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Criminology and Forensic Studies BSc (Hons)

Explore forensics from every angle and discover what makes a criminal. Using facilities shared with a real police force, develop forensic skills and learn innovative ideas.

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University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:


Typical offer:

120-128 UCAS points from 3 A levels, or equivalent

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
Start date

Clearing Hotline: 023 9284 8074

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If you have your results, you can apply directly to us now to start in September 2024.

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If you want to help solve crimes, it pays to understand criminality from many different angles. This course gives you much broader skills, knowledge and experience than a more traditional ‘forensic science’ degree. Using facilities shared with a real police force, this degree is always relevant, innovative and up-to-date.

From crime scene to evidence lab to court room, you’ll find out how forensic investigation fits into the history, policy and practice of the criminal justice system. And you’ll study the causes of crime, learning what really makes a criminal.

From September 2025, this course will have a new name

It will become BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Investigation. You can still apply as normal.

Course highlights

  • Develop specialist forensic skills in simulated crime scene and laboratory practical sessions
  • Explore new experimental techniques including the use of Virtual Reality, inspired by our innovative VR research
  • Learn from criminology, probation and policing experts who are actively involved in industry, and who shape its future with ground-breaking research in areas like forensic interview techniques and wildlife crime
  • Hear from guest speakers such as fire investigators, crime scene managers, pathologists, firearm officers and forensic archaeologists
  • Study alongside operational police units and learn directly from operational policing staff
  • Have the opportunity to do a criminology work placement year after your second or third year on this Connected Degree - we're the only UK university to offer flexible sandwich placements for undergraduates
  • Tailor your degree from a wide range of modules, including crime and mental health, hate crime, dangerous offenders and public protection
  • Gain pre-entry qualifications for careers in the police or probation service, and develop skills in problem solving and analysis that all kinds of employers value
  • Choose to learn a foreign language for free as part of your degree, from a selection of Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish


of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course

(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2021/22)

Top 30

for student satisfaction

(Times Higher Education, 2024)

Recognised by:

The module Economic Crime and Fraud Examination is recognised by ACFE (a global professional body for counter fraud professionals) and undertaking it provides opportunities for full-time students to complete the Certified Fraud Examiner qualification at a subsidised rate.

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Clearing Hotline: 023 9284 8074

Clearing is open

This course is available through Clearing.

Apply now through Clearing

If you have your results, you can apply directly to us now to start in September 2024.

Apply now

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Connected Degrees®

Only at Portsmouth you have the choice to take a traditional sandwich placement before your third year, or to take your placement after your final year.

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Clearing 2024 opens on 5 July and closes on 21 October

Every year thousands of students find their ideal undergraduate course through Clearing. Clearing matches students who are looking for a different course or university from their original choice, or who are applying for the very first time after 30 June, to courses that universities still have places on.

The majority of people apply through Clearing once they receive their exam results on A level / T level results day (15 August 2024).

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The majority of UK students apply through Clearing once they receive their A level / T level results in August 2024, so as an international student if you already have your exam results you can apply when Clearing opens. 

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Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Studies degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - ABB-BBB
  • UCAS points - 120-128 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM  
  • International Baccalaureate - 29-30

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Typical offers

  • A levels - ABB-BBB
  • UCAS points - 120-128 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM  
  • International Baccalaureate - 29-30

You may need to have studied specific subjects or GCSEs - see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Facilities and specialist equipment

Forensic facilities in action

Specialist equipment with an impact on professional forensic practice and research

Explore the forensic facilities you might use at Portsmouth, and see the real, professional impact of our close working relationships with the Defence School of Policing and Hants Constabulary Forensic Innovation Partnership.

Dr Kat Brown: The University of Portsmouth has unique, long-standing relationships with many local and national agencies.

We are here today at Southwick Park, which is the Defence School of Policing and Guarding. We're able to have these partnerships through our Forensic Innovation Centre and that allows us to build on their expertise as well as their facilities. 

The facility that we have here is particularly useful for complex and serious crimes around body recovery, taphonomy and entomology. We can use our SIM bodies in these situations to accurately mimic crimes and this means that our students can get really involved in the science, but also think critically about why they're doing what they're doing and what the bigger context and the bigger picture is.

Dr Helen McGonigal: As well as the indoor teaching facilities here, we also have this wonderful outdoor space. We're developing a unique aquatic decomposition facility here which allows us to explore the decomposition of insect carcases and associated evidence, for recreating death scenes. 

For our postgraduate researchers and also for our undergraduates, it gives them a valuable insight into some of the work that they could be doing after graduation.

We also have training opportunities here for the military, policing and mass fatality incident colleagues for them to be able to use cutting edge research as part of their work. 

Dr Katie Jetten: Our undergraduate degree programme, criminology and forensic studies, enables students to get practical experience alongside their classroom based studies. Some of the things we might get students to do are work in crime scene investigation simulation suites in a wide range of environments, but also with our extensive research capabilities in our research facility, which we call The Stables. The purpose of our stables is to facilitate academic research and also student research projects. 

Some of the spaces we might have our forensic ecology laboratory spaces. We also have a dedicated fingerprint visualisation room. We have an imaging studio with a wide range of techniques and we also have biological and chemical spaces in order to do work such as DNA work.

Dr Helen Earwaker: Our students have a really broad range of interests that sit right across the spectrum of the criminal justice system. I'm incredibly proud of the work that our students do as part of the course and the programme. The research that they undertake has the potential for huge impact, for practice and for those partner organisations that we work with.

This is really enhanced through the use of the facilities that we have here at the University of Portsmouth.

Crime scene simulation spaces

Use the latest forensic advances and immersive learning technologies, including virtual reality, to delve into crime scene investigation in our realistic simulation areas.

Close up of gloved hands examining crime evidence with torch
Explore the simulation spaces

Careers and opportunities

Because this course blends criminology and forensic studies, you’ll graduate with a particularly broad range of careers open to you. Your lecturers can help you identify the options that excite you most, so you can choose to study modules that fit your ambitions.

