BSc (Hons) Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Studies - University of Portsmouth
BSc (Hons)

Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Studies

Full tutorial support as you study at your own pace

Course Overview

Why take this course?

The overall purpose of this course is to provide a qualification for those involved or interested in the detection, investigation or prevention of fraud. It has been developed in partnership with the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board, Department for Work and Pensions, and NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service, with the aim of expanding your knowledge, enhancing your key skills and improving your professional effectiveness and prospects.

All applicants should apply as soon as possible to reserve a place and ensure adequate preparations are made for the start of your studies.

ICJS Distance Learning brochure

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Encounter and explore the issues, debates and arguments associated with crime, control and punishment
  • Follow the course in your own time and own home with the support of interactive online learning materials
  • Gain credit for any relevant prior learning and experience you have done

We are keen to broaden the range of people who study with us, and offer a system to convert your prior learning in work or volunteering into university credit. Those who have completed an appropriate Foundation degree can do the final year of this course and gain a full honours degree.

Students can also exit after 18 months of study and achieve a nationally recognised Certificate of Higher Education or exit after 36 months and achieve a nationally recognised Diploma of Higher Education.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Current students come from a wide range of backgrounds in both the public and private sector counter fraud community. These include specialists from the Department for Work and Pensions, NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service, HM Customs and Excise, Inland Revenue, Child Support Agency, local authorities and the Abbey Group.

Students entering the course with the awards of ACFO, ACFS or ACFM are also entitled, on successful completion of the Advanced Level, to the award of Certified Counter Fraud Specialist (CCFS).

How do I apply?

Complete the University's online application form (not a UCAS form)


Kolawole Ajose, BSc (Hons) Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Studies student 2017

My experience has been wonderful. The support from the teaching and admin staff have been of a high standard which only confirmed the high reputation of the university in the area of criminal justice education.”

Kolawole Ajose, BSc (Hons) Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Studies student 2017


BSc (Hons) Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Studies

Find out why our degree in counter fraud and criminal justice studies is the ideal opportunity to combine work and study that will boost your career prospects.

Browse all courses in Law and Criminology

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Structure & Teaching

Stage one

  • EITHER Advanced Standing (ACF/S/M) or equivalent

OR Introduction to Criminal Law and Legal Studies AND Introduction to Criminal Justice

  • Introduction to Counter Fraud Studies
  • Understanding Criminology
  • Introduction to Research Skills
  • Studying Criminology

Students with ACFS are entitled, on completion of the full degree, to the award of Graduate Counter Fraud Officer, conferred by the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board.

Stage two

  • The Fraud Problem
  • Anti-Fraud Strategies
  • Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods

Choice of two options from:

  • Crime, Media and Culture
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Investigation
  • Global, State and Corporate Security
  • Hate Crime
  • Information Security
  • Investigation, Psychology and Law
  • Issues in Criminology
  • Penology
  • Risk Management
  • Youth Crime, Youth Justice

Stage three

  • Fraud: Legal Structures and Investigations
  • Fraud: Enforcing the Law
  • Dissertation

Choice of two options from:

  • Business Administration in the Security and Justice Sectors
  • Contemporary International Policing Systems
  • Corporate Security
  • Counter-Terrorism and UK National Security
  • Criminal Justice and Minority Groups
  • Critical Issues in Public Protection Policing
  • Dangerousness and Dangerous Offenders
  • Internet Risk and Security
  • Interviewing and Evidence
  • Major Crime Investigation - Success and Failure
  • Organised Crime
  • Private Policing
  • Victimology and Victimisation

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Computer use

You will need to have use of a computer and access to the internet. You do not need to be especially computer literate, although typing skills are obviously useful.

Course materials, discussions and seminars are contained in an online learning environment called Moodle. The tools and resources available in Moodle are designed to guide and support your learning and study. You can to access the resources in Moodle whenever or wherever you are (as long as you have access to the internet).

You will be introduced and shown how to access and make use of the tools and resources in Moodle during the induction period though ongoing support and assistance is available throughout your study on the course.

