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.

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

A minimum of 5 GCSEs (grades A*- C / 9-4) including English, maths and science or satisfactory results in a relevant Level 2 Qualification, (Merit/Distinction) 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.

Forensic and Criminal Investigation Level 3
LevelLevel 3
DurationTwo years | Year 1: Foundation Diploma | Year 2: Extended Diploma
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusColchester Institute
Start DateSeptember 2020
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 2020-21 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.