You’ll be especially well-prepared for the wide variety of criminal justice careers where forensic awareness plays a key role – from forensic practitioner in the police, probation or prison services, through to rewarding areas of expertise like community safety, crime prevention and criminological research. More broadly, the impressive problem-solving skills you develop could prove valuable in all kinds of careers.

Graduation 2023 Photos
- Event Consent Cards Used

I have loved my time at University. My dissertation supervisor in particular was really helpful and supportive, and I had a great time.

I won the dissertation prize for Criminology and Forensic Studies, based on my dissertation on incels' relationships with their female relatives.

Mia Lowther, BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Studies and winner of Undergraduate Dissertation Prize for Criminology and Forensic Studies, Graduation 2023

What jobs can you do with a criminology and forensic studies degree?

Our graduates have gone on to roles including:

  • crime scene investigator
  • investigative data analyst
  • police officer
  • intelligence researcher
  • probation officer
  • youth offending support officer
  • emergency planning officer
  • prison officer
  • forensic and other laboratories
  • teaching (with further training)

You could also do postgraduate study in areas such as forensic science.

We are one of a select few universities in the UK recognised by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) - a global professional body for counter fraud professionals.

If you take the optional module Economic Crime and Fraud Examination on this course, you'll have the chance to complete the ACFE's Certified Fraud Examiner qualification at a subsidised rate.

What kind of careers can a criminology degree lead to?

Studying a degree in criminology will open you up to a wide variety of career opportunities. From policing and cyber security, to NGOs and charities, discover some of the roles you could take on, and learn how we'll support you to achieve your goals.

Simona Ciobotaru: Studying a degree here at the University of Portsmouth in our School of Criminology and Criminal Justice will open you up to a wide variety of career options.

Alexandra Hemingway: It's not always really obvious exactly what kind of job you might want to do. A lot of students do need some help or inspiration, and a lot of that comes from directly inside their course.

If they're studying forensics, they've got really good simulations where they're doing practical examples of working with a scene of crime and stuff where they're going outdoors and really taking the science outside.

Laura Haggar: We have some students who might go into the prison service. We might have students who are interested in economic crime.

Simona Ciobotaru: A lot of students can go either into cyber security, NGOs and charities. They can work for the police.

Dr Richard John: One of the great attractive measures of policing today is actually you could join with this degree as a detective or an investigator.

Becky Milne: We have a big partnership with Hampshire Police, but also police right across the country and across the globe.

Dr Craig Collie: We tend to recommend that students do a placement or some work experience so they can put some of those skills to use.

Alexandra Hemingway: For example, working with Hampshire Constabulary as well as with charities or victim support. Another option is study abroad. You could go and do potentially a semester or a year in another university and you could also pick a work placement abroad. And there have also been opportunities to work right here in the university.

Michela Scalpello: Students can move into other areas in terms of analysis, data or government.

Dr Richard John: The sky really is your limit. The university of Portsmouth gives you the skills, it gives you the confidence and it gives you that academic ability to negotiate complex and difficult issues.

Dr Craig Collie: Learning how people think and behave and understanding how you yourself react to those things work into how those jobs would work. We've just got a wonderful team who are very experienced. Our team is one of the biggest criminology provisions in the country. You can nurture that interest here with us at Portsmouth.

Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

Placement year (optional)

After your second or third year of study, you can choose to do a paid work placement year. This lets you put your new skills to work while developing valuable links with employers in the crime and forensic investigation field.

It’s fantastic for your CV and will really help you stand out when applying for jobs.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. With mentoring and support throughout your placement, you’ll have our support to get the most from the experience.

Previous placement destinations have included:

  • Hampshire Constabulary
  • Hampshire Fire and Rescue
  • University of Portsmouth Forensic Technician Team

You can also spend this year studying overseas at one of our partner universities in Europe, South Asia or North America. You could also choose to set up your own business, or take a voluntary placement.

HSS Placement Students

Without my placement experience, I wouldn’t have considered this aspect of forensic work. I’m looking to complete a Master's in this subject area as a result.

Kristie Thorne, BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Studies

Read about Kristie's placement

Study abroad

You'll also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities. Studying overseas is a fantastic opportunity to enhance your CV and experience a different culture as an international student.

Many of our students describe their time spent studying abroad as truly life-changing, as well as an excellent way to stand out to future employers.


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules

You'll examine the techniques used in forensic investigations, how crime scenes are controlled and how evidence is the recovered.

You'll also think about the effectiveness of different crime scene and forensic approaches, in terms of the value they bring to criminal investigations.

You'll look at the historical development of criminal justice, as well as the duties of the criminal justice agencies that exist today, and how they work together.

You'll also explore the ideas behind the different types of punishment used within the criminal justice system.

You'll get familiar with social science research concepts, and build your academic reading, writing, presenting, reflecting and critical thinking skills.

You’ll learn how to differentiate quality sources, understand research elements, reflect on your development needs, and recognise and explain the relationships between subjects.

You'll be introduced to major theoretical approaches in psychology, looking at how these are applied in the real world in like investigation, offender treatment, risk assessment, policing and crime research.

You’ll learn how to engage across disciplines, access relevant information, appreciate ethical practice and communicate your written ideas effectively.

You'll examine the origins of criminology, considering the rise of the scientific study of crime and criminality.

You'll also think about the social, cultural, political and economic factors that led to the development of the study of criminology that we know today.

Core modules

You'll build on what you've learned in your first year, exploring and discussing the significance of forensic findings and how the results of analysis have implications within the criminal justice system.

You'll develop a deeper understanding of the current techniques involved in forensic science activities, the broader issues prevalent in evidence analysis, and its application to investigations.

Through court reports and quizzes, you'll get to grips with the results of a forensic investigation and be able to explain them effectively, determining the value of different evidence types within a criminal investigation.

You'll examine the criticisms and challenges of criminology as a social science, thinking about the part it plays in creating social order.

You'll also explore theories of social control and cultural resistance through debate and published ideas on the subject, which will help you develop an understanding of justice and dissent.

You’ll work independently and in groups with your classmates on research projects, identifying and responding to inherent ethical issues involved in your projects and considering their societal impact.

Finally, you'll develop and produce the results of your research projects in a variety of forms.

