Applied Investigation BA (Hons)

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Strike a balance between theory and application. Critically evaluate a contemporary and significant issue in your professional environment. Undertake work-based learning that leads to a BA (Hons) degree.

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BA (Hons) Applied Investigation is a unique and contemporary course which adapts itself and students to the evolving nature of investigative practice. It aims to build knowledge and expertise in the area of investigations through work-based learning, allowing you to enter during the course’s second or final year, requiring only six on-campus days, per year of study.

The concept of the course accredits prior experience, permitting those who have achieved PIP Level 1 or equivalent investigative experience to enter during the second year and those who have PIP Level 2 or equivalent to enter during the course’s third and final year. The work-based approach of the course encourages you to focus on your area of interest, producing a research study while critically reflecting on investigative skills and strategies. With only six contact days per year, you can earn a full degree alongside your career.

Throughout the course, you will be coached by programme leads Emma Spooner and Gary Shaw MBE. With vast experience in the world of investigations, the pair offer unrivalled academic and practical support to those undertaking the degree.

Developed by senior police officers and members of NPCC, the course is undeniably relevant for those in the force, however its self-study nature and adaptability make it an ideal fit for investigators in all professions.

For more information contact the Corporate and Professional Education team on or 0191 515 3361.

Upcoming start dates
3 September 2019
9 October 2019
26 February 2020

Why us?

  • You can choose the direction of your study on this highly flexible course
  • Our Business courses were ranked 3rd overall in the UK in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • Our Business courses were ranked 4th in the UK for Assessment and, 2nd in the UK for Retention and Progression, and 3rd in the UK for Employability in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • Provides an academic base in the practical setting of work based activity
  • Allows the sharing of best practice in a highly specialised field
  • Develop as a critical and reflective practitioner in the field of investigation

Course structure

You’ll engage in a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, workshops and self-study. Your progress will be assessed via an essay, research proposal and project.

The course contact dates are:

Year 3 / PIP2 Entry: 13 and 14 February 2019

Year 2 / PIP1 Entry: 7 and 8 March 2019

London Year 3 / PIP2 Entry: 20 and 21 May 2019

Year 3 / PIP2 Entry: 9 and 10 October 2019

Year 2 modules:

Conducting Investigations (40 credits)

This module will cover everything from the initial report through to the case presentation. You will explore the role that professionalism and organisation play in investigation.

Contemporary issues in interviewing victims and witnesses (40 credits)

This module will allow you to understand key elements in witness preparation, interview planning, structure and style.

Contemporary issues in interviewing suspects (40 credits)

Students will explore the planning, preparation, strategy, and law surrounding interviewing suspects, whilst developing their ability to build rapport and understand all component parts within suspect interviews.

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 3 modules:

Extending Professional Competence (30 credits)

Students will learn critical reflection and how to deploy their skills and strategies developing the flexibility to meet changing needs within investigations

Work Based Research Project in Applied Investigation (90 credits)

Students will identify a key area of operation within investigative procedure and produce a research proposal within their area of interest.

  • Fusing a 19th-century facade with a newly built glass, steel and stone structure, this impressive building houses 3,500sqm of workspace, including 30 offices and seven workshops allowing businesses to start-up, scale up, develop and access advice, research and expertise. The building is also home to FabLab Sunderland, the North East’s first digital fabrication laboratory and the Enterprise Place, a facility that supports students and graduates to start their own businesses.

    Hope Street Xchange
  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • We’ve got thousands of relevant books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to- date academic and industry articles. There are nearly 9,000 journal titles, mostly in electronic format.

    Library Services - general
  • Map and directions


You will study in the Hope Street Xchange – the £10million centre for enterprise and innovation.

Entry requirements

Year 2 entry point
Students must have a position of employment that exposes them to experiencing investigations with a strong interest in the profession. Those with Pip level 1 or equivalent are encouraged to apply for this stage

Year 3 entry point
Students must have extensive experience of investigations in a professional capacity. Those that have a Pip level 2 qualification or experience at a similar level are encouraged to apply for this stage.

In addition, you should be able to demonstrate competence and knowledge in the investigation of serious and complex crime.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Fees and finance

The course fee for 2019/20 entry is £3,750 per 120 credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

If you currently serve (or have recently served) within the Armed Forces, then the Ministry of Defence's ELCAS scheme may be able to help cover your funding for this course. For more information, see our Funding for Armed Forces personnel page.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


The BA (Hons) Applied Investigation course offers accreditation at university level for those who have the knowledge and experience of investigating serious and complex crime.

When you complete the course you will gain a BA (Hons) degree, and you will also be qualified to study at the next level, which is MA Investigative Management.

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