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Science & Research

Criminalistics Diploma

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This Criminalistics Diploma, available to study as both a paper-based and online course, examines crime and prevention. Also known as forensic science, criminalistics uses scientific principles to provide evidence in cases.

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Level 3 / NCFE Certificate / PI482

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Online study
Paper study
Online study
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over 12 months and £ deposit

over 12 months and £ deposit


Course summary


Course support

12 months expert tutor support


24 hour access

Unlimited Submissions



Fully accredited course


Awarding body


Course introduction

Students of criminalistics courses will learn how to collect crime scene evidence, as well as prove (or disprove) what causes accidents.

Criminalistics is an interesting area of study and one that many people are taking a keen interest in.

There can be all kinds of physical evidence left at a crime scene, such as the subtle smell of gas at an arson scene. There can also be a large range of material that challenges investigators and criminalists – hair, bodily fluids, blood, soil, paint, glass and more – all of which are important pieces of the crime-solving puzzle.

The role of the criminalist is to piece together all this evidence, connecting the suspect with the scene and/or the victim. It is not possible for everyone in a forensic science team or lab to be an expert in every aspect of forensic science. As such, many scientists are choosing to specialise in or one two key areas, such as criminalistics.

This customised qualification includes ten modules to complete, all of which have assignments for you to complete. Your tutor will mark these and use them to monitor your progress throughout the course.

Please note: Should you decide to purchase the online option, you must have access to a camera or a camera phone as you will be required to upload a JPEG image as part of your assignment for module 3.

The modules systemically work their way through how a criminalist would process a crime scene. The first few modules look at the crime scene itself, any biological traces left behind such as fingerprints. There are also modules that cover fire scenes, explosions, and ballistics.

There is also a later module on psychology and the crime scene, an important consideration when looking for evidence.

The next step after criminalistics courses online

Criminalistics is a specialism under the umbrella of forensic science. You don’t need any existing knowledge to complete this course, with many students on completion of this diploma, continuing to study with NCC.

There is a range of related courses, including Forensic Psychology and ballistics, as well as specialist psychology-based qualifications that examine in detail the effects of addiction on criminal behaviour and intent.

Studying from home is a flexible way to gain knowledge and skills. It allows you to learn at your own pace and in your own time, acquiring knowledge and skills that can progress your current career or lead you on a path to a new one.

Required knowledge

The good news is that no prior learning knowledge or experience is essential to take this Criminalistics Diploma course. This course is openly available to anyone wishing to learn more about this subject and would like to take part in a highly rewarding home study course. You have the freedom to start the Criminalistics Diploma course at any time and continue your studies at your own pace for a period of up to 12 months from initial registration


The Criminalistics Diploma course is assessed by a series of activity questions, all which require submission to your allocated tutor for marking and feedback.

Awarding organisation

This customised qualification has been accredited under NCFE IIQ Licence by NCC Resources Limited which has been approved as an NCFE Investing in Quality (IIQ) centre. At the end of this course successful learners will be awarded a certificate of achievement by NCFE. The training courses have been designed specifically to meet the needs of learners who prefer to study from home. The course measurable learning outcomes have been benchmarked at Level 3 (using Ofqual's Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) level descriptors) to allow you to consider the depth of study, difficulty, and level of achievement involved.

Course units

Module 1: The Crime Scene
Module 2: Biological Trace Evidence
Module 3: Fingerprints
Module 4: Trace Evidence
Module 5: Entomological Evidence
Module 6: The Fire Scene
Module 7: The Explosives Scene
Module 8: Ballistics
Module 9: Psychology and the Crime Scene
Module 10: Revision and Consolidation

Learner support

You will be provided with comprehensive materials designed to provide you with everything required to complete your Criminalistics Diploma course. You will have your own dedicated tutor who will guide you through your course work and answer any questions you may have during your Criminalistics Diploma course. Additionally our Help Desk will provide you with any practical advice by email or phone.


