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Level 3 Extended Diploma in Forensic & Criminal Investigation

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Forensic & Criminal Investigation

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Forensic & Criminal Investigation

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This BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Forensic and Criminal Investigation is intended for post-16 learners who aim to progress to higher education to study courses such as: Forensic Science, Policing and Law, Criminology or Psychology and ultimately on to employment.

If you are interested in the application of science to the criminal justice system, then this maybe the study programme for you. Edmond Locard, a Criminologist, stated that “every contract leaves a trace” and this is the basis of Forensic Science. Forensic Science is made up of numerous specialisms and you will get to experience many of these through the units that you will study. In addition to your main programme, you will also engage in activities to develop your English, Maths and employability skills.

The course is a mixture of theory and practical and is aimed at providing you with the employability skills in preparation for progression into this industry. You will develop scientific analytical-thinking skills through the use of chemical, physical and biological techniques. You will remain impartial, provide scientific justification for analysis and present facts through detailed investigations.

What will I learn?

In your first year, you will complete the BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Forensic and Criminal Investigation. You then have the opportunity to progress onto the second year of study to complete the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Forensic and Criminal Investigation (equivalent to three A Levels). The full study programme consists of 13 varied and interesting units of study, providing an intriguing mix of the sciences. It will allow you to understand the workings of the criminal mind, how crime scenes are investigated and the procedures followed, and collect and analyse evidence from a crime scene.

Units include:

  • Principles and Applications of Science
  • Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques
  • Forensic Investigation Procedure in Practice
  • Applications of Criminology
  • Criminal Investigation Procedure in Practice
  • Applications of Criminal and Forensic Psychology
  • Environmental Forensics
  • Forensic Fire Investigation
  • Forensic Traffic Collision Investigation
  • Forensic Photography
  • Forensic Genetics
  • Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology
  • Practical Chemical Analysis

How will I be assessed?

The study programme consists of internally and externally assessed units. Externally assessed units allow you to present what you have learned in the unit. They can be challenging, but give you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding, or skills in a direct way. These will consist of an exam or completing a vocational task in a limited timeframe.

Most of your units will be internally assessed. This involves completing a series of assignments, set and marked by your lecturer. These allow you to demonstrate learning in a number of ways, from written reports to a video recording. Each of these tasks are graded as pass, merit or distinction which lead to an overall grade at the end of two years’ study when combined with grades from other units.

Home study?

You will be expected to spend additional study hours in the Learning Hub in order to successfully complete this programme. You will also need to complete homework and independent research on a regular basis in order to build up and further enhance your knowledge. It is expected that you will need to spend approximately 6 hours a week on your coursework outside of your normal class time.

Are there any work experience opportunities?

Work experience helps you understand the types of roles available in industry and the skills required to gain employment in the sector. During each year of the study programme, you will be expected to complete 20 hours work experience.

Are there any enrichment opportunities?

While studying at Coventry College, you may be given the opportunity to engage with enrichment activities including:

  • trips and visits including Birmingham Crown Court, Shrewsbury Prison & the Freud Museum
  • guest speakers from universities and industry
  • undertake additional qualifications including First Aid and Core Maths

What is my progression?

This qualification is primarily designed to support your progression to employment after further study at university. However, it also supports you if you choose to progress directly to employment, as the transferable knowledge and skills gained will give you an advantage when applying for a range of industry training programmes and/or Higher Apprenticeships in areas such as Laboratory Technician or Forensic Technician.

University qualifications include; Forensic Science, Forensic Investigations, Psychology, Criminology, Forensic Biology, Forensic Computing and Security, Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology, Analytical Sciences, Policing and Criminal Justice, Police Studies with Criminal Investigation, Policing, Law and Investigation, Biochemistry


At least 4 GCSEs at Grade 4 or above including Science, English and/or maths or a Level 2 Applied Science qualification at Merit or above plus English/ maths at Grade 4 or equivalent. Learners with lower grades or relevant experience will be considered subject to additional advice and guidance from a member of the curriculum team.

This course is free for 16-18yrs; for 19-23yrs, course is free if you have not achieved a full Level 2 qualification.

For all other students fees apply:
Course fee £7395; Exam Fee TBC

Course Summary

Length of study:
2 years


Term dates

Study campus:

Study option(s):
Full time

Course level:
Level 3

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Making your application

We will check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll receive an invitation via email to attend an interview with a Curriculum Tutor.

Fees and funding

If you are aged 16-18 and applying for a full-time programme, then you will not have to pay for your course. If you are aged 19+ then there may be a fee for your course.

Why Coventry

From entry-level qualifications, through to degree-level and specialist professional courses there’s something here for students with little or no formal education right up to career high-flyers. Expect a vibrant environment where you can meet people from different backgrounds and cultures.

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