Criminology and Forensic Studies BSc (Hons)
BSc Hons Criminology and Forensic Studies
Are you interested in understanding how forensic evidence is used to help solve crime?
This BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Studies degree course examines the field of crime and criminality and pairs it with the world of forensic investigation. You’ll get a deep understanding of what makes a criminal, from a societal, psychological and law perspective. And you’ll get out of the classroom to get to grips with the latest forensic theory and practice.
This course leads to careers in areas such as research and intelligence analysis, crime scene investigation, and probation and police work.
What you'll experience
On this degree course, you'll:
- Explore criminology while using the latest forensic facilities in one of the largest criminology departments in the country
- Have access to a biology lab and a forensic crime scene examination house
- Work alongside crime and forensics professionals via our partnerships with bodies including Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
- Tailor your degree to match your interests and workplace ambitions
- Learn from criminology, probation and policing experts and interact with practitioners from criminal justice agencies, businesses and charitable organisations
- Go on visits to relevant destinations, like the fingerprint bureau, Fort Cumberland or a mortuary
- Attend guest talks from career specialists, such as fire investigators and forensic odontologists
You can also:
- Spend a year abroad, studying with an international partner university
- Learn a new language and get credits towards your degree
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.
This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the crime and forensics field.
Previous students have secured placement positions at organisations such as Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue.
You can also spend this year studying overseas at one of our partner universities in Europe, south Asia and North America.
We’ll help you secure a work or study placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Careers and opportunities
When you complete the course, you’ll be prepared for a range of criminal justice careers where forensic awareness plays a key role. You can work as a forensic practitioner within the police, probation and prison services or in the fields of community safety, crime prevention and criminological research.
Roles previous graduates have gone on to include:
- investigative data analyst
- police officer
- probation officer
- youth offending support officer
- emergency planning officer
- offender case administrator
- prison officers
- civilian investigator
You could also do postgraduate study in areas such as forensic sciences.
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
This course is recognised by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSFS), the professional body for forensic practitioners. This recognition lets potential employers know that this course gives you the relevant skills and abilities you need to work in forensic investigation when you graduate. It also allows you to register as a student member of the CSFS.
You can also do a short course to get professional accreditation from the Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board as an Accredited Counter Fraud Technician (ACFTech) and Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS). (You may need to pay a fee for this.)
By choosing certain optional units on this course, you can get pre-entry qualifications for a career in probation work and community justice.
Tuition fees (2019 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
You’ll need to pay additional costs of £50–£1000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence if you take a placement abroad. The amount you’ll pay will vary, depending on the location and length of your stay.
What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
- Understanding Criminology
- Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science
- Criminal Justice
- Introduction to Psychology for Criminologists
- Skills for Criminologists
- Researching Criminology 1
- Researching Criminology 2
- Questioning Criminology
- Techniques of Scientific Investigation
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Penology and Prison
- Community Justice
- Criminal Investigation
- Crime, Media and Culture
- Crimes of the Powerful
- Victims of Crime: Key Players in Criminal Justice
- Policing a Diverse Society
- Crimes of the Powerful
- Global, State and Corporate Security
- Youth Crime, Youth Justice
- Wildlife crime: Threats and Responses
- Firearms Investigation
- Key Issues in Criminal Justice
- Forensic Science
- Introduction to Teaching
- Learning From Experience
- Dissertation/Major Project
- Management of Criminal Investigations
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Dangerous Offenders and Public Protection
- Fire Investigation
- Hate Crime
- Forensic Psychology
- Forensic Taphonomy
- The Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders
- Miscarriages of Justice
- Crime, Exclusion and Mental Health
- Cybercrime: Deviance, Crime and Terror
- Gender and Crime
- Professional Skills in Criminal Justice
- Contemporary Terrorism and the Global Response
- Intelligence Analysis
- The Criminal Justice Clinic
- Introduction to Teaching
- Life Plus
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.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching methods on this course include:
- group discussions
- practical workshops
- forensic crime scene examinations
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:
- Autumn teaching block – September to December
- Spring teaching block – January to Easter
- Assessment period – Easter to June
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year 1 students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 77% studying independently
- Year 2 students: 21% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 79% studying independently
- Year 3 students: 10% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 90% studying independently
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- practical crime scene assessments
- group projects
- a dissertation
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
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 1 students: 27% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 66% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 3% by practical exams and 97% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 8% by written exams, 5% by practical exams and 87% by coursework
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.
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code –LF34
- our institution code – P80
You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.