Optional modules

Combining law, language analysis and psychology, you’ll look at the different tools and methods used for analysing texts.

You’ll investigate grammar, orthography, metaphor, punctuation, capitalisation, layout and text management, salutations, spelling and distinctive markers, style of printing, and the use of upper-case letters.

You’ll also explore the different methods used for detecting lies and deception, and apply forensic linguistics tools in written and verbal case reports.

Moving from the street gangs of London to Chinese Triads and the international drug cartels of Mexico, you'll analyse what motivates illegal gang activities.

Through case studies, you'll discover the factors driving recruitment, initiation rites, codes of conduct, use of violence, and responses from law enforcement agencies globally.

You'll examine these complex issues from multiple sides to build a nuanced understanding.

In this module, you'll dive deep into real cases of environmental injustice and inequality across the globe, looking at the nature, scale and range of environmental crimes and harms.

Through interactive lessons, you'll debate thorny issues like: Who should be held accountable for climate change impacts? How can we balance economic growth with sustainability? Is environmental activism ever justified in breaking the law?

You'll ask and investigate what hate crime is, how much of it there is, who is involved and affected, where, when and why it is occurring, and what can be done about it.

You’ll be encouraged to develop your own independent, analytical and creative thinking as you explore this important subject.

You’ll get familiar with the big issues and contemporary debates in education studies as well as the role and expectations of a teacher.

You’ll develops fundamental knowledge and skills that teachers require, as well as your capability to structure and critique a lesson plan.

You'll look at the psychological factors behind the measures that the police, the government and security personnel take in ensuring public security.

You’ll also explore a security issue in-depth through an essay and devise a research project proposal aimed at creatively addressing a real-world security problem, alongside defending ethical positions.

You’ll evaluate sources such as legal records, cheap print, newspapers and novels, to discover what was considered a crime during this period and explore changing approaches towards ‘deviant’ behaviour.

You’ll see how behaviours we now consider private were publicly policed, and how this involved religion and the community. You’ll analyse changes from corporal punishment and torture towards modern ideas of policing.

You’ll also consider debates about the impact of urbanisation on patterns of crime, and the use of criminal prosecution as a means of social control, for example in relation to enforcing gender roles and controlling the poor.

You'll examine reforms, rights and roles of victims, and think critically about how effective existing professional practices are.

You'll look at published literature and debate with your classmates to develop your intellectual curiosity and knowledge of social justice when it comes to the experiences of victims of crime.

You'll think critically about youth justice systems, victims' experiences, and different approaches to rehabilitation, hearing from expert guest speakers who will provide real-world insights.

By evaluating new research and debates, you'll learn key skills in ways to support young people and strengthen their communities.

In this module, you’ll explore European colonisation of Africa, asking questions like - how did they justify colonial rule, and how did African peoples respond to these colonisers?

You’ll learn how, after World War II, colonial rule was increasingly challenged from both within the empire, by growing African demands for political rights, and in the international arena, with the global trend towards trusteeship, development and self-determination.

You’ll also explore European relations with Africa in the post-colonial era, looking at themes which may include ideas about civilisation, universalism and race, modern attempts to 'rehabilitate' empire in the media, and the legacies of colonialism in Britain, Europe and Africa.

You’ll collaborate with students on other courses to explore and address societal and environmental challenges faced by local and global communities. You’ll choose projects from a range of topic areas aligned with the university's Civic Strategy.

With input from local organisations, you’ll think about your topic from multiple perspectives, developing your interdisciplinary thinking and ability to work with others.

You’ll analyse the essence of security, exploring how security needs are addressed around the world and on a national level, down to a community and even an individual basis.

You’ll explore different forms of societal risk and insecurity, and approaches to dealing with security threats, taking into account the nature and impact of economic and political developments.

You'll learn how to think critically about the key concepts that link language, culture and communication, considering the benefits and limitations of these ideas.

You'll explore the different ways in which communication intersects with culture across themes such as identity, education, gender, and the media.

Alongside what you learn, you'll improve your skills in analysis, research and intercultural awareness.

You'll learn about consumer behaviour and brand strategy, and spend time examining real-world marketing campaigns. You'll also think about how social, political and technological forces can affect the way businesses approach marketing their products and services.

Skills you'll develop include carrying out market research and learning how to use what you learn, crafting targeted messaging across different marketing channels, and presenting your ideas verbally and in writing.

You'll learn about major economic, political and cultural changes in Western Europe over the nineteenth century, and how these affected the rest of the world as time went on.

You'll explore the big ideas that have shaped the modern world, and weigh up the benefits and perils of globalisation. Skills you'll develop on this module include independent research, critical thinking and effective communication.

You'll also learn to understand the opportunities and challenges of today's world from an informed, global perspective.

You’ll look critically ideas of nationalism historically and today with a focus on the everyday, intimate and embodied boundaries of nation-states and how these shape our lives, including those of us living in the most privileged parts of the world.

You’ll explore real-world cases to understand the individual and societal impacts on human lives, developing your analytical skills and imagining more compassionate alternatives.

You’ll unpack the language of tabloids, broadsheets and online news, analysing how journalists shape public understanding of current events.

Develop your critical thinking by confronting moral panics and polarised politics in reporting.

Create your own news stories and gain real insight into mass communication in a rapidly changing landscape.

You'll analyse major cases of economic crime and weigh up their wider societal implications.

You'll also learn how to recognise disciplinary perspectives, become familiar with the key investigating organisations, identify investigative techniques, and gather and analyse real case information.

You’ll analyse American texts against the backdrop of intellectual, social and political change, evaluating how writers grappled with emerging ideas around national identity, race, gender and more.

By honing skills for contextual analysis and independent thought, you’ll form your own interpretations of iconic works that reflect the American experience.

You’ll analyse diverse transitional justice approaches balancing community healing and judicial accountability after mass atrocities.

Comparing mechanisms like war crimes tribunals, truth commissions and reparations programmes, you’ll evaluate effectiveness in restoring dignity and preventing recurrence.

With case studies from Europe to Africa, from Latin America to Asia, you'll examine tensions between western models and local cultural perspectives, assessing what ‘justice’ means to vulnerable peoples.

