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Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Investigation

Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Investigation


Study level
Part time
1 year
Faculty of Social Science

Course Overview

The Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Investigation professional certificate course will immerse you in the law enforcement and forensic investigative processes using state-of-the-art technology, giving you valuable practical insight into real-life criminal investigations.

This short introductory course consists of four modules that build off one another, taking you through the entirety of crime scene investigation in a logical and intelligible sequence. Beginning at the point of criminal activity and the scene of the crime, the course will guide you through the investigative process of suspect identification, arrest, interview, and providing expert witness testimony in court. Through the use of an immersive learning environment, you will be able to translate these theoretical principles to a range of real-world scenarios, giving you keen insight into the practical underpinnings of the investigative process. From this virtual world you will gain an awareness of the natural progress of criminal investigation, including the steps and communication strategies involved in each phase. 

This professional certificate is ideal for anyone who would like to pursue a degree but is currently unable to do so. By taking this course, you’ll have the chance to build up credits to ultimately gain a full degree if you wish to do so in the future. The flexible structure of the course gives you the opportunity to balance working full time while maintaining the study schedule that best suits your needs. If you already work in law enforcement and would like to supplement your knowledge of the investigative process, completing this course provides you with a qualification that could enhance your career prospects in the field.

After completing this course, you will have gained 80 credits at level 4 and will be able to continue at Arden with a professional certificate in Forensic and Criminal Investigation. 

*this course is subject to validation

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Course details and modules

Your four course modules will introduce you to forensic and criminal investigation, police custody, and  being an expert witness at Crown Court. You will learn the theoretical and practical underpinnings of the entire investigative process, from arrest to conviction, giving you a first-hand look into real-life criminal investigation, and how the various personnel involved work together to achieve their common goal of apprehending and charging a criminal offender.

In addition to imparting academic knowledge in the field, your modules will demonstrate the professional aspects of work as an investigator through the rigorous processes and procedures that need to be adhered to, including interview and complaint protocols and appropriate courtroom communication.

Bettina Finna

Arden is for winners. Nobody will beg you to sit down and start working on your career, if you don’t do it yourself! At Arden, if you have an honest interest for what you learn and you want to reach out for more, you will be welcomed, helped, and advised. But to do that, you must be determined.

Bettina Finna
BSc (Hons) Psychology


  • Module 1: Introduction to forensic investigation (20 credits)
  • Module 2: Expert Witnesses: An Introduction (20 credits)
  • Module 3: Police Custody (20 credits)
  • Module 4: Introduction to the criminal justice system (20 credits)

The course will integrate a variety of assessments throughout each module, both formative and summative. The formative assessments will incorporate quizzes, reflective questions, and end of topic tests, while the summative will join together traditional assignments and reports with practical assessments in the virtual world. The assessments aim to replicate the reports, interviews and observations that would be conducted as part of real-life forensic and criminal investigations. 

Study options


This course is currently available to students as a fully online programme, which gives you the convenience of being able to study from anywhere worldwide.

Ornella Russo

I chose online learning because it suited my lifestyle and work schedule. Being able to access the online portal and libraries 24/7 has been extremely helpful for me to be able to keep up with my studies. Studying while working isn’t the easiest thing to do, but Arden gives you the support you need.

Ornella Russo
BA (Hons) Law & Psychology

Online learning

How does it work?

Studying the Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Investigation with Arden gives you the ultimate in convenience. You can enrol with Arden from anywhere in the world and study your degree from the comfort of home, without the requirement to attend classes in a physical location. 
Our online students study their degree through ilearn, Arden’s university campus in the cloud.  ilearn provides everything you need to study at University. It offers an integrated virtual learning experience, including your virtual classroom, lecture theatre, and online library (which when used along with our supplementary library, Perlego, gives you access to almost half a million books and journals – yours for free while you study with us).

 ilearn is also integrated with Zoom, making it easier to chat with your course tutor during your scheduled seminar sessions. You can even integrate our study materials into your Kindle, making it possible to study wherever you have you Kindle handy.

