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COURSE OVERVIEW

  • Learn from a teaching team with wide-ranging practitioner experience offering genuine insight into Forensic Studies
  • Benefit from interactive and practical teaching approaches that bring theory and practice to life
  • Focus on professional employability throughout the programme
  • Experience real-world criminology in action by reviewing actual cases at The Justice Project

On our dynamic three-year programme you engage with the key issues surrounding forensic detection methods. Combining elements of criminology, psychology and archaeology you are introduced to a wide range of applied investigative techniques, grounded in both classic and contemporary theoretical perspectives.

With opportunities to get kitted out in full crime suit and gloves, at Winchester you can contribute to and experience real-world criminology in action through the Justice Project, working on cases where the appeals system has been exhausted.

Throughout the programme expert teaching and a range of assessment methods encourages you to develop research and analytical skills, excellent written and oral communication skills and to gain experience of building and presenting arguments.

In Year 1, you are introduced to the broad scope of forensic science practice and the core conceptual, theoretical, ethical and practical debates within forensic studies.

The second year of the programme mines specific forensic science practices, such as DNA analysis and forensic archaeology, in more detail. You also learn about the key roles of forensic anthropology and medical examiners.

In the final year, you appreciate the complexities involved in collecting and presenting forensic evidence through a series of practical activities. You also undertake a research project in the form of a dissertation and focus on professional development in preparation for employment.

Graduates find work in a variety of criminal justice agencies and related employment fields. These include the police and prison services, youth and probation work and Government research units, such as the Home Office.

Careers

Graduates find work in a variety of Criminal Justice agencies and related employment fields. These include the police service, the prison service, youth and probation work and Government research units, such as the Home Office.

94.4% of our 2015/16 graduates (first degree and other undergraduate courses) were in employment and/or further study six months after completing their course.

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) record collects information about what those completing university go on to do six months after graduation. The Careers Service undertakes DLHE on an annual basis through surveys and a data collection process. DLHE is designed and strictly controlled by HESA.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Suitable for applicants from

UK, EU, World

Study abroad

Our BA (Hons) Forensic Studies course provides an opportunity for you to study abroad in the United States of America (USA).

For more information see our Study Abroad section.

Learning and teaching

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market. 

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars etc.), you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, your personal tutor and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 252 hours
  • Independent learning: 948 hours
Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 240 hours
  • Independent learning: 936 hours
  • Placement: 24 hours
Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*
  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 240 hours
  • Independent learning: 960 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course. 

Students on the Forensic Studies programme undertake many different learning and teaching activities including lectures, practical classes, seminar discussions, group discussions and debates, guided study exercises, independent learning, problem solving exercises, guest speakers, individual tutorials, and project supervision. Teaching activities are designed to help students relate theory to practice and draw relevant connections with the contemporary context of forensic science.

Throughout the programme teaching encourages critical thinking and analysis in approaches to thinking about forensics. Specific provision is made for students to develop academic skills, and staff are available to answer student queries on all aspects of their studies. As students progress through the programme they are encouraged to become increasingly autonomous as learners, thereby equipping them to act independently both in their studies and beyond university. 

Location

King Alfred or West Downs, University of Winchester

Assessment

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.
We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:

Year 1 (Level 4)*:

• 49% coursework
• 34% written exams
• 17% practical exams

Year 2 (Level 5)*:

• 89% coursework
• 5% written exams
• 6% practical exams

Year 3 (Level 6)*:

• 65% coursework
• 14% written exams
• 21% practical exams

*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.

Feedback

We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

2018 Entry: 104-120 points 

*UCAS has changed the way they calculate the tariff for courses. Find out more about the new tariff.

A GCSE A*-C or 9-4 pass in English Language is required.

International Baccalaureate: 26 points

If English is not your first language: Year 1/Level 4: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing

Course enquiries and applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234

Send us a message

International students

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at International@winchester.ac.uk or calling +44 (0)1962 827023

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by coming to one of our Open Days.

