Module code: SOC1042

Module Overview

This module is intended to introduce students to some basic principles of forensic investigation

Module provider


Module Leader

SEARS Patrick (Chst Chm Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 100

Lecture Hours: 2

Seminar Hours: 20

Laboratory Hours: 3

Captured Content: 25

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The indicative content of the module is:

  • What is forensic science? Locard’s Principle; The nature of forensic evidence, forensic science categories. The history of forensic science and its place in modern society. When is forensic science needed?

  • Providers of forensic science: LGC, DSTL, independent practitioners

  • Introduction to the law; types of offences, CPS, types of course, statements and presentation of forensic evidence

  • Crime scene investigation, the nature of a crime scene, zoning and crime scene management, collection protection and documenting of evidence

  • Trace and contact evidence. Direct and circumstantial evidence, physical and biological evidence

  • Fingerprint evidence

  • General examination methods (blood, firearms, explosives)

  • Document, ink and handwriting examination, 

  • Post-mortem interval and identification of human remains, 

  • Introduction to forensic pathology

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CSI field day group report 15
Coursework CSI field day individual report 10
Examination MCQ in class 1.5 hour exam 75

Alternative Assessment

CSI day resit: Essay on crime scene collection procedures

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to assess whether students meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • MCQ final examination

  • Group and individual CSI field day write up

Formative assessment

Multiple choice test questions during revision lecture and both MCQ and discussion questions throughout seminar sessions


Discussion sessions; practice exam questions.  Feedback from CSI day will be provided to assist in study for final examination.

Module aims

  • To introduce organisational and legal aspects of forensic science.
  • To engage with applied forensic methods associated with searching and recovery of items of evidence.
  • To introduce policies, procedures and protocols associated with accreditation of laboratories and expert witnesses
  • To consider the practical limitations of forensic evidence

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate knowledge of organisational and legal aspects of forensic evidence;
2 Give an account of procedures followed at the scene of a crime and of the types of physical evidence;
3  Demonstrate knowledge of crime scene management;
4 Demonstrate recording of a crime scene;
5 Give an account of procedures followed at the scene of a crime and of the types of physical evidence;
6 Demonstrate critical understanding of the potential utility and problems of forensic evidence.

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

This module will use a range of different teaching methods.

  • This module will be presented using flipped learning where lecture content will be provided by pre-recorded videos. 

  • Classroom based workshops will be used to provide face to face contact, discuss application of study content and to consider how the identification, analysis and evaluation of evidence impacts on the investigation of crime. 

  • Practical workshops will provide opportunity for students to see and experience some of the techniques discussed in the module content.

  • A “CSI Day” will be used to help learners understand the overall context of forensic investigation.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1042

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.