What is distance learning?

Distance learning is the most flexible and convenient approach to studying. There is no need for you to attend college and, therefore, you can study anytime, any place, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a full-time job, or other commitments, that won’t allow them time off to study.

What do I need to do to get started on a course?

You need to be able to commit your time to the course. To help you understand the commitment needed, each of the course descriptions estimates the amount of time it will take you to complete the course. This is based on an average study period of approximately 10 hours per week.

It is best to choose a course you think will interest you, and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, please call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.

To purchase a course, simply click on the ‘Buy Now’ option against your chosen course and follow the on screen instructions. Alternatively if you would prefer to purchase the course over the phone or by post, call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.

How does the distance learning/home study method work?

The course operates through a study pack and access to your own personal tutor. Once you have chosen your course we will send you your study pack, which you will be required to work through before completing the course.

Depending on the course you have chosen, you will either be required to complete assignments and submit these for marking as the course progresses and/or be required to sit an end exam. The end exam could be in the form of multiple choice questions, or be an invigilated exam at a registered test centre.

Your completed assignments will need to be sent to your tutor for marking/assessment, you will then receive written feedback and guidance. It may be possible to submit your assignments by email, however you will need to check this with your tutor. Please be aware that your assignments will be maintained by NCCHL for moderation and audit purposes.

These requirements will always be listed on the course description page, so please refer to this for details of what is required for each individual course.

How long should it take to complete a course?

Depending on the course you have chosen, and the amount of time you can commit, it could take from six weeks to nine months to complete your course.

The duration of the course is largely down to you though. The beauty of home learning is that it allows you complete flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle and other commitments. You can dedicate as much, or as little, time as you want to your studies - no one will be chasing you for your work or asking why you haven’t submitted an assignment.

We do strongly recommend, though, that before you purchase a course you assess your ability to commit the necessary time to completing the course in a timeframe that will not leave you losing your motivation.

How quickly will I receive my course material?

We guarantee that you will receive your course materials within 5 days of purchase, but for many courses we would anticipate that you will have to wait no more than 48 hours.

The course materials are always sent to you via a tracked courier service, to ensure that you receive your study pack within our stated period.

How much will it cost?

The cost is largely dependent on the size of the course. The longer the course is the higher the cost will be, due to the size of the study pack and the nature of the qualification.

All prices are clearly stated on the course description page and will always be displayed prior to you committing to purchase a course.

Please note that postage and packaging is charged in addition to the course price.

What support will I receive?

You will be allocated your own personal tutor who can be contacted via e-mail, telephone, fax or post for help and advice on any aspect of the course.

Many courses require that you submit work to your tutor during the period of study and your tutor will assess your work and pass comments back to you. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.

Please be aware that officially the tutor support provided with the course is for a period of 12 months, although if you need longer let us know and we’ll endeavour to extend that.

Will I have to sit an examination?

All of our courses are accredited, so you need to show that you have acquired the knowledge to pass the course – this may involve sitting an examination, but it depends on the course you have chosen.

Some courses require you to be continually assessed throughout the course, while others may require an end of course exam or assignment (which may be completed at home) to be submitted to your tutor.

Certain types of qualifications, A-levels and GCSEs for example, do require you to sit an invigilated exam at a registered test centre. You will need to organise the examination yourself, however full details of what you need to do will be included in your study pack.

The details of what sort of exam/assignment (if any) is required for a course will be stated on the course description page, so please check these for full details.

Can I study from outside the UK?

Yes, there are no geographical limits to where you can study.

You just need to be aware that all tutors are based in the UK and work may need to be submitted to them via post, although in most cases e-mail can be used.

Where the course requires that you sit an invigilated exam at a test centre, there are many exam centres outside of the UK. However, we would advise that you check with us before purchasing one of these courses if you want to study from abroad.

Will I receive a qualification when I complete the course?

