Postgraduate study
Crime, Forensic & Investigative Sciences

PgDip/MSc Crime Intelligence and Data Analytics

Understanding data is becoming increasingly important for us all. This is especially true for the intelligence analyst working for a police intelligence unit or business analytics department.

Course information

Full-time

  • within 1 year

More full-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry

Part-time

  • 2 years

More part-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry

  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 738800
  • Fee for UK/EU applicants: £561 per 20 credits
    More details about our fees

Contact details

Further information

 

The work boundaries of the traditional police intelligence analyst and digital forensic investigator are becoming blurred – today’s analysts need to be cyber aware, understanding how communication records and web search histories can be extracted and analysed.

This course covers these areas as well as theories that provide a better sense of the causes of crime and the prevention measures that can be put in place to stabilise and reverse these trends. Analysts shouldn’t be phased by data simply because of its size, complexity or format. This course provides you with the skills to work effectively with large datasets, allowing you to make more informed decisions in relation to criminal investigations. Key features include writing code to quickly clean up data and packaging it so it’s suitable for analysis and visualisation. You will discover that the world constantly presents data in data frames or spreadsheets – our daily activities are invariably logged by a time, date, geolocation. You develop these skills along with your confidence in applying them to make more sense of the data – analysing Twitter downloads, searched words and images, geolocation points or big data. This course also explores strategies employed in forensic investigation. It gives you the space and opportunity to develop your own area of interest in a 60-credit research project where your supervisor enables you to maximise your skillsets from academic writing to data analytics.

For the PgDip award you must successfully complete 120 credits of taught modules. For the MSc award you must successfully complete 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit master's research project.

Course structure

PgDip and MSc core modules

Coding for Intelligence Analysts

You learn basic coding with teaching geared to providing support to first-time coders. Coding is primarily about data analysis, cleaning and merging data before it’s visualised in charts and tables. Learning some scripts to manipulate tabulated data is a valuable skill – and will become increasingly valuable when dealing with big data. You learn the principles of the programming language Python and how it can be used to change, group and strip out irregularities in data frames. Performing these simple scripts on large datasets makes life easier – it also provides a platform for you to be able to research on your own with publically available data. Cleansing data in this way makes utilising old favourites like Microsoft Excel much easier too.

You study SQL (structured query language) to develop the skills to grab data from a database. Today everything from mobile phone data to performance business metrics in policing is packaged ready for extraction, provided the user has the knowledge and understanding to ‘query’ its contents.

Crime Science: Theories, Principles and Intelligence Sources

You study crime theories, such as rational choice and routine activity packaged up in environmental criminology. You appreciate how the environment has the potential to facilitate or inhibit criminal behaviour. You consider problem-orientated policing and how we can use theoretical models to understand crime and responses to it – along with emerging debates as to whether traditional theories are still relevant with 21st-century online criminal activity. You study intelligence sources and the explosion of openly available material for analysis. You also consider the software and applications available for this research or data capture.

Cyber Security and Digital Investigation

Understanding how computers, tablets, mobile communications and the internet of things store information about our activity is a fundamental aspect of this module. You explore how to preserve, record and extract the intelligence from these devices whether it’s a recovered mobile phone or a computer at the crime scene – these core principles are relevant to all forensic evidence.

This module also unpacks digital terminology allowing you, as the analyst, to engage in conversation with the computer and digital forensic investigator, ensuring content isn’t overlooked – social media, encryption, file storage and more. If you are upskilling in this area the focus is on being cyber aware, understanding threats and analysing trends.

Forensic Investigative Strategy

You develop an understanding of the principles associated with crime scene science and its relationship with forensic analysis and the legal process. You address key areas in forensic practice such as quality standards, evidence continuity and contamination issues. You also get an understanding of the methodologies used for processing and examination of physical evidence.

Your lectures are supported by a series of practical sessions which include evidence recovery at a mock crime scene and the initial forensic examination of recovered items. You are assessed by a presentation (30%) and a report (70%).

Legal Issues and Evidence Reporting

Forensic evidence of all types plays a major role in the detection of crime and the successful investigation of other types of incident such as road traffic collisions and natural disasters. You explore the legal and procedural contexts in which forensic science operates, providing you with opportunities to develop skills and knowledge for the gathering, examination and presentation of evidence in a range of situations.

You attend a series of keynote lectures, seminars and a practical session in the University’s replica courtroom. You may have an opportunity to visit a local coroner’s office and/or court. You are assessed by a portfolio (30%) and evidence in the form of a written statement and verbal presentation in a simulated courtroom situation (70%).

Research Methods and Proposal

You develop a proposal for your research project, which contains an explanation targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. You consider the impacts of the proposed work both in the form of academic beneficiaries, economic, environmental and societal impacts. Your project costs are estimated on a full economic costing model. You also include a targeted CV.

You attend a short lecture series at the start of the academic year that will provide an introduction and advice. You are allocated a project area and supervisor and you produce a research proposal for the project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor and receive feedback on your progress. You acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee.

You are assessed by the successful acquisition of ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submission of a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).

 

MSc only

Research Project

On successful completion of the taught modules in Semester 1 and 2, you proceed to a 60-credit research project. This project gives you an opportunity to specialise in an area of your choice.

The following are some examples of project topics:
· using big data to understand geography and crime
· using web search terms as a method to build a problem profile for consumer protection enforcers
· how much do community events affect crime rates?
· using social media analytics as a barometer to understand crime in society.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You learn through a range of lectures, seminars, tutorials and IT laboratories using a variety of software. Simulated problems and scenarios are posed in much the same way that analysts would face in the real world. You can expect to use software that is found in real-world intelligence analysis/digital forensic units and data science. An element of the learning is through peer engagement, learning from others to achieve solutions. Much of the software you use in class can be downloaded for home use.

How you are assessed

You are assessed in formal examination settings as well as through structured coursework.

Career opportunities

You could expect to apply for intelligence researcher and intelligence analyst roles in a wide variety of career opportunities ranging from security, policing and business.

Entry requirements

Applicants are normally expected to have at least a 2.2 UK honours degree, or equivalent qualification. A range of degree subjects are acceptable including subjects in the physical sciences, crime scene and forensic science. Social science graduates are particularly welcome for example, criminology, policing, sociology and the humanities.

Non-UK students must also meet the University's minimum English language requirements.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information

Full-time

  • within 1 year

More full-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry

Part-time

  • 2 years

More part-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry

  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 738800
  • Fee for UK/EU applicants: £561 per 20 credits
    More details about our fees

Contact details

Further information