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MSci (Hons)

Forensic Science

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Year Of Entry

2021
  • UCAS code(s): F413
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Course duration: 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information


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We’ll give you the freedom to decide your own journey. Suspicious deaths, ballistics, bioarchaeology – just a few of our optional modules but wherever your forensics interests take you we can support your studies.

Coupled with an extensive research project in your final year, external industry speakers and industry placement opportunities, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you graduate.

On campus, you will develop your practical forensic skills in our Crime Scene Training Facility and in specialist forensic laboratories – all fitted out with the same industry-standard equipment used by professional forensic practitioners.

This Masters-level course deepens your knowledge and skills, both at the crime scene and in the laboratory, along with an understanding of relevant legislation and legal procedures.

What you'll study

Who will teach me?

The Forensics team is comprised of academic and support staff that are subject experts in forensic science, legal issues and crime scene investigation. Many of our staff have had relevant industrial and other external forensics experience and training.

Visit our academic team pages to find out more about our approach to teaching, our partners and research interests.

Industry links

Our Forensics team work with a wide range of organisations including:

  • The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Nottinghamshire Police
  • Derbyshire Constabulary
  • The Fingerprint Society
  • HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs)
  • The Institute of Forensic Research, Krakow, Poland.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. Find out more about the ULP.

  • Year One

    Introduction to Forensic Biology

    Gain an introduction to the key areas that underpin the complex biological aspects of forensic science. You’ll write scientific reports and carry out oral presentations, both of which are important skills required of a forensic scientist.

    Forensic Chemistry

    Study theoretical and practical chemistry in relation to forensic science, including concepts of periodicity, bonding and structure, functional group chemistry, thermodynamics, and kinetics.

    The Forensic Process

    Develop your professional awareness of forensic science and the English legal system. Examine the role of the forensic scientist and law enforcement agencies, and even experience live trials. Also witness and investigate a live arson scene, under the guidance of renowned fire instigation experts.

    Introduction to Forensic Analysis

    Learn basic chemical principles including chromatography, applied spectroscopy, statistical tests, electroanalytical techniques, and appropriate specialist methods.

    Technical Skills for Forensic Science

    This module will develop your understanding of professional standards in forensic science, with particular emphasis on the development of your technical and digital skills, including use of an e-portfolio to demonstrate your competency in these areas.

    Professional Skills for Forensic Science

    Develop your skills in mathematical sciences. This module will help to train you, as a forensic scientist, in the essential calculated and logical thought processes needed to solve problems

  • Year Two

    Core modules

    Biological Techniques in Forensic Science

    This module will form a platform of knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills in the application of bioscience techniques and their relevance to forensic science.

    Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Photography

    Learn about crime scene investigation and its role within the forensic process, leading onto forensic image processing and the procedures and legislation attached to these areas.

    Ethics and Law for Forensics

    Gain a professional awareness of the law governing police powers, the substantive criminal law and the law of evidence, including an analysis of law and the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Forensic Casework Examination

    Develop an awareness of the application of laboratory examination methods in forensic science, enabling practical application of relevant techniques to casework problems.

    Forensic Analysis

    Building on Year One, you will focus on interfering sample matrices, quantitative and qualitative identification of multicomponent samples, and measurements under non-ideal conditions.

    Choose from the following optional modules:

    Introduction to Suspicious Death Investigations

    You’ll consider the range of specialist practitioners needed to investigate an unexplained death in different circumstances and learn the techniques and methods used. Examine bio-deterioration (including decay and degradation of bodies under different environmental conditions) through scenario-led practical sessions.

    Microbial Structures, Identification and Distribution

    Explore the function of important subcellular structures of micro-organisms, as well as the taxonomy and identification of the main groups of bacteria, fungi and viruses relating to forensic investigations.

    Forensic Image Processing

    Study the principles of imaging including theory of light, how digital sensors work, image noise and techniques for image enhancement.  The module is taught through a series of practical workshops where you’ll use our wide range of imaging equipment before processing your images using the software package Image.

  • Year Three or optional placement year

    If you are taking a year-long work placement (sandwich course) the modules below will be studied when you return to campus in year four.

    Core modules

    Molecular Techniques for Identification

    You will develop an understanding of the role of DNA-based analysis, looking at the various techniques and issues relating to the successful recovery and analysis of DNA samples.

    Drugs of Abuse

    This unique module focuses on drugs of abuse and illustrates the forensic applications of a range of analytical techniques. You’ll learn about the legislation covering substances and their classifications. It also includes international drug trafficking and case studies of clandestine laboratories.

    Research Methodology

    This module will prepare you to undertake the research project in the final year, developing your skills in critical thinking and designing experimentation.

    Advanced Topics in Forensic Science

    You’ll look at current aspects of research in forensic science and tackle current issues facing the forensic community.

    Choose one of the following optional modules:

    Advanced Crime Scene Investigation

    Managing a crime scene is explored in detail in this module and you’ll learn how to deal with major and serious crime scenes and consider contamination issues. Blood pattern analysis is also studied and you’ll develop an understanding dynamics of blood interpretation and its use as evidence in investigations.

    Forensic Microbiology

    Develop your molecular identification methods including microbial DNA fingerprinting (PFGE, PCR-amplification techniques) and explore the use of international databases (EnterNet, PulseNet).

    You’ll consider bioterrorism, accidental and deliberate contamination, medical negligence and food-borne disease through the use of real-life case studies.

    Environmental Forensic Assessment

    You’ll review case studies in forensic ecology and study the degradation of plant and animal remains as part of the decomposition food web. This will help you to determine the time and place of death or burial / drowning at a crime scene.