If you don’t have access to the internet you will be at a disadvantage since you won’t be able to make use of the tools and resources available. Moodle is designed to be used via a computer. You may be able to access some of the resources through a tablet or smart phone but the functionality will be limited and slower than if you use a computer.

Teaching and Assessment

This is a part-time course delivered by supported distance learning. You will receive high-quality course materials through our online learning environment, which will also enable you to communicate with your tutors and other students on the course, as well as discuss and present your work. Induction material received at the beginning of the course will introduce you our online learning environment and the distance learning facilities offered by the University Library.

You will be invited to two annual events in Portsmouth: a two-day induction each September and a study conference each January. These allow you to meet staff and other students, as well as sample more traditional forms of learning, such as lectures and tutorials.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 0% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 100% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 0% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 100% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 0% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 100% studying independently and 0% on work placement


All units are assessed by essays and reports. Essay titles are provided at the beginning of the academic year. Unit materials often contain interactive exercises to encourage you to think and write about the issues being discussed, to test and encourage your learning.

You will receive feedback on your assessed essays, which will indicate what you need to do to obtain better marks in your next essay, alongside the criteria against which your essay was marked. As marks obtained in the first year do not count towards the classification of the degree, you will have time to hone your essay writing skills.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 0% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 92% by coursework
  • Year two students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
Video Description

An animation that explains how you study on an Institute of Criminal Justice Studies distance learning degree and the benefits of studying at a distance.

Tutor's view


Dean Blackbourn
Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Course Leader

This is an excellent degree for anyone interested in all aspects of countering fraud. With specialist staff plus the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies within our department, you will have access to top-quality materials and research. We have a range of students from diverse working backgrounds, and are well equipped to cater for the specific requirements of distance learning students.

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Facilities & Features


The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies was founded in 1992 and has since grown to comprise 50 academic staff and more than 1,800 students. Now an internationally-renowned focal point for the study of crime and criminal justice processes, it draws together expertise in criminological analysis, applied psychology, police governance and management, victimology, penology, risk and security.

Professional Links

Our extensive experience and close professional relationships with the police service and criminal justice agencies ensure that our courses reflect the changing needs of the profession. You may benefit from these links by hearing guest speakers, listening to leading-edge research and being helped to find professional work placements.

Distance Learning

Our distinctive approach to supported distance learning, robust procedures for the accreditation of prior learning and modular award framework not only help facilitate access to higher education but also offer flexible and transferable platforms for life-long learning.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

You may be required to pay for travel, accommodation and subsistence to attend our optional campus induction events and study days. These may be in the region of £50 - £500.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Your study will lead to a broad range of academic skills that are valuable in many professions, both in and beyond the criminal justice sector. Alternatively you could enter occupations in counter fraud (public and private sector), law enforcement such as customs and excise, crime prevention and community safety.

This degree will also prepare you for an Master's degree. Having undertaken a major research project for your dissertation, you might also be interested in undertaking a research degree.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Deborah Lawson, BSc (Hons) Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Studies

With the Institute of Criminal Justice being one of the largest and leading specialist centres of its kind, studying at Portsmouth was an obvious first choice. The tuition itself was first class, and I was privileged to learn from lecturers who are amongst the most respected in their fields.

Deborah Lawson, BSc (Hons) Counter Fraud and Criminal Justice Studies

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Open days and apply now

Online application form

Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.

Open days for distance learners

Undergraduate courses

We will be holding Virtual Open Days for our part-time distance learning courses. This is an exciting opportunity for you to talk to staff and to ask any questions about the degrees and the application process. Our 2018 Virtual Days will be taking place on the following dates:

  • 15 May 3-5pm
  • 19 June 3-5pm
  • 11 July 7-9pm
  • 15 August 7-9pm
  • 5 September 7-9pm

Register for a reminder

Postgraduate courses

We will confirm the dates of our Postgraduate Information Days for 2018 entry soon. Register below to get a reminder when booking opens.

Register for a reminder

International Students

Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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