Undergraduate study
Crime Scene Science

BSc (Hons) Crime Scene Science

UCAS code: BF14 BSc/CSS

Our accredited BSc (Hons) Crime Scene Science degree course can prepare you to play an important role in modern society. As a multidisciplinary area of study within the broader field of forensic science, you explore scientific techniques to help investigate and deter crime in different environments.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 years with work placement)

More full-time details

Part-time

  • 6 years if entering in Year 1, 4 years if entering in Year 2

More part-time details

  • Timetable governed - please contact our admissions office
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 738800

Contact details

Further information

 

At Teesside University our students have access to extensive facilities in crime scene science, and to many staff who are former practitioners in crime scene investigation and bring operational experience to the classroom. Our course teaches you to manage the forensic process from start to finish. You develop skills in gathering, recording, evaluating and presenting evidence, as well as understanding the science behind forensic analysis. In addition to preparing you as a crime scene investigator, this course can lead to a range of employment openings, for example as a police intelligence analyst, environmental crime officer and insurance fraud investigator.

Professional accreditation

Skillsmark - Endorsed programme in the justice sector This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Core Skills in Forensic and Scene Science

Knowledge of the degree subject is not the only thing you learn whilst at university and it’s not the only thing that potential employers are looking for after graduation. You develop a range of skills applicable in all walks of life. These include your ability to communicate clearly and effectively to different audiences, verbally and in writing, to make an effective contribution as a member of a team, to work independently or on your own initiative when required, to tackle problems where you don’t have all the necessary knowledge. You learn to locate information and datasets, and assess its usefulness making efficient and effective use of the latest information technologies to communicate your findings. You also learn to assess your own performance – this gives you the chance to recognise and build on your strengths, and identify and improve your weaknesses.

This module is part of a series running throughout your studies – you develop key skills which are assessed through a series of activities where you also learn about key aspects of your chosen subject. This module introduces you, as a science student, to basic principles and good practice in collecting, recording and evaluating data, and using information resources and referencing. You consider the assessment and handling of scientific errors. The module covers a range of basic mathematical skills and introduces you to statistical methods that are essential in a range of scientific endeavour. We emphasise the use of spreadsheets for data recording, presentation and statistical analysis.

Crime Scene Examination

This module provides you with the professional skills required to work as a member of an investigative team dealing with a range of challenging situations. The focus is on developing your psychomotor skills to maximise forensic evidence recovery at a variety of incidents by applying sequential processes. We do this using simulated incidents and practical exercises. You attend a series of lectures and practical sessions. The module is assessed through your portfolio of work including work from practical sessions. At the end of the module you sit a multiple choice examination through the virtual learning environment. The module is designed to meet a number of National Occupational Standards for Crime Scene Investigators.

Crime Scene Photography

This module introduces you to the key skills and theoretical background required of a photographer working in the forensic and crime scene arena. The module is predominantly hands on using industry standard digital photographic equipment to develop your photography and imaging skills. You learn through practical sessions gaining hands-on experience of digital SLR cameras and the key controls needed in photography. Practical sessions are supported by lecture content covering key underpinning theoretical concepts.

Intelligence and Digital Investigation

This module is about group work, investigating a simulated digital intelligence-based case that develops and unfolds. As a group you must work together to discover elements of the case and drive the investigation forward. You are given an intelligence package to work through.

This module is delivered through lectures supported by tutorial and IT laboratory sessions. You need to carry out guided independent study before the intensive week. During that week your group gets the final piece of intelligence and you are required to produce an intelligence briefing. You also carry out self and peer assessment.

Introduction to Forensic Science

You are introduced to the fundamental concepts of forensic science in both a theoretical and practical manner. You are introduced to a range of forensic chemical and biological evidence types including, footwear marks, glass, paint, fibres, fire investigation, drugs, DNA, body fluids and blood pattern analysis and carry out a range of associated practical and tutorial sessions. Additionally you incorporate the requirement to analyse and interpret forensic scientific data.

Legal Foundations for Investigative Sciences

You examine the nature of the law and of the Constitution of the United Kingdom, and explore how the law is formed. You acquire a detailed understanding of the concept of law and the main legal institutions and procedures within which English law operates.