All of our courses are accredited and you will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

For more information about this please see the section of the website that details how awarding bodies work and what the different types of qualifications are.

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Yes, you can take as many courses as your time allows. But we would recommend that you clearly evaluate how much time you can commit to your courses of study.

The good news is though that if your circumstances change you can always take a break and come back to your studies.

Additionally, discounts are available if you buy more than one course at the same time.

How long will it take for my work to be marked by my tutor?

Your work will be marked and feedback returned to you within 12 working days after submission. This is because our tutors are required to provide detailed, considered feedback to our learners that may take a while to formulate. We find that by working this way, our learners actually complete their course in less time, as they rarely need to submit an assignment more than twice.

Whilst it is possible to submit multiple assignments at the same time, we advise that our learners submit only one at a time. We want our learners to develop as they progress through their course, and find this is best achieved when a student embarks on a new module having taken into account tutor feedback from the previous submission.

Do I need any additional books or equipment to do my course?

No, we provide everything you need to pass your course.

How do I enrol?

Once you have chosen your course, you can either purchase the course online which will enrol you, or you can call our helpline on 0333 3445 690 who will sign you up for the course and arrange to have all your learning materials sent to you.

What if I’ve chosen the wrong course?

If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you can simply return the goods within 14 days and we will send your money back in full for the majority of courses (excluding postage and packaging) or you can choose another course that you feel would suit your needs and ambitions better.

What is the difference between the online and paper versions of courses?

Our online courses are completed through our online learning system after receiving login and access instructions. You will not receive any course materials through the post. The paper based version is posted out in a binder to your home or place of work and requires completion of a portfolio of work that is submitted to your tutor for marking.

Where can I find your Equality and Diversity Policy?

All NCC policies and procedures can be provided on request from NCC directly by emailing or calling 0333 3445 690.

Can reasonable adjustments be made to help reduce the effects of a disability or difficulty that may place me at a disadvantage?

A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the candidate at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. Reasonable adjustments must not affect the integrity of what needs to be assessed, but may involve:

Changing standard assessment arrangements, for example allowing candidates extra time to complete the assessment activity Adapting assessment materials, such as providing materials in Braille Providing access facilitators during assessment, such as a sign language interpreter or a reader Re-organising the assessment room, such as removing visual stimuli for an autistic candidate.

Reasonable adjustments are approved or set in place before the assessment activity takes place; they constitute an arrangement to give the candidate access to the assessment activity. The use of a reasonable adjustment will not be taken into consideration during the assessment of a candidate’s work.

Awarding organisations and centres are only required by law to do what is ‘reasonable’ in terms of giving access. What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances, cost implications and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment. Other factors, such as the need to maintain competence standards and health and safety, will also be taken into consideration.

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Reviews from learners who completed...

Criminalistics Diploma

M Byrne

“Quick and easy”

Loads of details about the courses. Quick and easy enrolment. Affordable. Can't wait to get started :)

Kayleigh ,

M Byrne

“Will definitely be studying with NCC again!”

I've just completed the Criminalistics Diploma and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I've studied with NCC before and as usual they didn't disappoint.

The course itself was very interesting, with modules ranging from fingerprinting and ballistics to crime scene psychology, so there's a good variation across the ten modules. Not only this, but there's some practical experiments involved in some of the modules which I found very exciting to undertake, along with the written assignments. I have a long-standing interest in criminology and found the modules in-depth and covered a lot of useful and relevant information.

The course materials were excellent and very easy to following, such as the layout in the assessment saying precisely what is required to achieve a pass for that specific module, along with the activity questions.

I love the home learning courses, as there's so many to choose from and no prior knowledge is needed for the actual subject, plus you can work at your own pace.

The feedback from my tutor (Philip Boyce) was also excellent and very encouraging and supportive. Thanks also to Shaun Connick and Sally Swift for replying to my e-mails so quickly!

So, another great one from NCC - and I will definitely be studying with you again!

Mark Quine,