Level 6

Criminology & Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)

Duration Age Group Study Start Cost Available Locations
£8000 * Southend Campus
Duration Age Group Study Start Cost Available Locations
£8000 * Southend Campus
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If you require any support with your UCAS application, please contact the HE Admissions team headmissions@southessex.ac.uk


To apply for this course through clearing please email HEAdmissions@southessex.ac.uk

For more information on Clearing please visit our Clearing webpage


Course code: LF64

This programme, which is aimed at those looking to progress to a career in criminology, forensic investigation or investigative policing, will enable you to understand the core causes of criminal behaviour and the principles of crime scene investigation.

Why study this degree at University Centre South Essex?

  • You will be taught by tutors with industry experience
  • You will receive industry-related work experience
  • The course allows you to pursue a number of career and further education paths

This course is underpinned by the four key distinct disciplinary strands of Forensic Investigation, Criminology, Criminal Justice and Work Related Skills/Experience. These four strands enable you to analyse contemporary issues from a range of multidisciplinary perspectives, providing essential transferable skills for employment. In addition, the course provides you with a well-rounded knowledge base, application and experience of work-related skills for progression onto higher level educational courses or to relevant industry employment.

The course operates on a modular basis, all of which are compulsory. You will take 120 credits each year. In Year one you will take three modules weighted at 20 credits and two modules weighted at 30 credits. In Year two, you will take six modules weighted at 20 credits each. In Year three, the Dissertation is weighted at 40 credits, and you will take four modules at 20 credits each.

Entry Requirements

  • 64 UCAS Tariff Points or above
  • At least two A levels
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma/Subsidiary Diploma/Certificate
  • BTEC National Award/Certificate/Diploma
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (minimum 30 credits at Merit or above)
  • GCSE English Language and Maths at Grade C (old specification) or Grade 4 (new specification) or above OR a Level 2 equivalent such as Functional Skills.

For any qualification not identified above the HE Admission Team will determine equivalences through UKNARIC.

Applicants wishing to be considered for entry to the second year of study, or wishing to import credits or evidence of prior learning into the course for which they are applying, will be considered in accordance with the awarding bodies policy on Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning.

DBS Check (Disclosure and Barring Service)

Successful applicants for this programme may require an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before commencing practice placement in Year 3. DBS identification documents are verified by trained staff in line with DBS guidelines as part of the admissions process.

The administration charge for this service will be incorporated into the course fees.

Course Structure

Year one units

  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Introduction to Policing
  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation

Year two units

  • Criminological Research Methods
  • Principles of Criminal Investigation
  • Cybercrime and Digital Investigation
  • The role of the Expert Witness
  • Serious and Serial Offenders
  • Taphonomy and Forensic Entomolog

Year three units

  • Dissertation
  • Professional Development
  • Terrorism, Genocide and Organised Crime
  • Forensic Human Identification
  • Aspects of Forensic Psycholog

Work placements

40 hours at Level 6 of formally agreed workplace learning within a relevant criminological or forensic investigation field.

There is a dedicated Practice Learning team to support students with the placement process.


Timetables are normally available at enrolment. Please note that although we endeavour to make timetables as student-friendly as possible, teaching can be scheduled on any day of the week. Where possible, the scheduled timetable remains constant throughout the 3 years of the course.

Guest speakers

There are several guest speakers during the programme; previous speakers have included:

  • A crime scene Investigator from Essex Police
  • A forensic psychologist
  • A Detective Chief Inspector
  • Forensic Fire Investigator (accompanied by the fire dog)


There may be a number of optional visits as part of the programme, these are not included in the cost of the programme.

Contact hours

  • 13 hours per week in years 1 and 2
  • 10 hours per week in year 3

Contact hours include lectures, laboratory practical sessions and tutorials.

Teaching & Learning


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and laboratory practicals. Seminars enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures. In addition, you will have timetabled tutorials.

Independent learning

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, undertaking research, preparing presentations and preparing for examinations.

Assessment & Feedback

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include:

  • Written examinations
  • Essays
  • Reports
  • Portfolios
  • Presentations
  • Final year dissertation

The grades from formal assessments count towards your final module mark.


You will receive feedback on all formal assessments undertaken by coursework and practical activities. Feedback on examination performance is available on request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module leader. We aim to provide feedback within 20 working days for formal assessments (coursework and practical activities).

Contact hours

  • 13 hours per week in years 1 and 2
  • 10 hours per week in year 3

Course Cost

Adult, full_time: £8000

Fees are per academic year for Home/UK students.

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

  • Loan of Personal Protective Equipment required for practical sessions
  • Provision of crime scene protective coveralls
  • An allowance of printing credit

Additional course costs can be found here

What Next...

Potential career routes include working in mainstream policing (possibly as an uniformed officer or scenes of crime officer), joining the Police Graduate scheme, working within the criminal justice system as a solicitor, within HM prison and probation service and within financial and cybercrime investigation. Graduates from this degree programme may also seek employment in related areas such as teaching after a period of further study.