Throughout, you'll trace incremental human rights legislation advances, assessing global institutions’ roles protecting civilians from authoritarian regimes and wartime abuses.

Through interactive lectures with academics, speakers and professionals, you'll discuss, debate and complete practical exercises exploring wildlife crime alongside your classmates.

You'll spend time examining wildlife crimes and the factors behind them, as well as environmental justice and sustainability.

You'll explore radicalisation, and sociological and psychological theories of individual and social motivation, and consider the role of gender identity and women within terrorist groups.

Critically evaluate various types of terrorist groups, including religious terrorism, far-right terrorism, far-left terrorism, ethno-nationalist/separatist terrorism, and single-issue terrorism.

You'll also learn about the strategies employed by states to combat terrorism and evaluate their effectiveness.

You'll learn about crimes against humanity (such as war crimes and genocide), state crimes against democracy, state-corporate crime, contemporary slavery and human trafficking - shining a light on oppression and injustice.

By examining the responses to these crimes, you'll think about the ways international judicial, state and inter-governmental, and global civil society actors tackle state crime.

You'll develop your ability to think critically about complex global issues, taking many different perspectives into account.

Through interactive workshops with mini-lectures, guest speakers and hands-on activities, you'll compare working practices and reflect on the challenges police face when investigating gun crime.

You'll also learn how evidence is recovered from firearm scenes and about the weapons themselves.

You'll get an introduction the role of forensic investigation in mass fatality events.

You'll focus on topics such as missing persons, body search and recovery, family assistance, and identification methods.

You'll explore the complex relationships between ethics, laws and imprisonment policies.

Alongside your classmates, you'll focus on pressing issues like mental health, violence and gender while arguing for a more humane, effective prison system.

You'll examine the history, role and organisational structures of the police in the UK, including the wider policing `family' and agencies that are involved in governance and oversight of the police.

You’ll tackle the changing nature of crime and the associated challenges for the police, alongside associated governance, trust and legitimacy issues.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you’ll apply what you’ve learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You’ll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

Core modules

It's up to you what your dissertation or project is about – this will be your chance to showcase your passion for criminology and associated disciplines by choosing a subject area or topic that most interests you.

You'll draw on everything you’ve learned so far to investigate, analyse, craft and refine your dissertation or project, using existing texts, sources and artefacts to support your arguments and give them context.

You'll have the support of a dedicated dissertation tutor to guide you throughout this module.

You'll explore how investigating serious and organised crime works, learning key strategies and procedures used by police and others within the criminal justice system.

Sharpen your analytical skills by weighing up investigative approaches, major incident procedures and forensic techniques, as well as their legal and ethical parameters.

You’ll explore the ways forensic investigations are managed across the world, looking at key players and processes across research, innovation and policy.

You’ll examine the importance of sharing forensic knowledge across different organisations.

You'll also learn all about emerging forensic technologies and capabilities on the horizon of the field, and what could be possible in the future.

Optional modules

You'll explore this question on this module, examining the impact of new technologies on modern criminality, and hearing from specialist lecturers and guest speakers, all experts in cybercrime and its related fields.

You'll explore topics like 3D printing and crime, body-worn cameras, electronic monitoring tech, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, the use of the internet in prisons, and more, depending on the latest tech advancements.

You'll consider concepts like risk, dangerousness and risk management and how they vary and affect the way criminals are managed in different countries, including the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia.

By analysing historical and modern-day debates around dangerousness and public protection, you'll develop your own informed perspectives on legislation, policies and key criminal behaviour profiles.

Taking inspiration from financial crime experts, you’ll learn to “think like a fraudster” to unravel economic conspiracies.

Working in groups with your fellow classmates, you’ll start to develop the skills needed to identify dirty money trails hidden in financial systems around the world.

This module is accredited by the Associate of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) as part of the Anti-Fraud Education Partnership.

You'll explore the physiology of death and the way different environments affect decomposition.

Through subjects like archaeology, anthropology and botany, you'll interpret post-mortem factors to locate, identify and extract investigation data from human remains.

You'll also explore how taphonomy helps with the identification of unidentified remains, as well as the challenges and constraints of different forensic techniques.

Environmental problems are a serious national and international concern, regularly dominating media headlines.

As scientific research has shown, these issues are increasingly urgent and include climate change, pollution, habitat loss, species decline and the destruction of our natural resources.

Through interactive lectures, discussion, debate and practical exercises, you'll critically analyse perpetrators and victims of green criminology, examine national and international policing and risk regulation roles, and reflect on justice issues.


You’ll get familiar with the big issues and contemporary debates in education studies as well as the role and expectations of a teacher.

You’ll develops fundamental knowledge and skills that teachers require, as well as your capability to structure and critique a lesson plan.

You'll examine the powers afforded to police constables as they carry out their duties, alongside professional standards, accountability and key issues around diversity, ethics, values and wellbeing.

You'll discuss the purpose of the police force, demonstrate critical understanding of consent principles, evaluate equality policies, summarise resilience strategies, and critically examine the application of law within policing.

You'll take a detailed view of the historical and modern-day right-wing extremist parties, pressure groups and street movements in Britain, including the British Union of Fascists, the National Front, the British National Party, the ‘counter-jihad’ English Defence League and Britain First.

You'll also evaluate arguments from contemporary criminological accounts on the extreme right, such as Realist Criminology and Cultural Criminology.

You'll learn about the job application process from the perspective of both candidates and recruiters, thinking about what employers look for in graduates and how you can optimise your own professional profile.

Through mock interviews and assessments, you'll hone your skills and learn how to communicate your achievements and career goals, ready to take the next step after you graduate.

Through an interactive mix of debates and research projects, you'll take an in-depth look at diverse perspectives on racial bias in policing, sentencing and incarceration rates.

By engaging with cross-cultural theories and data, you'll build informed views on how we can continue to reform these systemic issues.

We'll consider terrorist appeals, ideologies and operations while evaluating theories on radicalisation and motivation, looking at groups like religious, far-right, far-left and ethno-nationalist terrorists.

