at local, national and international levels. You will learn to select appropriate analytical and forensic techniques used in an environmental crime investigation and understand both the legal and cultural issues faced when investigating wildlife crimes nationally, internationally and trans-frontier. You will need an awareness of the organisations involved in investigation and prosecution, so there will be presentations from appropriate organisations and the opportunity to take part in practical activities.

  • Forensic Toxicology: Following on from the Introduction to Toxicology in year 2, this unit provides you with a knowledge and understanding of the complex issues involved with the analysis of common drugs and poisons in human tissues and the ways in which they exert their effects on the body and influence behaviour.

  • The Science of Human Remains: Practical lab sessions will allow you to examine skeletal material of modern humans in archaeological and forensic contexts. You will examine the ways in which disease can inform health status in past societies and how disease, trauma and skeletal pathology can identify individuals in a forensic context.

Semester 2 (choose one):

  • Forensic Practice: You will enhance your knowledge and critical thinking skills associated with the scientific and analytical principals underlying the practice of forensic science in this unit. You will gain in depth knowledge of key areas of forensic science.

  • Occupational Health & Safety: The technology and safety issues associated with machinery design, manual handling, chemical safety, electrical and fire safety and safety associated with construction are dealt with. Any employer will expect you to be aware of safety management techniques in the following areas; accident prevention, risk assessment and health and safety training; and specific health and safety regulation and enforcement procedures. You will also learn about occupational health and safety issues which include workplace exposure limits, routes of entry and the body’s response to hazardous substances, noise, radiation. You will participate in an initial safety audit of an unknown area.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

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Career Opportunity

Career Opportunity

Forensic investigation is a broad and fascinating area of study that predominantly prepares you for work in the field of criminal investigation, although the principles and skills you learn can be applied in a variety of scientific and investigative contexts.

They have gone on to work for organisations such as Trading Standards, HM Revenue & Customs, and The Environment Agency, as well as taking positions in forensic laboratories and private consultancies. 

Ability to settle

Overseas Student Health Cover

OSHC: 624 ($) GBP per year

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