Module code: SOC3086

Module Overview

This final-year module directly builds upon knowledge and skills acquired from the first and second years of the programme and progresses the learning journey by immersing students in the management of criminal and forensic investigations relating to major crime. Whilst the Level Five Criminal and Forensic Investigation module focused on volume crime, where evidence types are fewer and investigative resources are necessarily limited, this Level Six module concentrates on the more complex management and investigation processes associated with more serious types of crime. In particular, there is a focus on the roles, responsibilities, and decision-making of the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), the Senior Crime Scene Investigator (SCSI), and the Forensic Management Team when conducting major crime enquiries, and on the challenges associated with multiple evidence types and different evidence providers in relation to building a case for presentation at court.

Module provider


Module Leader

HALL Nathan (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 5

Practical/Performance Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content for this module includes: 

  • The historical, social, legal, and ethical contexts of major crime investigation

  • The roles and responsibilities of key actors within the management of major crime investigations

  • The management, strategic planning, and decision-making processes associated with the three recognised phases of a criminal investigation - Phase One: Instigation and initial response; Phase Two: Investigation; Phase Three: Case management

  • The management of multiple types, and sources, of evidence and the implications for the preparation of case files appropriate for court

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Strategic Plan 40
Practical based assessment Crime scene investigation, management, and collection and documentation of multiple evidence types 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:

  • Strategic Management Plan (40%): Students will write a strategic management plan critically addressing issues that need to be considered, and decisions to be taken, when managing the different aspects of a major crime investigation

  • Identification, collection, and documentation of multiple evidence types from a simulated major crime scene (60%): In small groups, students will form an investigative team, assigning roles as appropriate, to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired in this module to manage a simulated major crime scene, identify and collect multiple evidence types, and justify their decision-making through the use of an authentic police decision-log

Why are we doing this?

The assessment strategy is designed to balance issues relating to theory (via a written Strategic management Plan) and procedure and practice (via a practice-based assessment) to provide students with a holistic approach to testing their knowledge and skills in relation to major crime investigation. It is further designed to allow students to develop and test their knowledge and their skills in a manner that not only enhances their understanding of the topic, but also allows them to situate it within the wider context of the subject area (e.g. the collection of multiple evidence types, before it is analysed and ultimately presented in court), thereby contributing to the coherency of their learning journey.

The assessment strategy also allows for assessment to take place in a supportive context through collaborative work with outcomes that serve to illustrate the relationship between those managing and those conducting major crime investigations. This will enhance the student learning journey and allow students to understand the totality of the management and practice of crime investigation more holistically. The assessment strategy is further designed to allow students to test their performance in relation to the management and decision-making associated with authentic investigative scenarios.

All aspects of the assessment strategy further allow students to receive feedback from expert staff.

Formative assessment

Informal formative assessment is conducted throughout the module during seminars and 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 tutorials.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to the principles and processes of criminal and forensic investigation in relation to major crime
  • Allow students to understand and engage with the theoretical, procedural, and practical aspects of the three recognised phases of a criminal investigation in relation to major crime, building on those skills acquired in Level Five in relation to volume crime
  • Facilitate a critical understanding of the management of resources and strategic planning required to address complex crime problems
  • To further develop resourcefulness and resilience amongst students through engagement with real-world crime simulations
  • Equip students with practical investigative management skills that will enhance their employability

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Give a critical account of the theory, practice, and strategy of criminal and forensic investigation in relation to major crime (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) CK
002 Understand the practical, legal, and ethical complexities associated with the management and strategic planning of major crime investigations (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) KP
003 Explain, justify, and undertake the core tasks associated with the management and strategic planning of each of the three phases of a major criminal investigation (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) KPT
004 Exhibit appropriate decision-making in relation to the use and value of multiple evidence types (through class activities and module assessments) CKPT
005 Demonstrate adaptability, resourcefulness, listening and negotiation skills, leadership, and the ability to share ideas and support others to successfully undertake the assessment tasks associated with the module (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) CT

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 and rehearse knowledge, practical skills, critical thinking, and the ability to challenge assumptions, in relation to the management and investigation of major crime.

  • Allow students to work individually and collectively to achieve outcomes that mirror those common in real world major crime investigation scenarios, thereby building upon knowledge and skills acquired in previous Level Five modules to enhance and consolidate their individual and collective learning journey.

  • To maximise learning and enhance resourcefulness and resilience by encouraging students to be actively engaged in leadership, decision-making, negotiation, evaluation of information, the challenging of assumptions, and the application of theory to practice, to address challenges and solve problems commonly faced by practitioners.

Students will learn the principles, processes, and procedures associated with the management and planning of criminal investigation in relation to major crime. In contrast to volume crime (the subject of the Level Five Criminal and Forensic Investigation module), the investigation of major crime involves extensive management, complex decision-making, the allocation of considerable resources, and the need to engage with multiple and competing sources of evidence, and professional relationships with different actors, culminating in the construction of a case appropriate for presentation at court.

This module will both build upon student learning in previous modules and help to prepare them for later modules, thereby ensuring coherency and consistency in the student journey. Furthermore, the learning and teaching strategy is designed to develop students¿ confidence and competence in working with others, leadership, teamwork, decision-making, risk assessment, the management and documentation of competing sources of information, critical thinking and reasoning, the challenging of assumptions, communication skills, employability, and professionalism.

To achieve this, learning and teaching methods will include lectures, seminars, casework examples, videos, active learning/discussion sessions, and online resources, as well as practical activities in the crime scene space designed to replicate real-world major crime investigative scenarios.

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 seminars 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.

The learning and teaching strategy will further combine theory and practice with hands-on experience provided through practical sessions utilising the crime scene space and will provide supported preparation for relevant assignments. Students will also be able to integrate their learning from previous modules and carry their learning from this module into future ones, for example those relating to law and the presentation of evidence, volume crime investigation, crime scene investigation, and criminology and psychology, as a deliberate part of a clear learning journey.

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: SOC3086

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: this module allows students to both understand, and actively participate in, a range of principles and processes used within criminal investigation, as well as their active management. Coupled with the development of critical thinking, reasoning, decision-making, assumption challenging, collaboration, leadership, and other transferable skills, the module allows students acquire and practice attributes that will be attractive to employers in this field. The focus of the assessment strategy will help to prepare students for the realities of the world of work because it allows them to be familiar with how major crime investigations are managed and delivered.

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. The second assessment in particular will also require students to collect, collate, share, and document information digitally, thereby introducing them to new digital capabilities that they will likely also encounter later in their learning journey.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Aspects of the learning, teaching, and assessment strategy 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 a broader spectrum of ideas, experiences, and representations held by others, both through facilitated in-class discussions and elements of assessment.

Sustainability: This module concerns itself, in considerable part, with the activities undertaken by criminal justice agencies (in particular, the police) and their employees. As such, through the learning, teaching and assessment activities, students will have the opportunity to critically reflect on issues aligned with aspects of Goal 16 of the Sustainable Goals of the United Nations, namely, to provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The assessment strategy, and indeed the in-class preparation that precedes it, is designed to challenge and stretch student capabilities. It is also one where students understand the roles and perspectives of senior crime scene investigators and senior police investigators as managers and decision-makers, both individually and collectively as a cohort, and latterly by experiencing these roles within smaller groups for their second assessment. Students will therefore need to exhibit resourcefulness, be able to share ideas and experiences both individually and collectively, appreciate potential barriers and challenges faced by others, and provide support and show empathy towards each other in working towards achieving successful outcomes and responding to problem-based task requirements.

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

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 2025/6 academic year.