We'll examine gender identity's role in terrorism. You'll also learn about different counterterrorism tactics and strategies used by countries and states around the world, weighing up their effectiveness.

You’ll develop your knowledge of core linguistic frameworks in order to investigate a range of communication issues, such as language and control, the role of interpreters, the veracity of witness statements, and the interviewing of vulnerable witnesses, such as children.

You'll consider psychological theories related to criminal justice issues.

Forensic techniques you'll cover include deception detection and the cognitive interview, thinking about the role of psychology within these methods.

Skills you'll strengthen include locating key information, critically applying theory to problems, and effectively communicating your ideas in writing.

You'll explore this question on this module, examining how gender affects pathways into offending, victimisation, punishment, treatment, rehabilitation and more.

You'll think critically about crime, criminology and criminal justice from the perspective of gender, with a focus on the experiences of women and those who identify as women.

You’ll focus on risk analysis, information security policy design and implementation, assessing different security solutions for different types of organisations.

You’ll also design your own security policies based on what you learn, create and evaluate disaster recovery plans, and assess the human, legal and ethical factors in play when developing vital security policies.

You'll look at high-profile examples of miscarriages of justice and what led them to occur, from poor police work to 'junk science'.

You'll also discover how advances in forensic science can help prevent injustices, and explore research that will give you an international perspective on the rights of suspects and appeals processes.

You'll discover how criminals laundering dirty money make their finances look clean, and examine the internal prevention systems organisations have in place against money laundering.

You'll get to grips with the key concepts and frameworks, and learn how to apply legal and regulatory knowledge to case studies.

You'll also spend time looking into serious offences such as organised crime and terrorism, and evaluate the role of the police in countering these threats.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you'll apply what you've learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You'll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

You'll think critically about the theoretical concepts behind existing approaches to offender rehabilitation, comparing and evaluating how they work in the real world.

Through independent research and reflection, you'll gain crucial skills you can use to examine and find ways to improve rehabilitation practices across the criminal justice system.

On this module, you’ll dissect the media phenomenon of true crime, looking at public perceptions of crime and justice.

You'll think critically about how emotive true crime narratives frame key players, from villains to victims. Exploring ideas of prejudice, you’ll investigate whether sensationalised serial killer stories simply reinforce stereotypes of class and gender.

Alternatively, could advocacy-focused wrongful conviction cases challenge assumptions and drive social change?

By applying criminology theory, you'll uncover complex biases shaping everything from podcasts to primetime prison documentaries.

You’ll delve into the various types of sexual offending, gain an understanding of the consequences, examine the role of media in shaping public perception, and discuss alternative methods for addressing offending.

There’s a strong emphasis on fostering respectful and informed discussions of sensitive topics.

Optional modules

Work Placement Year or Study Year Abroad

Boost your employability by taking an industry-based work placement year or immerse yourself in another culture by studying for a year at one of our partner universities worldwide.

This is an amazing opportunity to either put everything you’ve learned so far into action in a real workplace in the UK or overseas, or to expand your horizons and set yourself up for your future career by studying abroad.

If you choose a work placement year, we’ll help you find and secure an exciting placement opportunity within an appropriate company or organisation. You’ll have the chance to try out skills and gain experience that’ll help you clarify your next career steps, while building capabilities employers seek. 

If you choose to study abroad, you’ll expand your global perspective and develop additional skills to boost your future career, as well as making memories, new friends and career contacts.

This is a Connected Degree

We're the only university that gives you the flexibility to choose when to take a work placement. Take it after your second year, before returning to finish your studies. Or after your final year, connecting you into the workplace.

If you're not sure if or when to take your placement, don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your studies and explore your options before making your choice. 

Find out more about Connected Degrees

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Graduation July 2019

My favourite part of my course is the passionate lecturers who are experts in their field who make the course not only up-to-date, but keep the content exciting! 

Rebecca Slattery, BSc Hons Criminology and Forensic Studies

How you're assessed

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: 5% by exams and 95% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Your coursework may include:

  • reports
  • presentations
  • 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.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • group discussions
  • practical workshops
  • forensic crime scene examinations

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

Teaching staff profiles

Helen Louise McGonigal Portrait

Dr Helen McGonigal

Senior Lecturer

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Read more

The reality of CSI

How does the CSI activity we see in films and TV dramas compare to the real world? How do investigations differ around the world? And what are the myths of Crime Scene Investigation?

In this episode of Life Solved, we take a look at the realities of Crime Scene Investigation or CSI with our lecturer, Zoe Cadwell, and Winchester University's Selina Robinson, who both used to be Crime Scene Investigators.

Hello and thanks for watching this Life Solved short.

I'm Robyn Montague, and in these videos we get to meet the University of Portsmouth researchers and their colleagues sharing their work in the latest series of the Life Solved podcast.

This is work that's changing our world for the better in all sorts of ways.

We've all watched CSI thrillers on TV and in the cinema. Screens are full of actors dressed in overalls, finding the tiniest smudge of DNA in the corner of a crime scene and getting the criminals behind bars by the end of the episode. Pretty impressive.

But how does the reality of CSI investigation compare to that told on the screen?

And how do approaches vary around the world?

Well, I'm joined by Zoe Cadwell, senior lecturer in forensic studies at the University of Portsmouth, and Selina Robinson, who's a lecturer in forensic investigation just down the road at the University of Winchester.

So Zoe and Selina, thank you very much for joining me today.

You both used to work in CSI.

So it's not just the academic side of things you guys are involved in.

What drew you to a career in CSI originally, and how did the realities of that actually meet your expectations?

I think I went into crime scene investigation, as we all do, because we have this want to and desire to want to solve a mystery, I suppose.

I think unfortunately suspicious and unsuspicious, deaths are going to be something that continues.

So there's not going to be a lack of that.

And it was really an exciting prospect, a unique career, something physical, something challenging, something that was really cool.

And yeah, I was sadly quite disappointed when I became a crime scene investigator, not because the job wasn't fantastic, not because of the people, but I think the changes that were implemented into the landscape of forensics is is really changing how you do the role.

I think my experience is slightly different because I'm a slightly older than Selina, so I came into the role many, many years ago, over 20 years ago, and at that time it wasn't really well known what this role was and there was no TV shows.

