BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation

Forensic and Criminal Investigation

BSc (Hons)


Study level
Full time
3 years
Part time
3 years+
Faculty of Social Science

What makes Arden University special?

Education for everyone, everywhere
Whether you're constrained by location, cost, time, or other life commitments, we're passionate about giving you access to higher education that fits into your busy, modern life.
Where to study
You decide how and where to study
We offer a wide range of flexible undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in both our online and blended study modes.
Full support both online and on-site
We're also proud to offer non-standard entry, meaning your work experience and previous qualifications are taken into account when assessing your application.
Strong focus on employability
You will gain in-depth subject knowledge and transferable skills that employers from a huge range of industries will value. Many of our courses at Arden are also accredited by leading professional bodies in the UK.

Course Overview

Are you interested in the fascinating world of forensic and criminal investigation? Our BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation course will fully immerse you in diverse aspects of the investigative process using cutting-edge technology, giving you valuable practical insight into real-life investigations. 

The course starts by taking you on an immersive journey through the entire investigative process, illustrating the natural progress of criminal investigations and the interlinked areas of policing and forensics. Through this, you will gain knowledge of how the various personnel involved in an investigation work together to achieve a common goal. Not only is the course delivered by skilled academic staff with years of experience in the field, but the additional use of guest lectures and webinars will provide you with a solid grounding of real practises in modern forensic and criminal investigations.

Just one of the ways this course stands out is our immersive virtual crime world, which allows you to place yourself in real-world scenarios. To supplement your learning, this environment will be integrated seamlessly with your modules so that you can put the theory you learn during your lessons, seminars, and workshops into practice. You’ll have the opportunity to take on a range of investigative roles as you navigate different environments such as crime scenes, the police custody suite, the major incident room, police cells, the courtroom, the forensics lab, and a burial site where you uncover partially clothed bones. Through this, you’ll gain insight into important processes and roles in forensic and criminal investigations, preparing you for future work in the field of forensic investigation.

This course shares the same level 4 modules as our BSc (Hons) Policing and Criminal Investigation. After completing the first year of your course, you’ll have the option to switch over to this pathway if it better suits your interests.

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Course details and modules

Your course modules begin by taking you through the entire forensic investigative process, from the scene of the crime to the courtroom. Each module will link offences, offenders, law enforcement, forensic personnel, laws, and legislation, helping bring evidence to life. Using our unique virtual environment, you’ll also have the opportunity to assume the role of a crime scene investigator, detective, civilian investigator, and coroner, helping you translate theoretical principles to the real-world scenarios you might face in your future role. 

Later in the course you’ll study the academic components of forensic science, and the use of a wide range of modern forensic techniques, including forensic trace analysis, forensic biology and anthropology, and environmental forensics. Through level 5 elective modules, you’ll also be able to adapt your curriculum to your individual areas of interest.

Emma Gera

The Virtual Reality scenes per module added a 'real-life' touch that was extremely helpful. The online course felt personal - the teachers' support was exceptional. Lectures, tutors, and a goldmine of online resources made my journey even better.

Emma Gera
BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation


  • Introduction to Forensic Investigation (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Criminal Investigation (20 credits)
  • Police Custody (20 credits)
  • Witnesses: An Introduction (20 credits)
  • Criminal Investigation: Procedures and Practices (20 credits)
  • Analysis and Application of Forensics (20 credits)
  • Core Modules
  • Forensic Trace Analysis (20 credits)
  • Forensic Biology (20 credits)
  • Civilian Employability (20 credits)
  • Coroners (20 credits)
  • Elective Modules
  • Transnational Organised Crime (20 credits)
  • Intelligence (20 credits)
  • Policing Concepts and Theories (20 credits)
  • Forensic Anthropology (20 credits)
  • Environmental Forensics (20 credits)
  • Law Enforcement: Vulnerability and Risk (20 credits) 
  • Special Investigations: (60 credit portfolio)

Authentic assessments. No exams.

Unlike on more traditional degree programmes, you won’t be sitting any exams on this BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation. Instead, the course utilises authentic, real-world assessments that replicate the observations, interviews, and reports that would be conducted in the field as part of a real forensic and criminal investigation.

Study options

Louise Harris

Distance Learning has allowed me to study whilst maintaining a full-time job, as lessons can be accessed at a time that suits my schedule. The tutors and guest speakers have a wealth of experience from careers in forensics and criminal investigation, and I have particularly enjoyed hearing cases from their perspective.

Louise Harris
BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation

Online learning

How does it work? 

Studying this course online gives you the ultimate in convenience. As one of our online students, you'll study your degree through iLearn, Arden’s university campus in the cloud, which provides everything you need to study at university. 

Learn within an immersive virtual reality environment

This ground-breaking course uses a custom-built immersive virtual environment to put you at the heart of the crime scene. You’ll be able to place yourself into the scenario that is being presented, providing a seamless integration between your course content and our supplementary virtual crime world. Each of the modules studied in each year are linked by offences, offenders, law enforcement and forensic personnel. You will be assuming these different roles as you navigate through the crime world, investigating various offences that have been presented to you.

As well as receiving regular feedback and guidance from your course tutor, you’ll also be studying with like-minded students who you can meet with through our Unitu community, and you’ll have access to community message boards to discuss your course and the topics being raised within it. You’ll also have access to our Library Portal. The portal includes an extensive digital library including thousands of journal titles, eBooks, and academic and industry databases which you can use to research your assignments and projects. All of these materials are provided to you free of charge, and contain all the research information you’ll need to complete your degree with us.