Studying online with Arden University doesn’t mean studying alone. As well as receiving regular feedback and guidance from your course tutor, you’ll be studying with like-minded students who you can meet with through our Unitu community, and you’ll have access to community message boards to discuss your course and the topics being raised within it. We’ve even set up community boards embedded into each of the course modules so you can have discussions with your tutor and classmates on the topics you’re currently learning. 

Learn more about online learning

Entry requirements

At Arden University we consider applications on a case by case basis. If you have significant work experience, have qualifications you have gained elsewhere, or a degree or qualification that isn't a clear pathway to this degree - we are more than happy to discuss your application.

What do you need to study with us? 

Our aim is to make learning as accessible as possible by ensuring that you can join us, wherever you are.

That's why we keep our requirements simple. All you need is a laptop or computer (we recommend one running the latest version of Windows), and a good stable internet connection.

With this one tool, you'll be able to access information, advice, support, learning materials and our online library, as well as create assignments, keep notes, and collaborate with other students effectively.


To be eligible for the Introduction to Forensic Criminal Investigation professional certificate, you should normally have:

  • Completion of a level 3 qualification, such as A levels or equivalent

English proficiency

  • GSCE English a minimum of grade 4 or equivalent

Alternatively, evidence you have previously studied in English, such as a letter to show that the Medium of Instruction was in English, can be accepted

We also offer an internal English test for applicants who are unable to provide the above evidence of English proficiency. More information can be found here.

Before you start studying

Whilst you can read your study materials on your smart phone or tablet, to make the most of your learning experience, you will need access to a laptop or computer (we recommend one running the latest version of Windows), and a good stable internet connection.

Course fees and funding

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Use the dropdown above to find course fees and funding information for your country. If you can’t find information for your country in the dropdown, visit our International support page.

Meet the faculty

Gail Steptoe-Warren

Arden’s psychology and social science degrees are designed to explore human behaviours across diverse areas of psychology and social science such as criminology, sociology, and criminal justice. These courses provide you with a range of transferable skills that are valued by employers from a wide range of industries. Our Psychology online courses are accredited by The British Psychological Society, which means they are internationally recognised. I look forward to welcoming you to the Arden University family.

Gail Steptoe-Warren
Head of School, Psychology and Social Sciences

Career prospects

Our Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Investigation is designed for people who are interested in a career as a police community support officer, an intelligence analyst, civilian detention officer or civilian investigation officer. The programme will provide you with the foundations to continue on with further study and for future work in the field policing and criminal investigation. 

What will I gain from this degree?

The Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Investigation professional certificate will give you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in the field through:

  • Gaining the theoretical and practical knowledge required to undertake a criminal investigation
  • Using virtual reality technology to learn the ins and outs of the investigative process
  • Exploring the various techniques used for preserving, collecting, and recording evidence
  • Learning the legal frameworks around securing a successful charge conviction
  • Recognising the powers and procedures that must be upheld during police custody
  • Gaining insight into the court system, including courtroom hierarchy, terminology, and language

What can I do after Arden University?

Your Introduction to Forensic and Criminal Investigation qualification will support your academic or career development in a number of ways. Here are just a few of the roles graduates may want to explore further:

  • Police Community Support Officer
  • Crime and intelligence analyst
  • Civilian detention officer
  • Civilian investigation officer

Industry skills

Career Development Resources

Career development resources

Once you’ve enrolled with Arden, our careers centre is easily accessible directly from inside our online platform, ilearn. The careers centre is here to help you discover the areas of your academic and professional life that you find most meaningful and rewarding, and then apply this to your career pathway. 
Just a few of the career tools you’ll find in the careers centre include:

  • CV360, which analyses your CV and provides instant feedback for improvement
  • Interview360, helping you practise your interview technique in a stress-free environment and tackle some of the most common interview questions - as many times as you need to
  • Aptitude tests to help your improve your critical thinking, numeric, and logical reasoning skills
  • 100s of interactive courses focused on giving you the skills and confidence you need to excel in your professional life. 
  • My Jobs, where you can search employment vacancies, browse employer profiles by location and, or connect with other employees on LinkedIn.