Year 1 (Level 4)

Modules Credits

Introduction to Forensic Evidence 15

This module will introduce students to forensic science as it applies to courts of law in the UK. In addition to highlighting what constitutes ‘forensic science’ and the scope of the discipline Forensic science in both criminal and civil courts will be considered, as will the growing role of informative forensic science in private and corporate investigations.  The students will, in particular, be made aware of the legal and ethical obligations and responsibilities of forensic scientists, and will be able to evaluate the consequences of breaches of these obligations and responsibilities. As part of this students will be introduced to the concept of Court of Appeal Judgments and should be able to navigate the British and Irish legal information website www.bailii.org. This module will provide the grounding for the rest of the forensic studies modules in this award.

Contemporary Issues 15

The forensic science sector is constantly innovating new ways to capture new evidence types as technology advances and endeavours to meet the evolving needs of criminal justice system. This module explores a range of contemporary issues facing the forensic science sector nationally and internationally. Students are introduced to the role of the forensic science regulator and the requirement for a forensic watchdog. The module also explores the legal, ethical, academic, and political challenges the system faces as it seeks to meet public expectations.

Police and Police Work 15

The police are one of the most important parts of the criminal justice system and also one of the most scrutinised. This module will introduce students to the work conducted by the police in England and Wales and focus on key debates on the role of the police with respect to the rest of society.

The module will also examine and explore issues such as policing by consent, the arming of police and contemporary issues such as community policing and the policing of terrorism. Other issues will include the policing and approaches protests and demonstrations, police and youth as well as police ethics and culture.

Trace Evidence 15

This module will introduce students to different types of trace evidence such as glass fragments, paint, geological traces, hairs and fibres. The means by which trace evidence can be deposited and transferred will be investigated, as will methods of comparison and systems used by forensic scientists when evaluating the evidential value of trace evidence in the context of a case. The use of trace evidence will be illustrated by reference to important cases. The focus of this module is on the practical and ethical challenges associated with the collection of trace evidence. No knowledge of chemistry or biology is expected or required.

Academic and Employment Skills 15

This purpose of this module is to introduce students to important academic conventions, provide coverage of basic scientific concepts that will underpin work they do throughout the programme and to encourage students to think about how they can get the most from their time at university and beyond. Students will prepare a portfolio of exercises including critical thinking, personal development and CV writing. The portfolio is designed to help students identify and meet their learning needs relating to a range of key learning skills necessary for successful study at higher education level.  During this module students will learn academic conventions associated with referencing, the importance of critical analysis of information, how to access and present Forensic Studies information and work in groups. An important part of the module are sessions dedicated to understanding scientific terms and concepts that students will need to engage with other modules. These activities and the portfolio students will develop students as independent learners and instil confidence in them going forward with the rest of their study.

Forensic Biology 15

Forensic biology is much more than DNA analysis. DNA profile evidence will be covered in its own module. In this module students will investigate other technologies that forensic biologists have at their disposal to assist in the investigation of cases. Because of its importance in serious assault cases there will be a strong focus on blood stain pattern analysis but entomology and taphonomy will also be covered in detail. The rest of the module will briefly deal with other forensic biology technologies including: forensic entomology, botany, palynology, diatoms, blood grouping, and evidence that can be applied to the investigation of wildlife crime. The value of various evidence types will be illustrated by reference to important cases. The focus of the module will be on the difficulties inherent in collecting biological evidence e.g. the challenges presented by the possibility such evidence can be contaminated or degrade.

Introduction to Criminology 1: Perceptions and Perspectives 15

Criminology is considered as a ‘rendezvous’ but specialist discipline; a study of crime and criminal activity that serves as a meeting point for Social Science disciplines. This module introduces and explores the various disciplinary approaches to the study of crime. However, it will have as its starting point an exploration of common-sense and everyday perceptions and the social construction of crime, as well as the representation of crime and the criminal justice system. The module will also begin to introduce and explore the range and scope of issues and topics examined by the specialist discipline of Criminology.
The module will conclude by introducing students to some of the Criminology related initiatives and interventions currently at the University, such as the ‘Innocence Project’, ‘ Prison Theatre productions’ and community based initiatives. This will also introduce students to the notion and opportunities for volunteering as part of the University wide initiative and policy.

