Module code: SOC3087

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to give students a detailed knowledge of specific topics within forensic investigation. In this final year module, the implications of DNA, fingerprints, toxicology, body fluids and forensic toxicology evidence is dealt with in the context of a forensic investigation. Casework examples are used to give students a broad understanding of how data is interpreted. This module demonstrates the application of relevant techniques to forensic casework and how evidence of these types is presented in within the criminal justice system.

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: 11

Guided Learning: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module examines contemporary forensic investigation issues, including:

  • DNA analysis

  • Mass Spectrometry

  • Fingerprint Evidence

  • Forensic Toxicology

  • Body Fluid Analysis

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Presentation 30
Coursework Cold Forensic Investigation 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:

  • Presentation of a criminal case (30%). Students will be required to deliver a peer-assessed presentation that considers a particular case that has been subject to cold forensic investigation.

  • Coursework: Cold Forensic Investigation Review (70%). Students will review a cold forensic investigation for the implications of DNA, Toxicology, Fingerprint, or similar evidence and produce a case assessment that will critically examine the application of forensic evidence within that case.

Why are we doing this?

The assessment strategy is 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, thereby contributing to the coherency of their learning journey. The module therefore builds upon learning (and feedback) acquired in previous modules and the assessments contain valuable employability components and test a range of transferable skills.

The assessment strategy also allows for assessment to take place in a supportive context through a presentation that is peer assessed. Such an approach contributes to the development of students as independent learners by empowering them to self-evaluate, and reflect on, their own performance in relation to others.

Away from peer assessment, other elements of the assessment strategy allow students to test their performance in relation to 'real-life' crime investigation scenarios and authentic documentation production. The second assessment artefact allows students to reflect on the investigation of a real-life crime case and to review that case for the application of forensic science techniques. This will allow students to understand, evaluate, and critically examine the use and application of different techniques by professional investigators, and to reflect on their learning from previous modules in relation to investigative practices, evidence collection, and the requirements of criminal law.

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 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

  • To demonstrate understanding of the scale, scope and application of DNA analysis within the criminal justice system.
  • To examine the scope and background of forensic investigation of body fluids and other biological material.
  • To give a detailed account of the approaches to fingerprint / fingermark development
  • To outline the scope of forensic toxicology

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Give a critical account of the theory and practice of various techniques used in a biomedical laboratory (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) CK
002 Provide evidence of knowledge of the chemistry of body fluids and the value of evidence gathered from such specimens (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) KP
003 Demonstrate the application, advantages, and limitations of DNA evidence within a criminal investigation (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) CK
004 Evaluate methods used to detect drugs and poisons and review the role played by forensic toxicology in forensic investigation (through class discussions, activities, and module assessments) CKP

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:

  • Provide students with a critical understanding of current forensic evidence practices as they apply to crime investigation.

  • Provide students with a detailed understanding of, and a critical appreciation for, biological evidence and its analysis.

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

Students will learn about a range of contemporary forensic science topics and how they apply to crime investigation. In doing so, students will learn how and why different forms of evidence are utilised, and how these fit within the wider context of criminal investigation practices. They will also learn how to review cold forensic investigations, understand different forms of evidence, and recognise how these are analysed. The learning and teaching strategy will combine theory and practice with hands-on experience provided through practical sessions utilizing the crime scene space and supported preparation for relevant assignments.

Students will also be able to integrate their learning from previous modules, for example those relating to crime investigation and the law, 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, digital capabilities, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, employability, and professionalism.

To achieve the above, this module will include a range of teaching methods including standard face to face lectures, including sessions from guest speakers. It will also include practical sessions in the crime scene space, flipped learning with seminars to support the video content, with exercises, questions, and recap to provide a pedagogically robust learning experience.

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.

In order 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: SOC3087

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 area:

Employability: This module allows students to develop their understanding of the latest topics within forensic science, as they apply to crime investigation. Given that this is the final 'forensic-specific' module of the programme, students will leave in possession of the latest and best available information relating to their subject area, a proportion of which will have been delivered by external speakers, giving students direct access to professionals currently working in the field and thereby supporting their future career planning for roles in forensic investigation. This will hold clear benefits in relation to their employability as they approach the end of their degree. Coupled with the development of critical thinking, reasoning, decision-making, collaboration, self-reflection and evaluation, the ability to evaluate established evidential techniques, and other transferable skills, the module allows students to further practice wider 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 different types of forensic evidence are utilised into the wider context of crime investigation, and to conduct their own review of previous professional practice.

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.