Criminal Investigation and Policing Studies BA (Hons) Modules

The programme follows the criminal investigation pathway:

Criminal Investigation - will prepare you to become an investigator in the police service or private sector, employed as an investigator - such as an intelligence officer, including in other law enforcement or regulatory agencies.

First year

  • The Profession of Policing and Investigation - explores the origins and different approaches to policing before moving on to study decision-making in operational policing, public order policing and criminal investigation 
  • Studying at University – this module examines the skills required to study at University. Research skills, academic writing and theoretical knowledge and understanding will be developed to the level required.
  • Journey through Justice - examines the roles of the various agencies that constitute to the criminal justice system, their relationship and impact upon offenders, victims and society
  • Principles of Social Research - explores the field of criminology and social sciences, including its emergence as one of the dominant fields within the field of applied social sciences.

In the second year, all students study the following modules and select one of the electives illustrated below.

Second Year

  • Investigative Management and Leadership (I) - this module develops throughout the final two years and examine concepts, debates and decision-making around topical areas within four themes; theory and context, volume crime, forensic science, and major enquiries.  Decision-making, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills will be explored and developed throughout this module to provide an effective and efficient investigative mindset.
  • Leadership and Management of Contemporary Issues in Policing (I) - these are linked modules that develop throughout the final two years and examine concepts, debates and decision-making around topical areas within four themes; policing 21st century UK, policing vulnerable groups, doing policing and microscope on policing
  • Research and Ethics (15 credits) - this is a preparatory module for the final year dissertation and studies the identification of research questions, research strategy, various research methods and research ethics with particular regard to conducting research into the police and the criminal justice system
  • Researching Justice Journey (30 credits) – this provides knowledge and understanding of research and explores a diverse range of theory and research methodologies.


Choose one Elective - options currently include:

  • Domestic Violence and Abuse - This module considers the changing social, political and legal recognition of domestic violence and abuse and its impact. Students are encouraged to engage in an examination of the varying context, nature, signs, triggers and impact of domestic violence and abuse. The module highlights social and health care responsibilities as well as developments within the criminal justice sector, and legal and civil proceedings frameworks. Students will be required to compare and contrast the various responses to domestic violence abuse which have emerged both in terms of working with victims and perpetrators as part of the emerging best practice debate, including multi agency frameworks such as MARAC. Key concepts such as support, safety, empowerment and resolution are revisited throughout the module. 
  • Animals and Criminology – This module covers the different ways in which animals are the topic of criminological examination. Students will be introduced to a broad range of topic areas such as animal abuse, wildlife trafficking, conservation, and animal advocacy and will critically explore if and what harm to animals drawing from research from subjects including criminology, sociology, law, and philosophy.
  • Children and the Criminal Justice System – this module presents academic research, knowledge and understanding in an accessible way that better equips students to explore and discuss contemporary issues for children and the criminal justice system, across community and custody contexts.
  • Genocides, Mass Atrocities and Hate Crime –This module explores a range of genocides and mass atrocities (where genocidal type actions have taken place but have not been legally defined as genocide, or where killings have taken place along identity-based cleavages.) Students will understand the issues around defining genocide and in establishing what is and isn’t a genocide, and what this means in terms of prevention, intervention and justice. They will examine theoretical frameworks underpinning genocides, mass atrocities and hate crime, learning how to analyse genocides and mass atrocities through a criminology lens. Students will develop the skills to explain complex events accurately and concisely, whilst avoiding oversimplification. The module will also enable students to understand the underlying societal, political and legal movements and frameworks at macro and meso level that enable genocides and mass atrocities to take place, and to connect these to meso and micro level hate crime.
  • Introduction to Probation – This module explores what is probation and where it sits within the wider criminal justice system and justice journey’s. From here, students will discover the aims and objectives of the probation service, organisational structures, and the roles it plays in rehabilitation, risk management and the protection of the public. Students will then reflect on the tensions and debates on the values and ethics of the organization. In turn, students will explore how these values and ethics can and do impact how probation works in practice. Students will understand the historical context of probation as well as current developments to appraise concepts of effective practice including what works and desistance. Students will then identify critiques of inter-agency working including benefits and challenges. Finally, the overall module will consistently address concepts of power, diversity, and discrimination as it relates to effective probation practice
  • Restorative Justice in Practice - This module will be relevant to students interested in working with offenders and/or victims in a community justice setting. This module will explore the various origins and applications of Restorative Justice and the critical theoretical analysis which has followed.  Whilst some focus will be on the application and impact of restorative process on victims, students will additionally be encouraged to consider the key values of offender rehabilitation and theory in the context of modern criminal justice systems that put victims’ needs at the center. An emphasis will be on a practical approach to these skills to support both victim and offender.  An exploration of how the rights and needs of victims, communities and offenders are identified and addressed will be a central tenant of the module learning, as will the examination of the key skills required by RJ facilitators, offender managers and victim case workers. 
  • Drugs, Crime and Society - This module will explore the relationship between alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and crime.  The overall aim of the module is to provide students with an understanding of how UK and international drug policy, localised drug usage and the international trade in both legal and illegal drugs are related. The module is divided into three core sections. The first will explore AODs in context - the socio-cultural history of AODs and the ways in which AODs have been used historically, by different societies and cultures.  In addition, this first section will traverse the geopolitical landscape, to understand the ways in which ideological, global forces have shaped the contemporary alcohol industry and (licit and illicit) drug trade.  The second section will explore AOD use theory, (E.g., critical theories, functional theories, normalisation theory, drug binaries, medical perspectives, etc) and will cover important AOD policy.  Specifically, policy in relation to the regulation and criminalisation of certain drugs in the UK and the subsequent ways in which such policies, have come to shape the ways in which society perceives AOD users (E.g., myths, stigmatisation, negative stereotypes) and indeed, AOD associated criminality.  The third section will look at the harms associated with AOD use, and the ways in which society treats and manages offenders with AOD use disorders. This section will also seek to critically explore crucial debates within AOD discourse, such as, the ongoing debate around prohibition vs decriminalisation vs legalisation and whether problematic AOD use should be considered a matter of criminal justice or rather, public health (as is the case in Portugal)

The range of elective modules available are subject to change and are dependent on student numbers enrolled and could be withdrawn without prior notice due to limited numbers.

Similarly, in the third year, all students study the following modules plus one additional module depending upon the pathway selected.

Third Year

  • Multi-Agency Working International Perspectives - considers the development and theoretical context of multi-agency working and what this means for local community working, public protection and wider partnership collaboration. The module also explores local, national and international investigative mechanisms and the challenges associated with a multi-agency approach taking into consideration organisational and political cultures and differing criminal justice systems and processes on an international level.
  • Dissertation - this is a 10,000-word structured piece of academic writing at Level 6 based upon a research study of your choice that can inform evidence-based policing and the investigation of crime.
  • Leadership and Management of Contemporary Issues in Policing (II) - this is the second part of the linked module that examines concepts, debates and decision-making around topical areas within four themes; policing 21st century UK, policing vulnerable groups, doing policing, and microscope on policing.
  • Investigative Management and Leadership (II) – this module expands significantly from year two to develop management level decision-making, critical-thinking, problem-solving and investigative mindset skills. Students will engage in the investigation and management of major crime using the skills and knowledge developed through year 2.