A History of Forensic Science 15

This module gives students the opportunity to investigate the history of forensic science, beginning with the origins of science itself, scientific method as a way of investigating the World around us, and the benefits and challenges provided by an evidence-based approach to problem solving. The module will investigate the current state of forensic science provision and will enable students to critically evaluate the effects of the progressive privatisation of forensic science provision in England and Wales, and to compare this with forensic science provision in other jurisdictions, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Year 2 (Level 5)

Modules Credits

Evidence of Marks and Damage 15

This module examines concepts of authenticity when applied to a range of material culture such as documents, adulterated or mislabelled food, art, alcohol, and antiquities. The module draws upon criminological concepts in relation to white collar crime and organised crime and the agencies involved in their detection and prosecution. The module provides grounding for a number of techniques for the investigation of counterfeiting, forging, and fraudulent activities; these processes include art and antiquity provenancing, DNA analysis, radio carbon dating, isotope analysis, and document analysis. By the end of this module students will have gained a better understanding of the range of crimes and investigative methods at work in this important area of forensic investigation.

Fakes and Forgeries 15

This module examines concepts of authenticity when applied to a range of material culture such as documents, adulterated or mislabelled food, art, alcohol, and antiquities. The module draws upon criminological concepts in relation to white collar crime and organised crime and the agencies involved in their detection and prosecution. The module provides grounding for a number of techniques for the investigation of counterfeiting, forging, and fraudulent activities; these processes include art and antiquity provenancing, DNA analysis, radio carbon dating, isotope analysis, and document analysis. By the end of this module students will have gained a better understanding of the range of crimes and investigative methods at work in this important area of forensic investigation.

Research Methods 15

This module will outline and examine the range of research processes associated with forensic and criminological disciplines: from the planning stage, literature review, through to data analysis and presentation of findings. The module will also critically examine the quantitative and qualitative approaches to research. It also considers the limitations of research. There will also be an evaluation of the main research methods employed within social and analytical sciences, including experimental design, questionnaires, case studies as well as a critical exploration of the ‘realities’ and ‘practicalities’ of research. An exploration of the ethical and political issues raised through doing social science research into issues and topics of a sensitive and illegal nature will also be included within this module. The module will develop the knowledge of the research process and the relevant research skills and understanding that will be utilised within the Dissertation.

Criminological Investigation: Miscarriages of Justice/Innocence Project 15

Overall this module will explore the issues surrounding wrongful conviction and miscarriages of justice; as such the module will combine theory with practice in examining this aspect of criminal justice. The delivery and content of the module will be divided into two discrete yet inter-related parts and will introduce students to the Innocence Project; an opportunity to work on ‘live’ cases where wrongful conviction and innocence continues to be claimed by serving prisoners after all appeal processes have been exhausted. The Winchester Innocence Project is part of the Innocence Network UK (INUK). After being introduced to the Innocence Project protocols, background, ethical and data protection considerations, students will have an opportunity, under supervision, to consult the case files currently held at Winchester University with a view developing their skills in assessing evidence as well as their understanding of the criminal justice process. It will also facilitate and encourage students who wish to volunteer to continue to work on the cases. There is also an opportunity for students to develop their interest in the Innocence Project into their Dissertation.
Using examples from well known case studies, such as ‘The Guildford Four’, ‘Birmingham Six’ , ‘Cardiff Three’, Sean Hodgson, and before embarking on the Innocence Project case work, students will be introduced to the theory, concepts and debates that surround wrongful convictions, miscarriages of justice and continued claims of innocence. The module will look at the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Crown Prosecution Service, and appeals process in general, use of DNA evidence, issues relating to vulnerable witnesses and suspects.

