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Forensic and Criminal Investigation BTEC Level 3

This course looks at the techniques required to either enter employment as a Forensic Science technician or to go to University to gain higher positions in Forensic Investigation.

Forensic Science looks at the ways in which evidence is gathered either to solve crimes or problem solve. It looks at how microscopic clues can be gleaned from crime scenes and how they can be analysed to give important information that helps the police put sequences together to show the full picture of how a crime was committed.


This includes what happened to cause a fire, what a criminal may look like through their bite into an apple, a footprint or hair/DNA found at the scene. You will learn a range of techniques that are used to solve crime such as DNA analysis, analysis of a fire scene and Chemical Analysis.


All students (16-18 year olds and 19+) on level 3 vocational and technical programmes will study two qualifications over the duration of their two-year course. An example of this is BTEC students will study for a 90 credit qualification in the 1st year. Upon successful completion, they will be able to progress to the 2nd year and study a diploma/extended diploma qualification.


Exam Board: Edexcel



Search your university and career options if you study Forensic and Criminal Investigation BTEC Level 3
  • What will I study and learn?

    The qualification consists of studying nine units in the first year and nine units leading to the 90 credit diploma in the second year which include compulsory, as well as optional units. Units taught tend to look at the application of science centered on practical activities from which the theory is then drawn. This provides opportunities for you to develop your practical laboratory skills to a high level.

    The Applied Science BTEC Level 3 is delivered in a variety of ways. There are laboratory-based practical assignments, supported by self-study, presentations, group work and discussion.

    Here's an example of modules in the Forensic and Criminal Investigation course:

    Year 1

    • Principles and applications of science 1
    • Practical scientific procedures and techniques
    • Science investigation skills
    • Forensic investigation procedures in practice
    • Environmental forensics
    • Forensic fire investigation

    Year 2

    • Applications of criminology
    • Criminal investigation procedures in practice
    • Applications of criminal and forensic psychology
    • Forensic traffic collision investigation
    • Forensic genetics
    • Forensic anthropology and archaeology
    • Forensic photography
  • How is the course assessed?

    Principles and Applications of Science 1, Science Investigation Skills, Applications of Criminology and Applications of Criminal and Forensic Psychology are externally assessed.

    The styles of external assessment used for qualifications in the BTEC Level 3 Forensic and Criminal Investigation suite are:

    • examinations – all learners take the same assessment at the same time, normally with a written outcome
    • set tasks – learners take the assessment during a defined window and demonstrate understanding through completion of a vocational task. Some external assessments include a period of preparation using set information.

    The other units are assessed internally through internal assignments where you have to produce a range of assessments which will includes scientific reports, videos, photographs, presentations and essays

  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    Minimum Requirements - 5 GCSEs at grade A-C/9- 4 including English, Maths and Double Science at grade 4.


    Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science at Distinction/Merit plus GCSE English and Maths at grade 4.

  • What could the course lead to in higher education or careers?

    The range of higher education degree courses that learners can progress to include:

    • BSc (Hons) in Policing and Criminal Investigation
    • BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation
    • BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science
    • BSc (Hons) in Forensic Psychology
    • BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Criminology
    • BSc (Hons) in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Investigation
    • BA (Hons) in Criminology
    • BA (Hons) in Criminology and Law.
  • Are there any costs involved?

    Annual cost between £50-£75 for trips, books and any personal equipment that may be required.

  • Are you aged over 19?

    Students aged 19 or over on 31st August directly preceding their academic year may be required to pay tuition fees for that year of study. Advanced Learner Loans may be available for students studying at Level 3. If you are aged 19-23 as at 31 August and this is your first full Level 3 you may not have to pay fees.

    Students who are 19-24 years old with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority are not required to pay course fees (ie tuition fees are free). Students will be required to provide a final copy of their EHCP provided by the LA as evidence.

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