BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation with Foundation Year

Forensic and Criminal Investigation

BSc (Hons) & Foundation Year


Study level
Full time
4 years
Part time
4 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 a rewarding career in forensic and criminal investigation but need extra support before starting your full undergraduate degree? Our BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation with Foundation Year will equip you with the skills to pursue your degree successfully and then immerse you in the entire criminal investigative process.

After building your study skills, the course will take you on an immersive journey through the entire investigative process. You’ll gain practical insight into the natural progression of criminal investigations, the interlinked areas of policing and forensics, and how various investigative personnel work together to achieve a common goal. Not only is the course delivered by experienced practitioners, but the additional use of guest lectures and webinars will provide you with a solid grounding of real practises in today’s field.

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. You’ll have the opportunity to take on a range of 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 within forensic and criminal investigations as a whole, preparing you for future work in the field.

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

*Subject to approval

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Course details and modules

Arden's foundation year modules have been designed to give you a tailored and fully supportive introduction to university study. This first year of study will prepare you for success in higher education by introducing you to the academic skills and subject-specific knowledge required to excel in your chosen degree subject.

Your course modules begin by reviewing key preparatory academic study skills to ensure you’re ready to complete your full undergraduate degree. You’ll then be taken through the entire forensic investigative process, from the scene of the crime to the courtroom. 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 theory 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


  • Preparing for University Success
  • Exploring the Social World
  • Advancing your Academic Skills
  • Examining Social Justice
  • Planning for Your Future Success
  • Investigation & Innovation Project
  • 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)
  • Death Investigation and the Coroner (20 credits)
  • Optional Modules
  • Transnational Organised Crime (20 credits)
  • Intelligence (20 credits)
  • Community Policing (20 credits)
  • Forensic Anthropology (20 credits)
  • Environmental Forensics (20 credits)
  • Law Enforcement: Vulnerability and Risk (20 credits) 
  • Special Investigations Portfolio (60 credits)

Authentic assessments. No exams.

Unlike on more traditional degree programmes, you won’t be sitting any exams on this course. Instead, we utilise 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 links 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 online library, Perlego, which contains almost half a million books, journals, and industry literature which you can make use of throughout your studies.

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 with Foundation Year, you should normally have:

  • At least 3 x GCSEs or 45 credits at Level 2 or equivalent. If your qualifications are older than 3 years, we will also ask to see a professional CV.
  • Applicants may be considered based on a minimum of 12 months of professional work experience evidenced by a CV and reference.
  • We also offer this course as a standard bachelor’s degree without a foundation year. To view the course details, please click here.

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.

What do you need to study with us?

Our aim is to make learning as accessible as possible by ensuring that you can study your degree in a flexible and convenient way. That's why we keep our requirements simple. All you need is a laptop or desktop PC (we recommend one running the latest version of Windows), and a good internet connection. Through ilearn, our online university campus in the cloud, you'll be able to access your course calendar, support services, learning materials, and our online library containing almost half a million texts, as well as creating assignments, keeping notes, and collaborating with other students on your course.

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 with Foundation Year will provide you with the background you need to continue with further study and for future work in the field of forensic and criminal investigation.

What will the BSc (Hons) Forensic and Criminal Investigation with Foundation Year 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

During your Foundation Year, you'll get comprehensive support and preparation for your university journey, including:

Introduction and preparation: our Foundation Year courses introduce you to university-level teaching, learning, and assessment methods. You'll develop essential study skills, research techniques, and critical thinking abilities, laying a strong foundation for your degree studies.

Personalised support: our academic staff will guide you throughout your Foundation Year. They'll ensure a smooth transition into your degree programme, providing the support you need every step of the way.

Direct relevance to your future degree: your programme content is carefully designed to align with Arden's degree courses. Studying a Foundation Year will equip you with subject-specific knowledge and interdisciplinary exploration, establishing a solid base for your chosen degree.

Improved degree outcomes: we prioritise not only your academic preparation but also your success. By boosting your confidence, academic skills, and understanding of the subjects, we empower you to achieve the best possible degree outcomes and expand your career opportunities.

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


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.