We consider the influence of European Human Rights and the European Union on the legal process, along with the main sources and categories of law. Lectures explain the main principles, but tutorials and seminars form a basis for learning, using examples from the press and other media to show how the topic affects all of society

 

Year 2 core modules

Crime Scene Investigation 1

You build on skills acquired in the modules Crime Scene Examination and Crime Scene Photography in year 1. Using this prior knowledge as a foundation, you increase your knowledge of scene attendance, visual, photographic, forensic and fingerprint examination as well as locating, recording and recovery of physical evidence from crimes scenes, victims and suspects. You develop psychomotor and presentational skills in relation to the role of the crime scene investigator. You also cover material appropriate to National Occupational Standards as well as those laid down by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


Crime Scene Investigation 2

You build on skills acquired in the modules Crime Scene Examination and Crime Scene Photography in year 1. Using this prior knowledge as a foundation, you increase your knowledge of scene attendance, visual, photographic, forensic and fingerprint examination as well as locating, recording and recovery of physical evidence from crimes scenes, victims and suspects. You develop psychomotor and presentational skills in relation to the role of the crime scene investigator. You also cover material appropriate to National Occupational Standards as well as those laid down by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Fingerprints and Footwear Marks

You gain a detailed knowledge of fingerprints and footwear marks and their use in the investigative process. You analyse evidence from relevant and varied sources to make independent judgements on the assessment, comparison, evaluation and verification. This module also gives you an understanding of footwear marks in both an intelligence and evidential context. You gain realistic practical experience of two key investigative roles which are increasingly merging in modern practice. The module is delivered using lectures and practical sessions covering footwear and fingerprint recovery.

Forensic Analytical Techniques

You examine the underpinning principles and practical realisation of a wide range of analytical techniques towards crime scene science and forensic science. Analytical techniques include chromatography, microscopy and spectrometry. Emphasis is placed on the application of the analytical technique towards the investigation of fire scenes, glass fragments, paint analysis, fibres and drugs of abuse.

Methods in Crime Scene Science

You work in teams to solve an open-ended employer-relevant problem. You develop your employability skills – incident management, presenting work, research and forensic awareness to support problem solving in a technical context. You work in small teams and carry out a practical investigative project which is allocated by a supervision team. The project is relevant to crime scene investigation, so you acquire practical knowledge and skills which are important to your academic discipline. The work is largely student-centred, but includes some elements of formal instruction. You also consider practical issues such as health, safety, environment and ethics facing the professional in the workplace.

Science Research Methods and Proposal

You will take this module if you are studying a science degree and complete a hypothesis-driven research project at Level 6 of your degree studies. It is delivered though lectures, tutorials and workshops.

You develop a proposal for your research project, which includes an explanation of the project targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, and details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. The proposal considers academic beneficiaries and economic, environmental and societal impacts. Project costs are estimated on the basis of a full economic costing model. In addition, the proposal is supported by a targeted CV.

A short lecture series at the start of the academic year provides you with an introduction to the module and advice on completing the research proposal documentation, followed by a series of assessment centre-style workshops and tasks which help assign you to a specific research project area and supervisor. These tasks familiarise you with the type of activities you might face during the application, interview and selection procedures.

You must produce a research proposal for your individual project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor to provide feedback on your progress.

For the proposal to be considered you must acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee. Once you are allocated a project you join discipline-based tutorials with other students. Each discipline operates tutorial sessions, which are used to provide academic guidance and support for completing ethical clearance documentation and the proposal. A series of research methodology-based workshops introduce you to various experimental designs and statistical techniques relevant to your discipline. These sessions also demonstrate how you can use software such as Minitab, SPSS and Excel to present and analyse datasets. These workshops help you decide on the design and analysis of the data associated with your project.

The module is assessed by you successfully acquiring ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submitting a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).