Further study options include:

  • MA/MSc Criminology
  • MSc Forensic Science
  • MA/MSc Forensic Psychology
  • MA Social Work

You could also train to teach the subject by studying the PGCE, available at University Centre South Essex.

Graduate destinations

Employment from previous graduating cohorts have included roles within Essex and Metropolitan Police, disaster victim identification, counter terrorism within financing, teaching, domestic abuse co-ordinators, laboratory testing, prison workers, crime scene investigators and within human rights groups. Students have also progressed on to higher level training and have entered Masters Qualifications in Criminology, Terrorism Studies, Digital Forensics, Anthropology and Research. In addition, graduates of the programme have also undertaken teacher training and have achieved either QTS or QTLS, enabling them to take up roles in mainstream schools across the primary, secondary and further education sectors.

Success Stories...

Success story: Taylor Skevington

Success story: Taylor Skevington

Course studied

Criminology & Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)

The course was very interesting and unlike other courses I had seen at other universities. Also, the centre was close to home and had multiple options for travel.

My name is Taylor Skevington, I am 23 years old, I studied Criminology & Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) at University Centre South Essex from October 2017 to June 2020 and this is my story.

I took my A-Levels at Seevic College in English Language and Literature, Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology and applied for the degree straight after.

I have gone on to do a MA Criminology degree at the University of Essex and achieved a Distinction. I am now a 1st year PhD student in Criminology at Essex.

I have recently finished a part-time position as a research officer on the Understanding Domestic Abuse Perpetrators Project for the Home Office.

I was entrusted to do research for and write the literature review of the project and was also given administrative tasks for the overall project.

My PhD supervisor gave me the position as they were one of the researchers involved in the project and thought the topic was close to my own research.

The course was very interesting and unlike other courses I had seen at other universities. Also, the centre was close to home and had multiple options for travel.

The module on Personal Development was extremely helpful as it gave us tips on important skills such as writing your CV and job interviews. The work placements during the third (and last) year were also good experience for careers in the discipline. 
Higher education gives you the opportunity to learn more about a subject you are passionate in and to further your personal development.

I gained valuable timekeeping and presentation skills because of the multiple types of assignments that were assigned. It also taught me skills in writing and research, especially important in further education. 
My favourite memory of doing my degree was being in lectures with my peers as it was always a welcoming and fun atmosphere.

Not only was my degree interesting but my lecturers were extremely supportive and constructive in their criticisms.

My aim is to become a researcher/academic in criminology/sociology.

My time at the college helped me build my confidence in my work and in communicating with others.

For more information on the Criminology and Forensic Investigation: www.southessex.ac.uk/course//criminology-and-forensic-investigation-bsc-hons-1

Zack Short My Story

Zack Short My Story

Course studied

Criminology & Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)

I would say to anyone who has a disability and was thinking of studying at South Essex College Group ‘just go for it, take the shot even if you are nervous.

My name is Zack Short and I am studying BA (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Investigation at the University Centre South Essex.

I started at the college in 2017 and did a Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science course. It was a challenge at first with my visual impairment but eventually I was able to progress to the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science, which I did for the next two years. I had some fun in that class and met some really good people. 

I then chose to progress to a BSc (Hons) Criminology & Forensic Investigation which I thought could lead to an interesting career in the criminological field. My support staff are amazing, they have dealt with me for nearly seven years so we know each other pretty well.

My visual impairment isn’t related to the eyes, it is related to a skin condition called Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum (PXE),  which is extremely rare. At the time I was diagnosed back in 2010/2011 only about 250 people had it, that’s how rare it is. It has numerous different affects, but in my case it has affected my eyes quite badly and parts of my brain. In recent years I’ve gone colour blind due to over strangulation of nerve endings and blood loss in the eye so my eyes weren’t getting enough oxygen and couldn’t function correctly. I get severe headaches and eye strains if I push myself a bit too hard. 

As I mentioned earlier, I get amazing support from the communicators here at SECG. They are saints because they get the work done and even if they are under stress,  they get it out on time which is phenomenal. They have saved me more than once. I get help from scribes who take notes for me, I can get help setting up equipment and measurements or modified rulers. The communicators here provide tactile graphs, braille sheets etc.

I would say to anyone who has a disability and was thinking of studying at South Essex College Group ‘just go for it, take the shot even if you are nervous.’ In the future I want to go into a criminology field like crime analytics, theory or crime policies where you gather all the numbers and facts behind the crime scenarios.

Zack was supported by Debbie Gale (Educational Communicator) who has been at his side for the last six years, throughout his Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science, then Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science, and finally throughout his Degree BSc (Hons) Criminology & Forensic Investigation. He also achieved his GCSE English whilst here at the college. Carmen Griffin (Educational Communicator) has supported Zack throughout secondary school and all through college and says that so to be able to see his final educational journey and progress here at the college over the last year and half has been fantastic.