BSc (Hons)

Forensic Investigation


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. 

Room of students in lab coats looking at bags of evidence

Course overview

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 Pathways to Law, Crime & Justice programme is an opportunity for prospective law, criminology, forensics and policing students to engage in a series of practical and informative sessions delivered by academics and practitioners at the Faculty of Law, Crime and Justice.

Participants in the Pathways to Law, Crime & Justice  are eligible to receive reduced contextual offers on the following University of Winchester courses:

- LLB (Hons) Law
- BA (Hons) Law with Criminology
- BA (Hons) Criminology
- BA (Hons) Criminology with Psychology
- BA (Hons) Criminology and Sociology
- BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation
- BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
- BSc (Hons) Professional Policing

Eligibility for the programme
The programme is open to all home/ Islands Year 12 and Year 13 students.

Programme activities include:
•    Lectures and seminar activities based on a variety of legal topics
•    Experience of practical legal exercises including mooting, client interviewing and negotiation
•    Career guidance and advice from legal and criminal justice and policing professionals
•    Optional interview experience with the Dean of Faculty or Head of Department

All activities are delivered live at the University of Winchester. Some activities are also delivered virtually.

For more information on the pathways programme and how to apply, register your interest here

Please click here for the Pathways to Law, Crime & Justice - Privacy Notice

What you need to know

Course start date



On campus, Winchetser

Course length

  • 3 years full-time
  • 6 years part-time



Typical offer

104-120 points


From £9,250 pa

Course features

  • Learn from a teaching team with wide-ranging practitioner experience offering genuine insight into Forensic Investigation 
  • 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 

Course details

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 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: 240 hours
  • Independent learning: 960 hours

Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 384 hours
  • Independent learning: 816 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 Investigation 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.

Teaching hours: 

All class based teaching takes places between 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday during term time. Wednesday afternoons are kept free from timetabled teaching for personal study time and for sports clubs and societies to train, meet and play matches. There may be some occasional learning opportunities (for example, an evening guest lecturer or performance) that take places outside of these hours for which you will be given forewarning. 


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.

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)*: 59% coursework. 38% written exams. 3% practical exams 

Year 2 (Level 5)*: 67% coursework. 20% written exams. 13% practical exams 

Year 3 (Level 6)*: 87% coursework. 13% practical exams 

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


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. 


Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to


Academic and Employment Skills

This module will 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.

History of Forensic Science

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.

Introduction to Forensic Evidence

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 This module will provide the grounding for the rest of the forensic studies modules in this award.

Introduction to Criminology

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.

Non-Biological Evidence

Non-biological evidence covers a wide range of evidence types, such as ballistics, tyre and footwear marks, toolmarks and physical fit, and damage to textiles, each of which requires different methods of recovery and analysis.  In addition, non-biological evidence also includes a number of trace evidence types, such as fibres, glass, paint and gunshot residue, which require very different methods of recovery, packaging and analysis.  This module covers both the theory of the evidential value of these diverse evidence types, as well as a number of workshops in which the practical aspects will be covered.   As with all of the forensic technology modules, cases studies will be used throughout the module to illustrate important issues.

Biological Evidence

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 bloodstain pattern analysis but other human tissues and body fluids will also be covered in detail, including: hair, skin cells, semen, saliva, urine and faeces.  In addition, biometrics, fingerprints, palmprints and earprints will be included. 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 degraded.

Contemporary Issues

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

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 approaches to protests and demonstrations. Challenges around police and youth groups and policing culture will be further considered.  There will also be some comparisons with police forces outside the United Kingdom. 


Forensic Medicine

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.

Forensic Imaging

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.

Practical Skills

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 DNA Evidence

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 Ecology

Forensic ecology encompasses a wide range of biological disciplines which may be utilised in criminal and civil investigations.  In this module students will become familiar with taphonomic processes and the methods used to study and interpret them.  Forensic entomology may be used for various purposes, the most prominent being to determine minimum time since death.  Botanical and palynological (pollen) evidence are commonly used to reconstruct the chain of events at deposition sites, such as time since burial of remains and movement of vehicles and suspects.  In addition, a number of other ecological factors may be utilised for various reasons, such as soil, diatoms, fungi, algae and microorganisms.  Many of these sciences can also be utilised in the investigation of wildlife and environmental crime.  During the module, students will learn about the variety of ecological evidence types available, both on land and aquatic, their uses in forensic investigations, and the methods and challenges involved in their recovery and analysis.

Research Methods

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.

Optional Modules
  • Case Investigation and Review - 15 Credits
  • Volunteering for Forensic Studies - 15 Credits
  • Violent Crime - 15 Credits
  • Fakes and Forgeries - 15 Credits
  • Geoforensics: Principles and Techniques of Landscape Search - 15 Credits


Independent Research Project

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.

