BSc in Forensic Science

General

Program Description

BSc Forensic Science

On our Forensic Science degree, you'll develop your scientific expertise as well as advanced analytical, problem-solving and transferable skills. The course is ideal if you're interested the application of science within the criminal justice system.

Course outline

This course - accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences - will prepare you for a career in crime scene investigation, forensic labs, technical management, consultancy, research, and development or media and public service.

The course is very practically orientated so you'll have the chance to put theory into practice. You'll get hands-on use of a wide range of instruments and techniques covering all areas of forensic science. These may include:

  • Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)
  • DNA profiling
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Blood spatter analysis
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

In Year 1, you'll learn about the intricacies of crime scene investigation and the importance of preservation of evidence. You'll cover relevant biological and chemical principles as well as photography and other crime scene documenting techniques.

In Year 2, you'll focus on analysis and measurement. You'll also expand on the principles of criminalistic methods, forensic chemistry, forensic biology and DNA profiling. You'll develop your research and communication skills and in many of your practical exercises, you'll work in small teams.

In your final year, you'll get to put your forensic knowledge into practice by working in teams on simulated scenes in our crime scene house. You'll also carry out an in-depth independent research project in a current forensic field.

You'll be assessed via seen and unseen exams, portfolios, laboratory reports, group and individual presentations, role plays and poster presentations.

If you would like to study this degree but your current qualifications do not meet our entry requirements for degree level study, our Forensic Science with a Foundation Year is available.

Graduate destinations

Graduates from our Forensic Science degree have secured roles such as forensic scientists at national providers such as Key Forensics and LGC, scenes of crime officers for various police forces, forensic technicians, and fingerprint analysts. Some graduates have gone on to postgraduate study.

Entry requirements

Typical UCAS Offer: 280 points to include a grade C in Biology or Chemistry A level; BTEC: DMM, must be a science-based course. All applicants are individually assessed.

Accreditation

By undertaking this course you will be completing a course that is fully accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences is the professional body for the forensic field, more details on the society, and membership can be found on Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences web site.

Staffordshire University was one of the first four institutions to obtain accreditation. The accreditation scheme was developed by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences to help establish and maintain standards of education in forensic science. The development involved major employers and professional interests. It is based on a series of component standards which address specific areas of forensic practice. There is a requirement for all accredited courses to meet the Crime Scene Investigation, Laboratory Analysis, and Interpretation, Evaluation, and Presentation of Evidence components.

Teaching and learning

In recognition of the different ways students learn, over the course of your degree, you will be taught using a variety of learning and teaching strategies, which include lectures, project supervision, demonstrations, tutorials, practical classes, and workshops. During your course, where possible, you will be given the opportunity to put into practice that which you learn in theory. At levels 4 and 5 you undertake practical work and demonstrations alongside your theory classes. This, in turn, exposes you to a variety of processes and equipment types you may make use of in future careers. Level 4 focuses on the delivery of principles and concepts relating to chemical, biological and forensic elements. Lectures and practical sessions are often supported by small group tutorials. Your average class contact will be 12-14 hours per teaching week at this level. Level 5 develops your skills and knowledge gained at level 4, by introducing more equipment/technology focused laboratory classes and workshops. This is achieved through the use of split group practice sessions. Level 5 will also see a change of learning focus to a more student-centered, independent style with average class contact of 10- 13 hours per teaching week. There is an even greater shift of emphasis to student-centered, independent study in your final year. Due to this, Level 6 does not contain laboratory-based group practicals, but you will need to organize laboratory sessions to successfully complete your Independent Project. You will also further develop your time management, team working and problem-solving skills through processing of mock crime scenes and subsequent evidence analysis.

This level also allows you to select combinations of options modules to develop potential career paths. Average contact hours (including project time) will be 10-12 hours per teaching week. In conjunction with the tutor-led sessions, the directed study supports and builds upon the knowledge and skills learned in class to provide a fuller understanding of the subject. Personal and module tutors are on hand to provide support to students to discuss queries. The curriculum is structured so that skills and knowledge developed in core modules can be transferred, re-applied and further developed the between levels. Regular meetings are built into the personal tutorial system and personal development planning to ensure that students constantly reflect upon, adapt and enhance their learning.

Assessment

The Department of Forensic and Crime Science employs an innovative range of assessments including essays, examinations, poster presentations, reports, laboratory notes, data worksheets, oral presentations, and role-play exercises. This is to: ensure that learning outcomes are tested in the most appropriate way, reflect the sorts of tasks you may be asked to undertake in your future career, and recognize that learners have different abilities. Although the practice and skills-based nature of forensic science and its delivery at Staffordshire University mean that some emphasis is placed on coursework, formal examinations and class tests are also used to assess knowledge-based and problem-solving elements across all levels. Please see module descriptors for a full breakdown of the assessment requirement for each of the core modules you will take during the course - module descriptors can be searched for through the following web address, using the module codes listed in the programme specification: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/current/student/modules/

Employment opportunities

This course has been designed in conjunction with practitioners and professionals within the forensic arena to give you the skills and knowledge required to seek employment within the forensic field. You will have developed skills in biological and chemical applications to forensic science alongside criminalistic methods and crime scene processing. This, in addition to the Forensic Science Society accreditation, gives you a sound foundation to pursue a career in many areas of forensic science. We have graduates who have gone on to find employment in the many facets of forensic science from scenes of crime officers to DNA analysts to exhibits officers to scientists in overseas forensic laboratories to insurance company loss adjusters. The skills and knowledge developed over the course not only equip you to find employment within a forensic context but also within traditional science environments as well. We have graduates who have secured employment as water quality chemists, hospital pathology laboratory technicians, a polymer chemist, pharmaceutical chemist, occupational hygienist, laboratory coordinator, as well as going into science teaching and postgraduate study at both MSc and Ph.D. level. In addition, the team working, problem-solving, communication and time management skills you develop also mean you are able to seek employment in areas outside of science, such as human resources and recruitment.

Key features

  • Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Science.
  • On-campus crime scene house complete with CCTV monitoring.
  • Learn from professional forensic scientists and crime scene investigators.
Last updated Feb 2018

About the School

Since 1914 we have offered vocationally inspired education relevant for the age. Back then our focus was on mining and ceramics. But times have changed and we have too. Now we’re delivering everything ... Read More

Since 1914 we have offered vocationally inspired education relevant for the age. Back then our focus was on mining and ceramics. But times have changed and we have too. Now we’re delivering everything from Computer Games Design to Forensic Science. Read less
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