Online learning students resident in the UK can apply for a Maintenance Loan if they cannot attend their course in person because of a disability. Please find more information on our fees and funding page. If you're a student from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you can find information on Living Cost Loans from your student finance body.

Learn more about online learning

Entry requirements

At Arden University we consider applications on a case by case basis. If you have significant work experience, have qualifications you have gained elsewhere, or a degree or qualification that isn't a clear pathway to this degree - we are more than happy to discuss your application.


To be eligible for our BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation, you should normally have:

  • Two subjects at GCE A level or equivalent, plus passes at grade C or above in three subjects at GCSE level or equivalent.
  • Alternative level 3 qualifications will also be considered, including Access to HE, a BTEC Extended Diploma, or internationally equivalent.

We’re also happy to consider your application if you can demonstrate your ability to study the course via previous work experience, references, and a personal statement.

English proficiency

  • IELTS 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element); or TOEFL iBT 90; or equivalent.
  • Alternatively, evidence you have previously studied in English, such as a letter to show that the medium of instruction was in English can be accepted.

Before you start studying

Whilst you can read your study materials on your smart phone or tablet, to make the most of your learning experience, you will need access to a laptop or computer (we recommend one running the latest version of Windows), and a good stable internet connection.

Course fees and funding

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Use the dropdown above to find course fees and funding information for your country. If you can’t find information for your country in the dropdown, visit our International support page.

Meet the faculty

Rach Strzelecki

Rach Strzelecki started her career as a crime and intelligence analyst for Cleveland Police working on several major investigations including human trafficking, vulnerable missing persons, drugs, and suspicious deaths. In 2006, she started guest lecturing for Teesside University in crime analytics, intelligence, and forensic investigation before securing a permanent role as a lecturer in policing. Rach has also worked at University of Wolverhampton, Interactive Pro, and more recently Buckinghamshire College Group as an advanced practitioner leading on protective services and forensic and criminal investigation programmes. Her research has predominantly related to sexual offences and paedophilia; however, her publications have been within the field of terrorism, police and forensic investigations and online teaching and learning.

Rach Strzelecki
Head of School - Investigation, Security and Defence

Career prospects

Our BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation will provide you with the foundations you need to continue on with further study and for future work in the field of forensic and criminal investigation.

What will the BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation do for me?

You’ll graduate from this course with real practical insight into forensic and criminal investigation, including an in-depth understanding of:

  • The major themes and practical underpinnings of forensic and criminal investigations
  • The knowledge and skills required to undertake a forensic investigation from start to completion
  • The roles of different personnel and how they work together to achieve a common goal
  • A wide range of forensic techniques used for collecting and analysing criminal evidence

What can I do after Arden University?

This course is for anyone interested in learning more about forensic investigation and pursuing a career within the wider forensic area. It is also an opportunity to take a fascinating deep dive into how forensic investigation works to provide you with universal skills for your future.

Additional benefits of the course include:

This degree qualifies graduates for entry to the UK police force through the degree holders entry route.

You’ll gain the academic knowledge needed for the entry route into a variety of civilian roles, such as civilian investigative officer, private financial investigator, or intelligence analyst.

If you’re currently working as a police officer or civilian within the law enforcement family, but don’t have a degree, the flexibility of this course and its online format means you can study part-time while working.

Industry skills

Career Development Resources

Once you’ve enrolled with Arden, our careers centre is easily accessible directly from inside our online platform, ilearn. The careers centre is here to help you discover the areas of your academic and professional life that you find most meaningful and rewarding, and then apply this to your career pathway. 

Just a few of the career tools you’ll find in the careers centre include:

  • CV360, which analyses your CV and provides instant feedback for improvement
  • Interview360, helping you practise your interview technique in a stress-free environment and tackle some of the most common interview questions - as many times as you need to
  • Aptitude tests to help your improve your critical thinking, numeric, and logical reasoning skills
  • 100s of interactive courses focused on giving you the skills and confidence you need to excel in your professional life. 
  • My Jobs, where you can search employment vacancies, browse employer profiles by location and, or connect with other employees on LinkedIn. 

Introducing your Digital Backpack

Once you’ve enrolled on your course with Arden you’ll get access to your Digital Backpack, a toolkit of digital resources we’ve put together to help you succeed during your time studying with us.

Here are some of the digital resources you’ll have available throughout your course:

  • Office 365 subscription
  • Integrated zoom video conferencing
  • Careers support available through Arden Futures, your careers platform, to help you throughout your career journey whether you are a Career Starter, Changer or Developer
  • Perlego online library, giving you access to over half a million books, journals, and articles
  • Subscription to Togetherall for an abundance of mental health support.

LinkedIn Learning

All Arden students will have free access to LinkedIn Learning through the Library Portal. LinkedIn Learning is a video-based online learning platform offering over 16,500 expert-led courses across a wide range of subjects including business, technology, and creative skills.

With LinkedIn Learning, you can:

  • Pursue curated learning pathways aligned with our curriculum and your career goals.
  • Add value to your LinkedIn profile by showcasing your newly acquired skills.
  • Personalise content based on skills relevant to your chosen career path, interests and prior learning.