Module code: SOC1042

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to give students a fundamental understanding of the conceptual frameworks underpinning forensic science. In this first-year module a very wide array of evidence types are covered. Casework examples are used to give students a broad understanding of how forensic evidence is retrieved, packaged, analysed and reported in court. This module interacts with material that students are taught through analytical chemistry modules and demonstrates the application of relevant techniques to forensic casework.

This module supports further learning across a number of criminology modules.

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: 81

Lecture Hours: 2

Seminar Hours: 20

Laboratory Hours: 3

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 22

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 Field day group report: An essay of 1500 words on a specific aspect of crime scene management.
  • CSI Field day individual report: An essay of 1000 words on a specific aspect of evidence management and recovery.

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:

  • Group CSI field day write up.  The group write-up will allow students to collaborate to complete a forensic investigation.  This will present students with an unknown situation requiring them to follow an established procedure to complete the investigation of the scene and then work together to complete a group report.

  • Individual CSI field day assessment.  This will allow students to explore the practical implications of the theory discussed in seminars / captured content.

  • MCQ final examination.  Students will complete an MCQ  assessment under exam conditions covering the full range of material discussed in lectures and seminars.  

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
001 Demonstrate knowledge of organisational, accreditation and legal aspects of forensic evidence; KC
002 Give an account of procedures followed at the scene of a crime and of the types of physical evidence; KPT
003  Demonstrate knowledge of crime scene management and the recording of a crime scene KPT
004 Demonstrate critical understanding of the potential utility and problems of forensic evidence. KC

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 (Captured Content/Guided Learning). 

  • After the first introductory lecture, classroom based seminars 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. Activity based learning will be included within these sessions to provide practical demonstration of the content.

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

  • A “CSI Day” (Laboratory) 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

Other information

The department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: This module allows students to start developing an understanding of forensic science, though crime investigation. Transferable skills will be addressed throughout the module with forensic science supporting analytical chemistry and vice versa. The use of realistic crime scenes within assessment strategy will introduce students to the potential challenges of the workplace and professional practice.

Resourcefulness and resilience:  Group work exercises will help students to develop their critical thinking, reasoning, decision-making, and collaboration skills. The use of realistic crime scenes will help students to understand the challenges of forensic investigation and allow innovative approaches (within the allowable context).

Digital skills: A range of challenges will be presented to students throughout the course to promote the development of digital skills.  Students will be required to produce a forensic report bringing together evidence from a range of sources which need to be coherent within a group report.  

Weekly lectures will presented in a flipped ‘digital’ format with weekly face to face classes building on that content through online quizzes, crime scene investigation exercises and other digital content.  

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.