Module code: SOC1056

Module Overview

This module introduces students to Forensic Criminology, which examines the intersections of criminology, forensic science, the penal system, and criminal investigation. The disciplines of criminology (broadly, the explanation and understanding of crime, criminals, and criminal justice institutions) and forensic science (knowledge produced to assist those working within the penal system to do their job more effectively) have long been separate entities, with different aims, objectives, approaches, and epistemologies (the philosophical study of knowledge). More recently, however, these two disciplines have begun to merge closer together in an attempt to provide a more complete and robust understanding of crime and criminality.

Module provider


Module Leader

RHODES Claire (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 11

Independent Learning Hours: 96

Lecture Hours: 11

Practical/Performance Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module examines a range of issues pertaining to forensic criminology, including:

  • The historical development of criminology and forensic science

  • Competing epistemological perspectives

  • The origins of criminal investigation and forensic investigation

  • Contemporary forensic practices

  • The role of ‘experts’ in the criminal justice system

  • Problematic issues within forensic investigation

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test Online multiple-choice test (1h in 24h window) 40
Coursework Essay 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate that they have successfully met the learning outcomes of the module.


  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Online multiple-choice test (40%): students will undertake a multiple-choice online test at the midway point of the module, designed to test the understanding that students have acquired throughout the first half of the module. The test will comprise of 30 questions and students will have 1 hour in a 24 hour window in which to complete the test.

  • Essay (60%): students will complete an essay, selecting from a range of questions, designed to test the understanding that students have acquired throughout the second half of the module.


Why are we doing this?

The assessment strategy is designed to test students’ knowledge and skills in what might be considered more traditional methods of assessment. Other modules that students will be studying both prior to, and alongside, this one make use of a variety of innovative assessment approaches. It is important, therefore, that students also have the opportunity to engage with more traditional approaches to knowledge testing at this stage of their learning journey. This is intended to further equip students with a range of academic and other transferable skills, and to allow them to practice the skills acquired through the Semester One Skills for Forensic Investigators module. All aspects of the assessment strategy further allow students to receive feedback from expert staff.


Formative Assessment & Feedback


Informal formative assessment is conducted throughout the module during workshops where students have the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities and to receive both peer and tutor feedback, with the aim of allowing students to assess their progress week by week.


Feedback and feedforward on summative assignments will be provided via SurreyLearn. This will indicate what students did well, less well, and what they need to do to improve in the future and will relate both to issues specific to the module and to transferable skills. Formative feedback will be provided throughout the module within in-class discussions and activities, and office hours.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to the subject of forensic criminology and its component parts
  • Bridge the intellectual gap between 'soft' criminology and 'hard' forensic science, thereby providing a more holistic learning journey for students in their first year by allowing them to appreciate the breath of the subject area by understanding its component parts
  • Allow students to appreciate the limitations of viewing criminality within disciplinary silos
  • Set the foundations for a more complete understanding of both the theoretical and practical components of future modules within the programme

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe the historical development, evolution, and main contributions of criminology and forensic science to understandings of criminality (through class discussions and module assessment) K
002 Discuss the importance of competing epistemologies in shaping the disciplines of criminology and forensic science and their impact on contributions to understanding criminality (through class discussions) KC
003 Understand the principles of contemporary forensic practices and the role of experts in the field, whilst simultaneously introducing students to future employment avenues and aspects of resourcefulness and resilience (through class discussions and module assessment) KPT
004 Reflect on the range of problematic issues that exist within the field of forensic criminology (through class discussions and module assessment) KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


  • Enable students to develop knowledge and critical thinking through the bridging of criminology and forensic science to provide more holistic explanations of, and solutions to, crime problems

  • To maximise learning by encouraging students to be actively engaged in the evaluation of information and the application of theory to practice to address challenges and solve problems faced by practitioners.

  • Maximise student learning by engaging students with different learning backgrounds (including through learning from each other) and maximising their learning by drawing on their own experiences and contributions to group discussions.

  • Introduce students of subject-specific career options through the discussion of a range of expert roles

To achieve this, learning and teaching methods will include lectures, workshops, practical classes, casework examples, videos, active learning/discussion sessions, and enhancing digital capabilities using online resources. Collectively, these methods will combine guided learning, independent learning, and self-reflection.

The lectures will introduce and explain key concepts, theories, and core aspects of the practical application of the issues discussed. The workshops and practicals will provide students with the opportunity to be active participants in their learning experience by undertaking interactive exercises and group discussions, demonstrating their acquired understanding and knowledge, critical thinking, and communication skills, and enhancing employability and confidence through the development of resourcefulness and resilience.

In order to build confidence, develop understanding of global and culture contexts, and to engage students with diverse learning backgrounds, students will be encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas, and reflections, including those relating to their own experiences.

Students will also begin to integrate their learning from semester one modules that necessarily introduce criminology and forensic science as separate entities, and reference will be made to the links with future level 5 modules so that the consistency of the learning journey is clear. This will therefore help to prepare students for learning in their level 5 modules. Ongoing feedback opportunities from staff and peers will be variously present in the workshop, office hours, and online.

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: SOC1056

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework 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: In addition to the further development of the transferable skills acquired from the learning and teaching and assessment strategies, this module introduces students to specific professional roles within the fields of criminology, forensic science, and forensic criminology. As such, students will, as part of their studies for this module, have the opportunity to explore a range of potential future career paths, and begin to make informed choices regarding their personal learning journey through the degree programme.


Digital Capabilities: Students will continue developing their digital capabilities through the use of SurreyLearn, where they will continue to navigate and utilise the VLE for multiple aspects of the module online provision. Students will also utilise Microsoft Teams as a means of communication and collaboration and engage with other online platforms and databases to enhance their academic research skills. The first assessment will also require students to undertake an online test, thereby introducing them to a method of assessment that they will likely encounter later in their learning journey.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 2 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.