So a lot of people, I think, now see the TV shows and think that's what I want to do.

Where is that?

Exposure wasn't in place.

I'd read books as a child crime books and seen photographs of crime scenes and said, that's what I want to do, even though I didn't know what the job was.

And I actually studied archaeology.

And then, as Selina said, it was about piecing together mysteries.

So as an archaeologist, you excavate pieces of evidence and you look at the surroundings and you pick these tiny little pieces of artefacts

and evidence together and try and interpret what happened for those things to be where they are, where you found them.

And actually that transposes really well into crime scene investigation.

There's actually quite a lot of people who studied archaeology that become crime scene investigators, including Selina.

You did archaeology, didn't you?


So it has these transferable skills and it is about that mystery solving and putting jigsaws together with little tiny pieces of evidence.

When I got into the role, it was everything I hoped it would be.

But of course I didn't have all this overexposure and expectation.

And yeah, I got to solve mysteries, not on my own, not Scooby-Do style, but as part of a wider, really important team within policing.

And I really enjoyed it.

And you say they're about the archaeology thing and some people might be listening to that and thinking that's a bit of a stretch.

But actually, you know, Indiana Jones, can I just say, he did a lot of archaeology slash crime scene and running around trying to catch bad guys.

So it's not that much of a jump.


Well, if you think about it as well, we excavate human remains in archaeology.

And that's certainly where I started was excavating human remains, as in undergraduate.

Then I went into postgraduate in forensic archaeology.

So that's my background is forensic archaeology.

So there really it really isn't a leap between archaeology and crime scene investigation at all.

And I suppose, you know, you saying that you've got a fair bit of a difference when you started your career and you started your career.

But I mean, in between that gap you had shows like CSI was huge.

And then you have Bones, I think was another one where again, that was, you know, excavating human remains that were fairly old, all these different shows and programmes.

And what was it about these that you think caught people's attention?

Why were they interested in shows like this?

We saw a massive uptick in applications to crime scene investigation roles once these shows sort of hit the TV.

And I think it is just that I think there's the drama side of it.

Personally, I think they glamorised the role.

CSI, I think was probably the first one, the main one, and it was so glamorous.

They all had perfect hair and perfect nails and heels and a gun, which obviously I've never had.

No one's ever let me.

Have a smoke in the crime scene.

Wear the sunglasses.



So I think it was the glamorisation of solving crime.

But for once, it wasn't police officers.

It was people who were using science and some new kind of sexy subjects that perhaps hadn't been explored on TV before.


And when we say CSI, quite often you think of it as just sort of blood and, you know, a murder scene or

a scene where there's a fair amount of stuff going on that's, you know, from a person's body.

But that's not necessarily the case.

Now, you know, in CSI, it's evolved quite significantly, especially with digital advancements.

So how has it changed over the past 20 odd years?

And I think it's such a fast moving field.

So what was advanced five years ago might not actually be as advanced now.

And that's the great thing about forensics, because like there's an appetite for it.

It's always evolving.

It's always advancing, which is great, but it still builds on the foundations of original concepts of recovery.

So fingerprinting hasn't really changed, actually, probably from when you started and when I started.

Even now, what the students are learning is very much the same as what it was,

but there are slightly different techniques, a little bit more advanced about how we analyse it, how we interpret it.

It's it's a holistic approach really that's advancing as opposed to the changes of how we just recover evidence.

I think the major change for me has been DNA.

I started at a time when to recover DNA we had to have a significant, really visible stain so it would be blood or something.

And now, of course, we're down to cellular level of DNA recovery.

So for me, that's the biggest change in technology.

But some of the underlying changes that perhaps we might learn a little bit more about as academics and then hopefully we'll see filter through to practitioners is about how we think as CSI is.

So when I started, there was not much thinking about thinking, and now there's an awful lot of thinking about thinking, how do we do this?

But why do we do it?

Why am I doing this?

And why am I feeling the way I'm feeling?

Am I being biased by anything in this case or in this crime scene that's altering my approach to it?

So for me, that's a really exciting change in development and crime scene investigation

that perhaps people don't talk about so much is definitely the thought processes in the decision making.

As part of your roles as CSI investigators, what were the things you were looking at in particular?

Were there particular crimes that you were focusing on?

I think the biggest myth is that it's all about murder and the TV shows.

I mean, Silent Witness, CSI, other shows that we might mention during this podcast,

they're always predominantly focussed on the most serious crimes, which is murder.

But actually, as crime scene investigators our day to day or bread and butter investigations tend to be what we call volume crimes.

So volume crime is defined as something that happens so frequently.

So it things generally, in a nutshell, is vehicle crime and property crime, say burglaries to houses and burglaries to commercial premises.

So people don't really realise that that's actually what we're kind of doing day in, day out,

what we call the bigger jobs, the major crime jobs are not happening thankfully every day.

And really we're out there talking to members of the public that are victims of crime, and I think that's really the day to day job that that goes unnoticed.

Would you say?

I would agree.

And that actually reminds me of some of the things I've seen in CSI programs where it's if it's a major crime is a team that comes in,

not the local or regional CSI department that covers it.

That's what you tend to find in these dramatised versions of CSI.

Is that the case here?

Would it be another team or would you guys handle because it's your area?

No, not.

So much even area.

I think certainly in Hampshire, if you are sort of you're the lead CSI or the lead crime scene manager, you're the one that controls or manages that scene.

You can probably if as a manager, you could probably say, I want to see a slice to come in and then we can swap after 8 hours just for respite mental health.

But we would never outsource another team to do the job that we'd be doing.

We'd use other teams such as chemical treatment unit, fingerprinting, digital.

So if they want to come and do three sixty cameras or U.V.

lighting or something more specialist that we don't have in our backpack when we're at that crime scene, but they outsource.

Yeah, I think I think the main way to look at it is there's two levels in most police forces.

There's two levels of CSI, a level one and a level two.

They might have slightly different names depending on different forces.

Call their staff different titles.

But essentially you're you're trained initially to do the volume crime work, and then you get trained to be able to do the major crime work.

