Forensic and Criminal Investigation Level 3

The Pearson 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 forensic science, criminology or psychology and ultimately on to employment. The qualification is equivalent in size to 3 A Levels (Extended Diploma) studied over two years. Learners wishing to take this qualification will have successfully completed a Level 2 programme of learning, with GCSEs or vocational qualifications.

If you are interested in how science can help solve crimes then this may be the course for you. Forensic science is made up of various specialisms and you will get to study units that allow you to experience a multitude of these. In addition to your main programme, you will also engage in activities to develop your English, maths and employability skills.


***Applications for full-time courses to start in September 2022 are open now!***

We want to make sure you have the best chance of securing a place with us. All full-time applications received by 31st of January 2022 will be guaranteed a place at Colchester Institute, subject to you satisfying the published entry requirements. We still accept applications after this date but may not be able to guarantee you a place on your chosen programme.

Application for this course are made by the ‘Apply Online’ buttons located in the menu further down the page.

If you are looking to start, or are a parent/guardian of a learner looking to start in September 2022, then bookings for our popular January Open Events are also open.

January Open Events

What Will I Learn?

The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Forensic and criminal investigation will allow students 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. The Forensic investigation programme contains a mix of modules that incorporate a range of topics. Topics include: Environmental forensics, forensic fire investigation, applications of criminology, applications of criminal and forensic psychology, forensic genetics and practical scientific procedures and techniques. There is a strong emphasis on practical laboratory work to support the learning.

Course Content

Forensic and Criminal Investigation BTEC Diploma Level 3 – Course Content

The topics for first year will include:

  • Principles and Applications of Science I
  • Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques
  • Science Investigation Skills
  • Forensic Investigation Procedures in Practice
  • Physiology of Human Body Systems
  • Microbiology and Microbiological Techniques

The topics for second year will include:

  • Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology
  • Environmental Forensics
  • Forensic Genetics
  • Forensic Fire Investigation
  • Applications of Criminology
  • Criminal Investigation Procedures in Practice
  • Applications of Criminal and Forensic Psychology

Learners will be assessed by a mixture of coursework and examinations. In order to achieve the diploma students are required to sit a total of two externally assessed units and four internally assessed units.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs (9-4) including English, Maths and Science, or satisfactory results (Merit/Distinction) in a relevant Level 2 qualification and an interview.

What Can I Do Next?

After completing a degree in a relevant discipline, learners may progress on to a career to become a: forensic archaeologist, anthropologist, toxicologist, forensic psychiatrist, criminologist, crime scene or fire investigator.

Higher education courses that learners can progress onto include BSc (Hons) Forensic science, Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation, Forensic psychology, Psychology and Criminology, Policing and Criminal Investigation, BA (Hons) Criminology, Criminology and Law.

The requirements of the qualification will mean learners develop the transferable and higher-order skills that are highly regarded by both higher education and employers. For example, practical and analytical skills, reading scientific text, problem solving and carrying out practical laboratory tasks and planning forensic investigations.

How to make an Application – Watch our video guide!

We have also prepared a step-by-step video guide – please view this video which will guide you through the application process.

Forensic and Criminal Investigation Level 3
LevelLevel 3
DurationTwo years | Year 1: Foundation Diploma | Year 2: Extended Diploma
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusColchester Campus
Start DateSeptember 2022 - Applications open on 1st October 2021
Fee(s)16-18 year olds: Free
19+: £7,395 (This fee covers the full two year course)


All Fees and prices shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.