Module code: SOC2105

Module Overview

The primary focus of this degree programme is the work undertaken by a range of actors as part of a criminal investigation, from the initial investigation, the collection of evidence, and the subsequent analysis of that evidence, all with the purpose of ultimately identifying those responsible for the crime and securing their prosecution and conviction in court. The courtroom and our adversarial approach to the delivery of justice, however, present a range of challenges situated at the axis of the relationship between science, evidence, law, and procedure.

This module therefore explores the scientific expertise offered by expert witnesses and higher crime scene management aspects of forensic investigations and introduces students to the challenges faced by experts within the courtroom setting. It begins by revising the scientific principles and fundamental understanding acquired in level 4 and will then critically review the crime scene investigation process followed by the techniques used in the analysis of forensic science evidence. It culminates in the interpretation and presentation of evidence in the court room with a focus on developing student awareness, knowledge and interest in roles and careers in the forensic investigation arena.

Module provider


Module Leader

RHODES Claire (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 44

Independent Learning Hours: 210

Laboratory Hours: 16

Practical/Performance Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The indicative content of this module includes:


  • The investigation of serious offenses, encompassing the management of multiple crime scenes

  • Contemporary issues in forensic science and investigations

  • The process of investigation and forensic evidence from crime scene to court

  • Biological evidence analysis and interpretation

  • Trace evidence analysis and interpretation

  • The application of digital investigation methods and the interpretation of digital evidence

  • Advanced fingerprint analysis

  • Specialist forensic investigation methods

  • The role of the expert witness in court

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay 30
Coursework Report 70

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:

Essay (30%): The essay topic will focus on one area of forensic evidence. Students will complete an essay at the midway point of the module which is designed to test the understanding that the students have acquired through the first half of the module.

Report (70%).  Students will complete a Forensic Report based on the Scenario which they have investigated throughout the module.  This will include elements of their crime scene examination, evidence analysis and interpretation of the findings. Students will complete the report at the end of the module which is designed to test the understanding that the students have acquired throughout the module.


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.

Module aims

  • To explore the scientific principles fundamental to forensic investigative practice.
  • To critically examine the techniques and processes of crime scene investigation and forensic science and to establish how they are applied to investigations.
  • To develop an applied understanding of the different types of evidence found at the crime scene and their subsequent treatment in relation to the incident context.
  • To critically evaluate the contemporary landscape of crime scene and forensic science practice and understand its potential and limitations in regards to criminal and non-criminal investigations.
  • To critically evaluate evidence interpretation and how forensic science evidence is used in legal proceedings.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Reflect on the core sciences fundamental to forensic investigations K
002 Examine the current techniques of crime scene processing and forensic science analysis KT
003 Interpret the context of the incident or crime and reflect on good practice methodologies for examining the crime scene and analysing evidence CKPT
004 Compare and contrast the application of scientific methodology in the analysis of evidence CKT
005 Discuss the broader issues prevalent in interpreting forensic science evidence and its application to investigations and legal proceedings. CKT

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:

  •  Allow students to learn in a mutually supportive environment where they can benefit from the input of tutors, peers, and professional guest speakers.

  • Enable students to develop and rehearse knowledge, practical skills, and critical thinking in relation to the presentation and evaluation of forensic and other forms of evidence in a court setting.

  • Engage students with the workings of forensic laboratories and the legal system, with the purpose of reinforcing the significance of properly understanding the wider investigative issues considered in both previous and future modules that comprise the programme.

  • Maximise learning by encouraging students to be actively engaged in decision-making, negotiation, evaluation and interpretation of information, and the application of theory to practice, to address challenges and solve problems commonly faced by practitioners in a forensic investigation.

Having previously learned about how evidence is gathered from a crime scene, in this module students will learn how it is processed, analysed and interpreted in a forensic laboratory and how this information is processed as part of an investigation to be presented in court. To recognise and appreciate the totality of an investigation in terms of reaching its ultimate conclusion, it is important therefore that students understand what subsequently happens to the evidence collected by police and forensic investigators at the scene of a crime, and what role professionals then play in the chain of evidence and the adversarial court setting, where legal rules and procedures apply. 

To achieve this, learning and teaching methods will include workshops, practicals, casework examples, videos, active learning/discussion sessions, professional guest speakers, and online resources. Collectively, these methods will combine guided learning, independent learning, peer review, 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 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. To build confidence 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. Ongoing feedback opportunities from staff and peers will be variously present in seminars and tutorials, 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: SOC2105

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: The content of the module, together with the assessment strategy, will introduce students not only to the types of career options available to graduates within the field, but it will also begin to identify and develop the types of skills required within these careers, as well as in the social sciences more generally. This will also provide the platform to further develop the employability skills and capabilities contained within other modules across the programme.


Global and Cultural Capabilities: The workshops, practicals and elements of the assessment will require students to work collectively. This is intended to help foster a sense of community amongst the cohort from the start of the programme, and to allow students to work together, to reflect, and to share experiences with people from different backgrounds to solve problems and to address new, common challenges. In doing so, students will have the opportunity to broaden their own worldview, perspectives, and to challenge stereotypes, by actively engaging with against a broader spectrum of ideas, experiences, and representations held by others, both through facilitated in-class discussions and as elements of the report assessment.


Digital Capabilities: Students will begin their digital capability journey through the use of SurreyLearn, where they will learn 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.


Resourcefulness and Resilience: Through the workshops students are encouraged to develop their own resourcefulness, capabilities, and problem-solving skills, and in so doing to grow their confidence, self-efficacy, and resilience.  Students will be encouraged to self-reflect and to recognize and address learning challenges through engagement with a range of methods, techniques, and resources, all within a mutually supportive environment. The assessment will encourage collective working, peer support, leadership, contribution to constructive dialogue, and mutually beneficial learning.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long 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.