AP0505 - Specialist Applications in Criminal Investigation

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn how the core disciplines of forensic science (biology and chemistry) can be complemented by additional specialisms in a criminal investigation. You will discover the impact and evaluate the effectiveness of these additional resources on an investigation. By using case studies you will explore how science and technology has been used to further assist the investigative process from the crime scene through to additional investigative tools and scientific interpretation. Presentation and communication of scientific evidence in the courtroom will also be evaluated.

Topics may include:
• Digital evidence: e.g. data recovery from PC/mobile technology/ethical hacking
• Other ‘ologies’ e.g. pathology, palynology, entomology, archaeology, ecology
• Fire investigation – cremains, application to destruction of evidence
• Surveillance : e.g. GIS/crime mapping/CCTV/surveillance

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a series of lectures and (e-) group seminars. The lectures will introduce you to the science and technological concepts associated with alternative investigative resources. You will also independently research these scientific concepts and principles for discussion in small group activities/group discussion board on the module Blackboard site.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will include feedback from tutors during the seminars. Module content will be made available using the virtual learning platform, Blackboard and your learning experience will be enhanced by using module group discussions and electronic discussion boards facilitated by the module tutor as well as using other electronic communication mechanisms (e.g. journals/email) for response to individual questions. You will also be supported with the inclusion of a digital reading list.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Demonstrate an ability to assess and apply knowledge of alternative disciplines in a criminal investigation
• Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate the importance of alternative resources in a criminal investigation

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Demonstrate effective verbal and oral communication skills

How will I be assessed?

There will be three components to this assessment:

• Exam – Online MCQ test (40%) MLO's 1 – 2
• Coursework - Portfolio (40%) MLO's 1-2
• Oral presentation (20%) MLO 3

The coursework component will be in the form of a MCQ test which will allow you to demonstrate understanding of the range of forensic specialisms covered in the module. Coursework will also include the production of a 2000-word portfolio (based on tutor-provided worksheets) in which you will evaluate the significance of specialist forensic evidence you have discovered through the practical investigation of a case. These findings will then be assessed through a 10-minute oral presentation with 10 minutes of questioning.

You will be given the opportunity to gain tutor and peer feedback from formative assessments which include practice portfolio working and case-based strategy sessions. Summative feedback will be provided for all assessments through marking rubric and marker comments.





Module abstract

Core disciplines of biology and chemistry are routinely adopted in criminal investigation. This module informs you of alternative investigative and scientific resources that are available. Using case studies, you will be introduced to tools such as surveillance, GIS and crime mapping to aid the investigative approach. You will also be introduced to other scientific disciplines such as archaeology, pathology, and forensic ecology (including palynology and entomology) and evaluate the effectiveness of these disciplines in case studies. The communication of science, technology and opinion based evidence is of paramount importance and using these alternative resources you will discover the importance of communication skills (verbal and oral) in the courtroom. You will have the opportunity to participate in group and one-to-one discussions with the module team. The assessment is electronically managed through the blackboard site. Key skills that you will gain include ability to research and formulate solutions that have been applied to crime detection and be able to communicate effectively in both verbal and oral work.

Course info

UCAS Code F410

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Applied Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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