BSc (Hons)

Forensic Science

Forensic student dusting window
  • UCAS code(s): F410 / 350H
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 3 / 4 year(s)

This forensic science degree is ideal for those with an enquiring mind, a deep interest in science and a curiosity about how and why things happen. You will develop the ability to judge the importance of physical evidence based on incident scene observation and the results of laboratory tests.

On this course you will develop the ability to judge the importance of physical evidence based on incident scene observations and the results of laboratory analysis.

Studying Forensic Science will enable you to:

  • understand crime scene science
  • use case studies to highlight the range of approaches required in forensic investigations as well as analytical instruments, microscopy and the English legal system
  • find out how the acquisition of crime scene evidence is studied as well as genetic identification.

Why choose this course?

  • It is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).
  • You will be eligible for admission as an Associate Member of the RSC (AMRSC) when you graduate.
  • Studying Forensic Science will give you key practical skills. You will take part in crime scene investigation workshops and learn how to process crime scene evidence in the laboratory.
  • Your study will follow a crime-scene-to-court approach to forensic analysis.
  • You'll get free student membership to the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences as well as personal protection equipment (PPE) and lab coats.
  • You'll have the option to do a 12-month work placement.

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:

What our students say

"NTU was my first choice because the course covers a wide range of topics, runs guest lectures / talks and has an emphasis on practical experience. This included the use of the crime scene house and the opportunity to include a placement year. I was lucky enough to be the first person to go to the Forensic Institute in Krakow, Poland for my placement.

"Upon graduating in 2008 with a first in Forensic Science, I was immediately employed by Scottish Police Services Authority's (SPSA) Forensic Services in Edinburgh as a forensic technician. Two years later I became a forensic examiner (drugs) and then for the last year and a half I've been in my current role."

Joni Walker, BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
Now working as a Forensic / Reporting Scientist (toxicology)

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.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the ULP.

  • Year One

    Forensic Biology and Microscopy

    Gain an introduction into the key areas that underpin the complex biological aspects of forensic science. You will learn about optical and electron microscopy using forensic specific equipment.

    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.

    Introduction to Forensic Analysis

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

    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.

    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

    Crime Scene Investigation and Image Processing

    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.

    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.

    Legal Issues in the Criminal Justice System

    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.

    Criminalistics

    Develop an awareness of the application of criminalistics techniques 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.

    Forensic Toxicology: Methods and Applications

    You will build and develop on the information presented in forensic chemistry and introduction to forensic analysis. You will be introduced to the concepts, methods and applications of analytical techniques used in forensic toxicology and in the wider forensic science context.

  • Year Three

    Optional year-long work placements are available.

  • Final year

    Drugs of Abuse

    This module focuses on drugs of abuse and illustrates the forensic applications of a range of analytical techniques. Learn about
    the legislation covering substances and their classifications.

    Research Project

    You will develop research skills required for independent final year study: formulating a research question, conducting a literature
    review and making a critical appraisal of published research work.

    Genetics 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.

    Choose from the following optional modules:

    Advanced Crime Scene Investigation

    Learn about specialist recovery techniques for evidence types and enhance your knowledge of evidence interpretation and scene management.

    Ballistics and Firearms

    You will gain an essential grounding in the physical process involved in weapons discharge, different types of ammunition, firearms and the physical interactions of the projectile and target.

    Forensic Archaeology and Paleopathology

    The analysis of skeletal material including its identification, ageing, sexing, cause and manner of death are practically considered alongside related aspects such as human evolution and environmental reconstruction.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught

You will be assessed on a variety of components, including:

coursework and practical

  • assignments
  • dissertation
  • group projects
  • case studies
  • oral presentations
  • laboratory assessments
  • reports

written

  • exams
  • written tests

Assessment methods

Year 1 - coursework (56%), written (37%), and practical (7%)

Year 2 - coursework (67%) and written (33%)

Year 3 - coursework (58%), written (40%), and practical (2%)

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

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 (31%) and independent study (69%)

Year 3 - lectures/seminars/workshops (33%) and independent study 67(%)

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

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 graduates have achieved the following careers:

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

Excellent placement opportunities

You will have the opportunity to undertake a year's work placement in industry in the second year. This will give you the chance to gain vital experience and put your knowledge into practice. Recent placement salaries have ranged from £10,000 to £35,000 and many students impress their placement employers so much they are offered jobs upon graduation.

Recent Forensic Science students have secured placements in companies including:

Fifteen Forensic Science students opted to do a placement between 2011 and 2012.

At the end of my second year of study I was lucky enough to be awarded a prestigious internship with Interpol, the world’s largest international police organisation.

Interpol facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organisations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime. My placement consisted of a six month internship at the DNA and Identification Unit based in Lyon, France.

I was really excited about my placement and the experience gained from working life and living in a foreign country.

Claire Dennis, BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
Placement: Interpol

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBB, including Biology and Chemistry OR
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM, including relevant Biology and Chemistry modules OR
  • 120 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade B equivalent in Biology and Chemistry AND
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade 4 (C).

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.

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBB, including Biology and Chemistry OR
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM, including relevant Biology and Chemistry modules OR
  • 120 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including an A-level grade B equivalent in Biology and Chemistry AND
  • GCSEs – English, Maths and Science grade 4 (C).

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.

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.

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.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Once our 2018/19 fees have been set, they will be available on our fees and funding pages.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

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

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

Science and Technology course enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 8351