And then above that, you can be trained to be a crime scene manager.

Say that's the person that's in charge of the staff at that scene.

But it is the the the county employed or the police force employed

CSIs that will come whoever is on duty, whoever's got the required training, come and do that scene.

But as Selina says, we might bring specialists in from what we call forensic science providers.

So they are the laboratories that work externally to the police where we submit our evidence for analysis.

So these might be blood spatter

experts say that forensic biologists, if it's a shooting, they may be a forensic ballistic expert.

And of course, the pathologists that we see in so many of the TV programs is an external person

as well that may come to the scene, but more likely will encounter them at the mortuary.

But the actual people examining that scene are the CSIs that were employed in that area, in that geographical area.

And when you go into a scene, who's in charge? Because again, it can get quite confusing when you watch these shows.

Is it the detective?

Is it the crime scene investigator? Who who's technically responsible for managing that scene at that time?

I don't think anybody would like to use the word in-charge.

But in a volume crime scene, it's the CSI, because there's usually just you there.

You're the only person there with the victim of crime.

So it's up to in a major crime, it's the crime scene manager.

So they work out the strategy with the senior investigating officer.

They work out the forensic strategy, what's priority, what needs to be done in the order things are done.

And the CSI is do follow that strategy.

It's very rare for detectives to be in the scene.

That's another thing that's quite unusual in the TV shows.

In my experience, the CIA certainly is in is very busy in a briefing room at headquarters coordinating lots and lots of investigative leads.

So they are not there walking around the scene.

It tends to just be the forensic team, because with advances in technology now as well, we can get our images out to the briefing room

from the scene really quickly so that that way we can minimise the number of people that are in that scene, which is really important for contamination.

And you said a second ago sometimes you have to change shift if you're there for 8 hours or more.

I mean, how long can crime scene investigations be opened for?

I think how long's piece of string really?

Volume crime of of always going to actually be quicker,

especially if it's just yourself in a two bedroom house, one bedroom flat, you know, that's going to be quicker.

Sometimes they do take longer if it's a lovely affluent property, six bedrooms, but

major crimes, depending on the type of crime, depending on how many resources you need.

Because if we do need to call from forensic specialism within the department, then we need to wait for them to arrive.

We need to wait for them to finish, and then we can go back in and support it.

Yeah, but I think the crime scene managers that I've worked with have been really good at trying to manage the welfare

of the crime scene investigators within the scene of the major crime.

So it's usually, can I go to get a coffee, can I get anyone some lunch?

But usually I feel we're quite the same.

Once you're in there, you just want to just want to do it.

Just want to get as much done.

Do as much as you can do before you absolutely have to clock off.

And then in those circumstances, where may have to go into the next sort of shifts,

they'll seal the property up, have a guard at the door or outside of the area, and then you have to return the next day.

I think I've had scenes that've been open for weeks and go back every day and then it tails off to a point and things get left.

Then you go back because it just gets sealed and 

there's certain other things or other specialists that need to come.

So I think you can fully expect sort of long 12, 15 hour days in the initial stages of a murder enquiry,

and then that might tail off in terms of how many times you need to revisit.

But I remember a murder scene where I had to revisit it a number of times over about three or four weeks.

And then you've got after that, usually for contamination reasons, the CSI is at work, at the scene, tend to be the ones that go to the post-mortem

because we only have a finite number of CSIs.

So you can use a new set and they've already been in contact with the body and then a post mortem can last,

I think the quickest forensic post-mortem I've ever been to is about 30 minutes, and the longest was about 10 hours.

Eight or 10 hours, I think.



It sounds like such a challenging environment and I think that's fair, most people would say that sounds like a very challenging environment.

And you mentioned about mindfulness and how they check in on you to make sure that you know you're okay and that you've had a break and, you know, rested a little bit.

Has that always been the case in CSI or was that fairly new?

I was just going to say Selina was saying that that is another huge change.

I haven't been practising as a CSI for nearly nine years.

The only scene I've been on there since then was the Grenfell Tower fire, where I worked as a consultant and I noticed the huge difference in welfare at that scene to where I've worked previously.

Thankfully this does seem to have come a long way.

There's things like, you know, we did have incident support trucks and things like that, but certainly the concept of the impact on your mental health, both from working long hours and the type of work that we do, is much more understood.

But there's an awful lot more research that needs to take place.

But yeah, really, I think thankfully these things have changed because there certainly wasn't.

Unfortunately, when I started in for a long time, you signed up for it.

You knew what you were signing up for.

I was 22.

I did not know what I was signing up for.

So I find that attitude a little bit stale and I still see it on Twitter.

I saw it the other week, someone saying, you're CSI, You knew what you signed up for

and I'm sorry, but I don't think anyone really knows that they're signing up for hours and hours and hours in covered in flies and maggots and blood

and horrible smells with no access to a toilet or refreshment or anything like that.

So I think that's another myth that we do need to bust in that we're actually humans.

And thankfully, police forces are now catching on to the fact that CSIs need the support that perhaps police officers have been getting for a little bit longer.

I feel like we've touched on some of, you know, that scenario sounds like CSI,

Why would you do that job?

But you did do that job.

I mean, Zoe as well, you're looking to go back into it.

So what is it about CSI that you guys love?

It's just every day is different and you're always going to be tested even if you start to think, oh, have just about got that technique.

And then there's going to be another scene that pops up or there's another person you interact with that you think, oh, okay, now I get to do something different.

So it constantly challenges you I think.

It is an exciting job.

It was the best job I've ever had, don't get me wrong.

But, you know, I think at the time for me, I couldn't deal with the the time and the requirements because I had a six month old at the time.

So that was the only reason really that I couldn't I'd like to think, pursue it.

And yet there's a changing landscape of forensics at the moment, but it's such an amazing job, I would think.

I think there's new challenges now, and I'm very interested in those new challenges.

So I'm looking to see what these challenges look like in reality and how that's actually working for practitioners.

I very much, I think I'll always have my research head on now that I've been working in academia, and I think that's a really interesting view to bring into crime scene investigation.

But as Selina says, the fundamental fact is every single day is different.