 

Final-year core modules

Complex and Organised Crime

This module engages you in the full investigative process from gathering evidence to submitting prosecution reports and appearing in court as a witness. Enforcement agencies increasingly work in a co-operative multidisciplinary manner in real-world situations. This is a group project module, with all students contributing a vital part to the investigative team to produce a final report that would successfully gain a conviction under the relevant legislation. As part of a multidisciplinary group, you use the skills you have learned within your programme to contribute to investigating a crime. This includes using appropriate professional techniques and core competencies to gather and retain physical or electronic evidence, obtain samples, inspect premises, take statements and interview suspects under caution.

Incident Management and Specialist Recovery Techniques

The module considers the common procedures and processes used in investigating major incidents and provides you with detailed knowledge and appropriate practical skills in a range of specialist techniques. You evaluate the appropriateness of scientific procedures, ethical and legal issues and analyse, interpret and evaluate data and intelligence relevant to an investigation. You are involved in a range of specialist practicals where you work as part of an investigative team, managing and processing the scenes yourselves operating under as realistic conditions as possible.

The module allows you to draw intelligence and evidence together from a complex major incident to develop working hypotheses to establish who, what, when, where, why and how elements within the investigation occurred.

You have a series of lectures supported with tutorials to prepare you for some aspects of the practical work and assessments, and to discuss results from the investigation and the subject areas in more depth. A series of practical sessions explore scene examinations and laboratory analysis of exhibits recovered from the scenes.

Science Research Project

You bring together a range of practical and academic skills, developed in previous years of study, to interrogate a particular aspect of your field of study. You specialise in a particular area of science, supported by an appointed research supervisor who will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

You are required to present a poster and abstract at the School’s annual Poster Day event, which is attended by academics of the School, external examiners, and professionals from the region. The poster contributes to your final project mark. Throughout the project you are expected to maintain systematic and reliable records of your research which are reviewed on a regular basis by your supervisor and assessed at the end of the project. You submit your research in the style of a paper which could be submitted to an appropriate scientific journal related to your discipline.

The module is assessed by a poster presentation (20%) and the submission of a journal paper supported by a research diary and/or laboratory notebook (80%).

 

and two optional modules

Analysis and Interpretation of Intelligence

This module enhances your understanding of the functions of an intelligence unit, and the systems and processes used to analyse intelligence. You explore the theoretical models that apply to analysis and develop the cognitive and psychomotor skills required of problem solvers using IT laboratory sessions. You use software packages and datasets, and look at how crime science theory supports problem-orientated policing to define the analyst as the crime expert.

Environmental Protection

This module explores the principles of environmental protection. Environmental protection is distinct from other aspects of law because of the potential impact of any given incident on a large sector of the community, wildlife and habitats.

Environmental protection issues have significant health implications. For example there may be long-term adverse effects on the environment and future generations, effects that go way beyond simple visual blight and loss of amenity. There is also increasing evidence of a connection between local environmental degradation and increasing incidences of environmental and other crimes.

Through keynote lectures, seminars and case studies you develop a critical understanding of national and global environmental protection strategies and the approaches used to investigate the impact of pollutants on the environment and health.

Fire and Collision Investigation

The module covers the underpinning science used to investigate fire and collision scenes. The reliability and validity of current techniques are assessed and considered in the light of investigative and legal requirements.

This module is ideal if you are interested in a career in fire and collision investigation or prevention. It is delivered using a series of lectures supported by seminars and laboratory sessions where you gain hands-on experience of interpreting fire and collision artefacts and scene measurement. Where possible, we use room-scale fire demonstrations as a teaching tool for fire scene investigation.

Fraud, Counterfeit and Fair Trade Investigations

This module takes a detailed analysis and application of the law relating to fraud and intellectual property rights. You examine forms of unfair and illegal practices to draw together the links between some of these activities and serious organised crime. You explore the use of the Proceeds of Crime Act to address financial gain from illegal activities. In addition you consider the impact of licensing laws on enforcing and reducing alcohol-related crimes. Materials are delivered through a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Practical lab-based sessions help you to engage in research-informed learning, exploring topics in greater depth and providing opportunities for formative assessment, reflection and feedback.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You are expected to attend a range of lectures, small-group tutorials and a high number of hands-on practical sessions utilising a full range of crime scene facilities and specialist laboratories. Part of your course also involves a substantial research-based project.