Crime Scene Investigation

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

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.

Forensic Archaeology

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. It is for these reasons that archaeologists are employed as Crime Scene Investigators in major UK police forces as well as those in North America. The aim of this module is to develop scientific approaches that are of value to forensic archaeology and provide students with the necessary skills relevant to burial-recovery techniques. Students will be introduced to techniques for locating buried evidence within a defined site – both indoor and outdoor settings. Student will put into practice the identification of surface anomalies. Students will be introduced to excavation methods suitable for the recovery of degraded evidence in a range of contexts. Students will become familiar with recording techniques suited for buried remains and scattered evidence. Student learning will be re-enforced through their participation in a mock outdoor crime scene practical. Students will gain a critical understanding in how the skills of the forensic archaeologist are deployed in a range of suspected crime scenes including domestic murder and the investigation of suspected genocide. Students will strengthen their report writing skills through the production of an expert witness report.

Optional modules
  • Advanced Forensic Examination - 15 Credits
  • Document Analysis - 15 Credits
  • Forensic Linguistics - 15 Credits
  • Criminological Psychology - 15 Credits

Entry requirements

104-120 points

2024 Entry: 104-120 UCAS tariff points

Our offers are typically made using UCAS tariff points to allow you to include a range of level 3 qualifications and as a guide, the requirements for this course are equivalent to:

  • A-Levels: BCC-BBB from 3 A Levels or equivalent grade combinations (e.g. BBB is comparable to ABC in terms of tariff points)
  • BTEC/CTEC: DMM from BTEC or Cambridge Technical (CTEC) qualifications
  • International Baccalaureate: To include a minimum of 2 Higher Level certificates at grade H4
  • T Level: Merit in a T Level

Additionally, we accept tariff points achieved for many other qualifications, such as the Access to Higher Education Diploma, Scottish Highers, UAL  Diploma/Extended Diploma and WJEC Applied Certificate/Diploma, to name a few. We also accept tariff points from smaller level 3 qualifications, up to a maximum of 32,   from qualifications like the Extended Project (EP/EPQ), music or dance qualifications. To find out more about UCAS tariff points, including what your qualifications are worth, please visit UCAS.

In addition to level 3 study, the following GCSEs are required:

GCSE English Language at grade 4 or C, or higher. Functional Skills at level 2 is accepted as an alternative, however Key Skills qualifications are not. If you hold another qualification, please get in touch and we will advise further.

If you will be over the age of 21 years of age at the beginning of your undergraduate study, you will be considered as a mature student. This means our offer may be different and any work or life experiences you have will be considered together with any qualifications you hold. UCAS have further information about studying as a mature student on the UCAS website.

If English is not your first language, a formal English language test will most likely be required and you will need to achieve the following:

  • IELTS Academic at 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components (for year 1 entry)
  • We also accept other English language qualifications, such as IELTS Indicator, Pearson PTE Academic, Cambridge C1 Advanced and TOEFL iBT.

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by contacting our International Recruitment Team via our International Apply Pages.

2024 Course Tuition Fees

  UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland 


Year 1 £9,250 £16,700
Year 2 £9,250 £16,700
Year 3 £9,250 £16,700
Total £27,750 £50,100
Optional Sandwich Year* £1,850 £3,340
Total with Sandwich Year £29,600 £53,440

Additional tuition fee information

If you are a UK student starting your degree in September 2024, 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 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.

UK 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 £6,935.

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 £139.14 and a 15 credit module is £2,087.

* Please note that not all courses offer an optional sandwich year.

**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.

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:



There will be costs involved for optional trips (no extra costs for compulsory trips). Indicative cost is £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. Indicative cost is £100 per academic year. 


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. Indicative cost up to £40.


Printing and binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a printing allowance of £5 each academic year. This will print around 125 A4 (black and white) pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing.

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. Indicative cost between £3 - £8. 


For one module in the third year of study, students will be expected to dress smartly for their final oral assessment. Indicative 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, indicative cost £0-£50.


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.


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.

The University of Winchester ranks in the top 10 in the UK for graduates in employment and/or further study according to the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2023, HESA.

Pre-approved for a Masters 

If you study a Bachelors Honours degree 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. 

Student with careers staff member
"Forensic science is one of the most engaging and fascinating subjects that you can study. During my time here, I have excavated bones, processed a crime scene and presented evidence in a mock court. All of this realistic training is due to being taught by practitioners in fields ranging from entomology to archaeology and psychology." Charlotte Bailey - Forensics Student

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