Practical Skills 15

This module provides opportunities for students to develop a practical skillset and it enables students to evidence their competency in several key applications in the laboratory and at the crime scene. The module places particular emphasis on enhancing transferable skills expected within graduate employment. The skills gained on this module provide an important foundation for students to apply and develop these skills further within Level 5 and at Level 6. Students will learn how to apply scientific methods to tackle problems in science, including how to construct a suitable hypothesis and how to design experiments to test this hypothesis. This module equips learner with basic scientific skills, skills specific to forensic contexts, and graduate skills as identified by prospective employers.

Forensic Archaeology 15

This module provides a detailed introduction to the objectives, approaches and methods of archaeological techniques and how these have informed the collection of forensic evidence.
Archaeologists can play a key role at the major crime scene, particularly when traditional methods of crime scene analysis prove insufficient (e.g. in the case of Fred and Rosemary West). It is for these reasons that archaeologists are employed as Scenes of Crimes Officers in major UK police forces as well as those in North America. The aim of this module is to introduce students to key scientific approaches that are of value to forensic archaeology and provide students with basic practical skills in relevant techniques. Students will be introduced to techniques for searching for missing persons and locating buried remains including geophysics, aerial photography and the identification of surface anomalies. Students will be introduced to the identification of evidence, excavation, recovery and recording of buried remains. Sampling strategies of ecological evidence will also be included. Student learning will be re-enforced through their participation in a mock outdoor crime scene practical. Students will gain understanding in how the skills of the forensic archaeologist can be deployed in a range of crime scenes including domestic murder and the investigation of suspected genocide.

Forensic DNA Evidence 15

Forensic DNA profile evidence is one of the most important recent developments in forensic science.  Students studying this module will learn about the development of forensic DNA technology, from its origins in the 1980s to current applications.  The genetic basis of forensic DNA profiles will be explored, as will the variety of techniques that are available to an investigator.  As well as considering the benefits of DNA profile evidence, the students will explore the limitations of such evidence. Although the students will not undertake their own DNA profile analyses, DNA profiles will be provided for examination. The use of DNA profile evidence will be illustrated by reference to important cases. Although some of the content of the module is technical in nature the module will be taught assuming no prior knowledge of biology or chemistry.

Forensic Medicine 15

This module will deal with issues relating to the investigation of fatal and non-fatal injuries. The role of the forensic pathologist, odontologist and toxicologist will be considered.  Students will learn about the history and development of medically based forensic science. The duties of the forensic medical examiner will be explained. Students should be aware that some images used in this module may be of a medically explicit nature.

Optional Credits

Year 2 Optional Modules
  • Violent Crime 15 Credits
  • Volunteering for Forensic Studies 15 Credits

Year 3 (Level 6)

Modules Credits

Crime Scene Investigation 15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the observation, recording and preservation of both volume and major crime scenes and evidence. Students will be introduced to the role of all personnel at crime scenes and how to process both simple and complex crime scenes. Students will be taught the methods to avoid contamination of evidence and how to maintain a chain of custody. Part of this module considers how forensic investigators disseminate information in police briefings. Students will learn how forensic investigators deal with suspected linked crime scenes and how intelligence can inform forensic strategy. Students will develop forensic strategies in response to dynamic scenarios of both volume and major crimes.

Presenting Forensic Evidence 15

This module will enable students to appreciate the various means by which scientific evidence can be presented. The module will cover written reports, the use of modern multi-media technology in evidence presentation, and issues regarding the presentation of evidence in the witness box. Students will consider whether popular media may affect the public perception of expert evidence and will be given training in presentation skills.

Dissertation 30

Following two years of study the Dissertation is an extended independent study module that provides an opportunity for students to develop further study into an area or topic of their own choice and interest, including undertaking a piece of independent research. The student will:
• Identify a topic of interest.
• Provide a rationale for research their chosen topic.
• Devise and submit a research proposal.
• Conduct the research.
• Write up and present the project and main findings.
As part of the presentation of findings the student will prepare and present a poster outlining the research process, main findings and conclusions before addressing questions from peers and tutors. The Dissertation is a double module which spans Semesters 1 and 2 and provides the student with an opportunity to develop their interests in a specific aspect of Forensics as well as developing their research and communication skills.

