BSc (Hons)

Policing and Investigation

Create opportunities for your career in policing and criminal investigations through a flexible, part-time course.

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course explores the many and diverse challenges confronting the policing and investigation sector and provides you with the opportunity to develop an in-depth knowledge of contemporary policing and investigative issues. You will also develop a range of critical and analytical research skills which can be used in a range of different professional contexts. The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies is the leading UK centre for research and learning in criminal justice and you will benefit from the expertise of academic staff who have considerable academic and professional experience in policing and investigative work. 

The course will appeal to students seeking an alternative to full-time, campus based study who are simply interested in how policing and investigation works, or who are attracted to a potential career in the field of policing and/or investigation. It will certainly appeal to professionals working in either the policing or investigation sector who are seeking to enhance their critical and analytical skills and their career and promotion prospects.

Distance Learning Brochure

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Develop academic and professional expertise in policing and criminal investigation.
  • Specialise in the areas of these fields that interest you.
  • Earn the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing, vital to a career in a UK police force.
  • Follow a distance learning course designed to allow you to combine study and work, progressing at your own pace and in your own location, with our interactive online learning materials.
  • Gain university credit for your relevant prior learning and experience, allowing you to complete a stage, and therefore the course, in a shorter period.

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?

Graduates will be well-equipped for employment in the police, the Civil Service, local government and other public and private sector bodies which have many openings for criminal investigators, police staff, analysts and researchers.  The programme also covers a range of criminal justice issues while developing the wider skills necessary to produce a portfolio of knowledge and abilities that supports career development opportunities in a wider range of careers, or postgraduate study. 

How do I apply?

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

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

Eirikur Valberg, BSc (Hons) Policing and Investigation

In a rapidly changing and evolving world with increasing demands upon the police, this course draws on very relevant and applied issues, and has helped me develop as a professional.

Eirikur Valberg, BSc (Hons) Policing and Investigation student 2017

Apply now for September 2017

Start your online application now

Virtual open days

Find out more

Key Facts

4.5 years part time distance learning. Start date: September.
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score ENTRY
Access to this course is open to all individuals subject to the approval of the course leader. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications
Access to this course is open to all individuals subject to the approval of the course leader. See full entry requirements
We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands/Isle of Man students and International students
2017/18 entry: part time: £3,080 p/a* and £1,540* in year 5

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 3148
Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
Programme specification (PT, DL)


BSc (Hons) Policing and Investigation

Academics and students talk about the online course BSc (Hons) Policing and Investigation.

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Stage one

  • Introduction to Criminal Law and Legal Studies
  • Introduction to Investigations
  • Introduction to Research Skills
  • Social Context of Policing
  • Studying Criminology
  • Understanding Criminology

Stage two

  • Frameworks of Investigation
  • Investigation: Psychology and Law
  • Police Operations and Policing Processes
  • Research Methods

Choice of two options from:

  • Anti-Fraud Strategies
  • Business Continuity and Crisis Management
  • Crime, Media and Culture
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Investigation
  • Global, State and Corporate Security
  • Hate Crime
  • Introduction to Risk Management
  • Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Issues in Criminology
  • Penology
  • Police, Law and Community (successful completion leads to Certificate of Knowledge in Policing)
  • The Fraud Problem
  • Youth Crime, Youth Justice

Stage three

  • Critical Issues in Public Protection Policing
  • Major Crime Investigation - Success and Failure
  • Dissertation

Choice of two options from:

  • Counter Terrorism and UK National Security
  • Criminal Justice and Minority Groups
  • Dangerousness and Dangerous Offenders
  • Internet Risk and Security
  • Interviewing and Evidence
  • Organised Crime
  • Private Policing
  • Victimology - Victimisation and the Criminal Justice System

Teaching and Assessment

This course is delivered by supported distance learning. You will receive high-quality course materials via Moodle, our online learning environment, and begin your studies with  ‘Studying Criminology’, a unit that addresses many of the things you will be anxious about, such as how to write and structure an academic essay, where and how to undertake research. You will not be alone, as Moodle enables you to chat with fellow students in the same position as yourself, to discuss and present your work, and to keep in contact with tutors.

Induction material received at the beginning of the course will introduce you to the online learning environment and the distance learning facilities offered by the University Library. The university also provides help through the Academic Skills Unit and also resources available through the university library. The support uses a range of methods and supplies responsive, proactive online and telephone support. The Institute also holds two annual events in Portsmouth which you are invited to attend. A two day induction and re-induction event takes place in September and a Study Conference in late January. This is an opportunity for you to meet the staff and other students who you have worked with and to sample more traditional forms of learning such as lectures and tutorials.

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.


How are you assessed?

All the units in this course 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.

John Fox

Tutor View

John Fox
Policing and Investigation Course Leader

I believe that 'policing', in its widest sense, is going through unprecedented changes, and that those involved in policing face new investigative challenges such as human trafficking, cybercrime, and child sexual exploitation.

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Monitor 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.

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.

Certificate of Knowledge in Policing

The Institute is an accredited provider of the CKP qualification, a prerequisite to applying for a UK police career. Read more: Certificate in Knowledge of Policing.

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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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

This course will significantly enhance your employability and career prospects as there are a wide range of careers in this sector which graduates can pursue. You will also be equipped to follow master's degrees, including our MSc Crime Science, Investigation and Intelligence, which is particularly suited to graduates from this programme who wish to specialise in criminal investigation.

The PLC option offers the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing, which may support entry to a police career.

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.

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Apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

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

Visiting opportunities for distance learners


If you want to know more about undergraduate distance learning courses in ICJS, you will be welcome at our Virtual Open Days, where you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the academic and administrative staff:

  • 18 May, 10am-12pm
  • 27 June, 1pm-3pm
  • 24 July, 7pm-9pm
  • 31 August, 7pm-9pm

Visiting opportunities

Postgraduate Information Days are held twice a year and give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with subject tutors. Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry have now finished.

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.