The course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours (lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, projects, examinations), but you are also expected to spend time on your own, called ‘self-study’ time, to review lecture notes, prepare coursework assignments, work on projects and revise for assessments. Each year of full-time study consists of modules totalling 120 credits and each unit of credit corresponds to ten hours of learning and assessment (contact hours plus self-study hours). So, during one year of full-time study you can expect to have 1,200 hours of learning and assessment.

One module in each year of your study involves a compulsory one-week block delivery period. This intensive problem-solving week, provides you with an opportunity to focus your attention on particular problems and enhance your team-working and employability skills.

How you are assessed

Assessments are varied and reflect the module outcomes. There are written assignments, photographic and evidence portfolios, essays, court/case reports, verbal presentations and examinations. You also have the opportunity to present evidence in our on-campus court room.

Support and constructive feedback is provided by academic members of staff to help you improve in all aspects of your learning.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

Work placement

We produce graduates with the problem-solving and leadership skills necessary to forge successful careers.

This programme allows you to spend an optional year - in-between your second year and final year - learning and developing your skills through work experience. You have a dedicated work placement officer and the University's award-winning careers service to help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking. Employers are often invited to our School to meet you and present you with opportunities for work placements.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment. Transferable skills include communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Throughout this programme, you get to know prospective employers and extend your professional network. An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

Career opportunities

Graduate careers can include crime scene investigator, police officer, intelligence analyst, detention officer, or you could seek employment with agencies or government organisations such as the Environment Agency, HM Revenue & Customs, the prison service or local government. Graduates are also well placed to seek careers in the law and education sectors.

Entry requirements

Year 1 entry
If you reside in the UK you may be invited to attend an interview. The purpose of the interview is to help us tailor your offer to your individual circumstances. The interview process also enables us to consider applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and those with non-traditional qualifications, including individuals who may be returning to study after a period of employment.

In addition to your interview, during your visit you will be offered a tour of our fantastic campus, a visit to our laboratory and teaching facilities, and an opportunity to meet our staff. You will learn much more about your course, and the range of scholarships, bursaries and grants you might be eligible for.

If you can't come for an interview we will consider making an offer based on the information you provide in your application form and the typical entry criteria for your course as listed below.

There are no mandatory subjects for entry to Year 1 of this programme. However, you would find it to be advantageous if you had some prior knowledge in any of the following subjects: any life or physical science, law, psychology, or any investigative science (for example, forensic science).

The most common acceptable Level 3 qualifications are (typical minimum grades are shown in brackets):

  • A levels (grades BBC)
  • BTEC Extended Diploma (grade DMM)
  • Access to HE Diploma (with 30 credits awarded at merit or higher)

You are expected to have numeracy and scientific skills equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or higher. If the qualification you are studying is not listed please contact our Admissions Office for advice. We accept many alternative UK and international qualifications.

If your qualifications and grades don't meet the entry requirements for Year 1 entry you can be considered for one of our degree courses with an integrated foundation year. The recommended extended route for this course is BSc (Hons) Crime Scene Science (Extended).

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Guaranteed Place Scheme (for UK/EU students only)

If you have completed Level 3 qualifications (for example AS Levels, BTEC Nationals) and have at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English and Mathematics, you may be eligible for a guaranteed place on an Extended degree course in your chosen subject whilst still working towards meeting the conditions required for a course with higher entry requirements.
Find out more and check your eligibility

Direct entry to later years
Applicants qualified to BTEC Higher National Certificate (HNC) level may request direct entry to Year 2 of their degree, and applicants qualified to BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) level may request entry directly to the final year of their degree. You are required to provide a full detailed transcript of your previous studies with your application to enable us to determine your eligibility for advanced entry.

English language requirement
Entry to a degree programme requires you to have a good command of spoken and written English. An example of an acceptable qualification is GCSE English language at grade 4.

Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides
Pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet the minimum English language requirement.

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


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

Part-time

What is KIS?

How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 years with work placement)

More full-time details

Part-time

  • 6 years if entering in Year 1, 4 years if entering in Year 2

More part-time details

  • Timetable governed - please contact our admissions office
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 738800

Contact details

Further information