Forensic Imaging 15

Imaging techniques such as photography play an important role within crime scene investigation and analysis. This module introduces students to the contributions that forensic imaging techniques play in the building of forensic cases. This includes highlighting for students the importance of accurately preserving and capturing crime scenes when imaging them and equipping students with the technical knowledge to produce accurate images of evidence that can stand scrutiny in court.

Professional Development: Planning for Employment 15

This module is a dedicated ‘employability’ module designed specifically for the undergraduate criminology curriculum. As such the module has been created after consultation with potential employers and professional practitioners within the prison, police and probation services as well as those working in the youth, community and private sectors. The purpose of this consultation was to reflect upon issues, skills and knowledge relating to graduate employability.
The module will highlight and make explicit links between critical academic theory, technical knowledge and generic skills, thereby addressing the QAA Criminology employability benchmarks. In this process the module aims to bring together the methodological, academic and practical skills gained during the Criminology programme and apply these to student professional development culminating in the production of a professional development file.
The module will also explore potential links between researching for academic work and researching for relevant career applications in developing awareness of professional practice in professions and organisations related to Criminology. In this respect the module will utilise the expertise of the University’s Careers Service as well as its links external to the University to provide such insight and understanding.

Optional Credits

Year 3 Optional Modules
  • Forensic Psychology 15 Credits
  • Forensic Linguistics 15 Credits
  • Document Analysis 15 Credits
  • Advanced Forensic Examination 15 Credits
  • Policing Society 15 Credits

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at www.winchester.ac.uk/termsandconditions.
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Course Tuition Fees 

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

If you are a UK or EU student starting your degree in September 2018, the first year will cost you £9,250. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK and EU students. Remember, you don't have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year. If finance is a worry for you, we are here to help. Take a look at the range of support we have on offer. This is a great investment you are making in your future, so make sure you know what is on offer to support you.

Full-time £9,250 p/a

Total Cost: £27,750 (3 years) | £28,450 (sandwich option)

UK/EU Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,938

International Students

Full-time £12,950** p/a
Total Cost: £38,850** (3 years) | £39,550** (sandwich option)

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £107.92 and a 15 credit module is £1,620. Fees for students from Vestfold University College in Norway (who receive a 10% reduction) and NLA are £11,655.

 

ADDITIONAL COSTS

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:

Optional

Trips

There will be costs involved for optional trips (no extra costs for compulsory trips). Cost £20 per academic year. 

Core texts

Multiple copies of core text are held within the library and e-books are identified where possible, however some students prefer to purchase their own copies. Core texts can be bought second hand, or as ebook which can often reduce the cost. Cost £100 per academic year. 

Equipment

Costs will vary. Whilst equipment is included for all taught modules additional costs may be incurred by the student during the dissertation in the third year. The cost depends on the research topic designed by the student. Equipment is included for scheduled lab activities. Costs will vary according to student choice.

Longwearing crime scene suit overalls: Students may choose to wear a non-disposable scene suit. The students undertake practical work across all years of study. Cost up to £40.

Mandatory

Printing and binding

Students may need to pay for poster printing on some modules (first, second, third year). Students will need to pay for dissertation binding. The programme requires two bound copies of the dissertation in the third year. Cost for printing a colour poster is £10. It is £5 per copy for a dissertation.

Crime scene suit

One crime scene suit is provided per student. Students may need to buy additional crime scene suits. The students undertake practical work across all years of study. Cost between £3 - £8. 

Clothing

For one module in the third year of study, students will be expected to dress smartly for their final oral assessment. Cost £0 - £50 depending on their existing wardrobe.

Travel to placements

A third year module requires students to travel to a work placement of their choice (15 hours). Cost dependent on location, between £0-£50.

SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES AND AWARDS

We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.

Key course details

UCAS code
F410
Duration
3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
Typical offer
104-120 points
Location
King Alfred Campus or at West Downs, Winchester