You meet everybody from every single walk of life you could imagine and some that you couldn't imagine.

You will encounter experiences that you didn't even know you could possibly do.

And then also the thing that I really love about it is it doesn't matter how much experience you have, you are experienced.

So I remember as a ten year experienced CSI,

never having been to a particular type of scene that our newest recruit had been to so I could go to them for advice.

And I think that is fantastic to say,

there is so many infinite number of experiences we can have in this role.

We can all appreciate each other and appreciate each other's experience and learn from each other.

And there's so much to learn.

I've been in forensics for over 20 years and I'm still learning every single day, and that's what excites me about being back

probably on the front line is learning more.

Can't stop learning about it.

It sounds incredibly rewarding.

And we can take a quick break.

If you're enjoying this episode of Life Solved, then why not

check out Who Polices the Police featuring Dr. John Fox.

John looks at the vetting process of police forces across the UK and also who's in charge of holding officers to account.

Search for the episode whether you listen to podcasts.

And so back to the sort of the myths and misconceptions around CSI,

a lot of the stuff that we see, which is dramatised is from the U.S., I think it's fair to say we do have some shows here.

You mentioned Silent Witness.

There are quite a few police, famous police shows now as well.

I used to watch The Bill a lot.

I used to love The Bill.

But is there a difference between countries that people aren't necessarily aware of?

Do you find that when you chat to people about the role of a CSI, they say, oh, I know that this happens, but actually that's not the case in the UK.

But is the case somewhere else?

Yeah, I think our first year students, well the first lecture I have with them, I always do this sort of myth busting.

So what do you know about forensic science?

What do you know about crime scene investigation?

And one of the things that comes up every year is the role of the coroner,

because in the the shows sorry, from the USA, the coroner is essentially what we would call the forensic pathologist.

So the person that does the post-mortem or the autopsy in in America,

and often they come to the scene and no one's allowed to do anything with the body until the coroner has been and they examine the body at the scene, etc..

Here, that's a forensic pathologist.

And our coroner is a very different role and is a completely different person.

So the coroner does not come to the scene in the UK.

The forensic pathologist might and they undertake the post-mortem, not the coroner.

So we have a distinction in terms of wording, I think, and roles there.

That's the main thing that I pick up on the difference between shows in the countries, but there's differences in practice as well.

We know that from the research literature and from speaking to practitioners in other countries as well,

that we do have very different, not always very, but some different approaches to how we undertake these roles.

And also I think it's probably fair to say in other countries, the role of the CSI as a police officer, and I think that's something we need to bust as well.

In the UK.

You do not need to be a police officer first to become a CSI.

You get the job as a CSI and you're trained on the job.

In the US predominantly, you are a police officer, sworn police officer, and then you train to be a CSI.

And that's the case in many other countries.

Australia is the same, but it's moving.

I think there are some police staff CSI now.

I think it's moving towards that.

But yeah, I did a master's degree in forensic science a few years ago and I did a module in forensic biology with an American university

and they taught me about air drying swaps.

So we wet and dry, for example, dry bloodstains is our method for recovery, and then we freeze those swaps.

But in the US, or particularly where I, the state that I was being taught this module, they were teaching us to air dry.

And I spoke to the the lecturer and I said, oh, that's very, very different to what we do if we ever tried them

that would be an issue in terms of contamination and also related to how they were packaging and storing them.

And we had a really, really interesting conversation about it.

Well, thank you both so much for joining me today.

It's been a really interesting conversation and hopefully some people who have listened will walk away

and feel a little bit better informed about what CSI is and what your jobs are.

Because of TV and film dramas we've already got a picture of how CSI works and the terms used in forensics.

Hopefully in this episode we've corrected a few things and given an idea of how it works in reality.

If you'd like to listen to our full episode of Life Solved discussing the world of forensic science,

head to the University of Portsmouth website or download it on your favourite podcast app now.

You can click the link in the comments box below or head to

to find out more about Zoe's work here at the University of Portsmouth.

Next time how seaweed is "kelping" to clean up our oceans.

I didn't write that.

See you then.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Criminology and Forensic Studies degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 10 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty 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
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)

You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)

You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

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 cover additional costs, such as travel costs, if you take an optional placement or placement abroad.

These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement, and can range from £50–£1000.

During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, tuition fees for that year are:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.

How to apply

Apply now through Clearing

If you have your results, you can apply directly to us now to start in September 2024.

Apply now

Applying for year 2 or 3

If you've already completed part of this course with us or another university and would like to apply for the second or third year with us in September 2024, use our online application form.

September 2025 applications

To start this course in 2025, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – LF34
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

Can't find the answer to your questions about this course or anything else about undergraduate life? Contact us

Common criminology and forensic studies questions

Criminology is the study of crime and criminal justice, including its causes, responses and prevention.

Forensic studies is the study of forensic, crime scene and criminal investigation, including forensic evidence analysis and interpretation.

This Criminology and Forensic Studies degree brings together these topics, providing an integrated understanding of criminal investigation with the application of forensic methods.

Because of ongoing funding pressures, criminal justice roles outside the usual policing and probation networks are expanding. Populations are increasing, crime is not disappearing and society needs more support than ever.

This means the future demand for criminology and forensic studies graduates is likely to be high.

People who work in this area do so because they want to have a significant, positive impact on society.

Careers in this area are hugely rewarding, because you work with vulnerable people, victims of crime, and sometimes perpetrators of crime, helping get them back into society.

Every day is different. Every crime scene is different.

As well as preparing you for employment in areas such as policing, probation, forensic investigation, intelligence or counter-fraud, this degree allows you to gain valuable transferable skills including research skills, written and oral communication skills, attention to detail and social policy knowledge that you can apply to many careers.

Keeping up to date with crime and forensic investigation in the media is good preparation for this course. For example, watching crime, criminal justice and forensic documentaries gives you a realistic perspective of processes involved in this area, which you'll study in more detail on the course.

It's also a good idea to read a range of tabloid and broadsheet articles on crime, and related subjects.

As well as meeting the entry requirements, it's useful if you're inquisitive, hard working and have the ability to pay attention to detail.

Clearing Hotline: 023 9284 8074