    Choose one of the following optional modules:

    Communicating Science and Technology

    This module will be of interest to you if you are considering a career in teaching and / or want to develop your portfolio of transferable skills.

    Ballistics and Firearms

    Study the current legislation around firearms including hand guns, rifles, shotguns, sub machine guns, proof marks and ammunition.  You’ll explore physical concepts for ballistics to understand the nature of spent ammunition comprising Newton’s laws of motion and gravity.

    Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

    Taking bone geochemistry and ancient skeletal materials as a reference you’ll develop skills in assessing causes and places of death using techniques such as monitoring skeletal injury/changes including arthritis.

  • Final year

    If you are taking a year-long work placement (sandwich course) the modules below will be studied when you return to campus in year five.

    Core modules

    Project 60

    This is the capstone module where you’ll work with a member of academic staff and undertake in-depth research in an aspect of forensic science.

    Forensic Expert

    This module will allow you to develop a skills portfolio that’s expected of the expert witness and take a case file through to being presented at court.

    Choose two from the following optional modules:

    Biometrics and Forensic Databases

    Gain an overview of identification, authentication and verification techniques, with an introduction to the theory of database systems and the legal and moral implications of database use.

    Analytical Toxicology

    Develop working knowledge of various drug separation and detection techniques and the application of analytical approaches to detect and quantify drugs and metabolites in biological fluids and tissues. You’ll review the use and abuse of substances used as both medicines and poisons.

    Bioarcheology

    You will look at the recovery of bodies in missing persons and unexplained death scenarios, including search, recording, recovery, and the evidential significance of plants, pollen and soils.

How you’re taught

You’ll be taught through a variety of experiences including

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • visits
  • group projects
  • case studies
  • verbal presentations and
  • laboratory assessments and reports.

Practical and workshop classes enable you to gain competence in the application of the fundamental principles of forensic science and are focused around problem solving and interpretation. You’ll take part in crime scene investigation simulation exercises based on real work problems which reflect the challenges facing Crime Scene Investigators.

The course emphasises independent learning and is structured to facilitate greater learner autonomy by the final year. You’re encouraged to undertake independent reading to supplement and consolidate what is being taught.

Assessment methods

Year 1 - coursework (70%), written (24%) and practical (6%)

Year 2 - coursework (43%), written (36%) and practical (21%)

Year 3 - coursework (52%), written (30%) and practical (18%)

Year 4 - coursework (60%), written (22%) and practical (18%)

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

Year 1 - lectures/seminars/workshops (28%) and independent study (72%)

Year 2 - lectures/seminars/workshops (27%) and independent study (74%)

Year 3 - lectures/seminars/workshops (22%) and independent study (78%)

Year 4 - lectures/seminars/workshops (17%) and independent study (83%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

NTU is ranked 8th in Forensic Science subjects (Complete University Guide 2022)

Careers and employability

Your career development

Employers in the fields of chemistry, biology and physics as well as forensic science highly value graduates with a strong background in:

  • scientific investigation
  • the reconstruction of events
  • the presentation of findings.

These skills are invaluable for careers in:

  • forensic science
  • law enforcement (for example, the police, Customs and Excise, immigration and fraud investigation)
  • academic research.

Our recent BSc (Hons) Forensic Science graduates have achieved the following careers:

  • Derbyshire Constabulary – forensic services assistant
  • De Montfort University – microbiology lab technician
  • Reckett Benckiser – analytical assistant
  • Nottinghamshire Police – police constable
  • Harlan Sera Limited – laboratory technician
  • Boots – pharmacy development analyst
  • Premier Analytical Services – microscopist
  • Surrey Police – intelligence processing assistant
  • Nanosight – particle physicist.

Many graduates also choose to undertake further study on one of our Masters-level courses or MPhil and PhD research degrees.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels - ABB including chemistry and another science or numerate subject*; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM including relevant chemistry and another science or numerate subject modules; or
  • 128 UCAS points from three A-levels or equivalent, including chemistry and another science or numerate subject both at A-level grade B  or equivalent; and
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

* we will accept biology / human biology, physics, maths / further maths, core maths, use of maths, environmental science, physical education and sport science.

Other qualifications and experience

We consider equivalent qualifications and combinations, please see UCAS course search for details and use our calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Contextual offers

As well as assessing your application and qualifications, we use contextual data and information to make offers for this course. Depending on your circumstances, we may make you an offer up to two grades below the standard entry criteria. Find out how we assess your application.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions and Enquiries Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels - ABB including chemistry and another science or numerate subject*; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM including relevant chemistry and another science or numerate subject modules; or
  • 128 UCAS points from three A-levels or equivalent, including chemistry and another science or numerate subject both at A-level grade B  or equivalent; and
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade C / 4

* we will accept biology / human biology, physics, maths / further maths, core maths, use of maths, environmental science, physical education and sport science.

Applicants without A-levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility. We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see UCAS Course Search for more details.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year. If you are applying to more than one UK university you must apply through UCAS.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

  • For a step-by-step guide on making an application to the University please visit our how to apply page.
  • For advice on applying for a visa please visit our visa information page.
  • For advice on how to write a good personal statement please visit our personal statement page.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2494.

What do the course fees cover?

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for printing, poster preparation and final dissertation copies in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 - £30.

A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5)

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

  • For more information other opportunities for funding please visit our international pages.
  • For information on how to pay your fees to the University please visit our international fee payment page.

What do the course fees cover?

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for printing, poster preparation and final dissertation copies in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 - £30.

A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5)

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418