Student in forensic suit holding a fingerprint brush and torch.


Forensic Science

Specialist routes available in Biology and Chemistry

Please note the tariff points stated for this course are indicative. The tariff points for 2018 will be published by August 2017.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Applied Sciences
Three years
Programme leader:
Sarah Bateman
Key fact:
Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, BSc(Hons) Forensic Science at UWE Bristol will give you the academic knowledge, practical experience and first-class professional skills that will fast-track your future.

Page last updated 16 June 2017


Why study BSc(Hons) Forensic Science?

Forensic scientists apply scientific analysis to criminal and civil investigations, producing evidence that is admissible in a court of law. It is a fascinating and rigorous scientific discipline that will build your knowledge of biology and chemistry, as well as developing advanced problem-solving, data interpretation and communication skills. From crime scene to laboratory to courtroom, studying Forensic Science will provide you with a springboard into a range of exciting careers within the justice system and beyond.       

Why study our course?

Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, BSc(Hons) Forensic Science has been designed in conjunction with professional forensic scientists to provide a deep understanding of the way scientific disciplines are applied to the investigation of crime. Covering crime scene investigation, laboratory analysis, interpretation and evaluation, as well as the presentation of evidence, the course has a strong practical focus with excellent study facilities and the option to choose specialisms.

Real-world experience

Guest lectures from inspirational professionals cover a range of specialist topics throughout the course. You will be encouraged to undertake summer internships, with the option to apply to study abroad for a year. With access to a wide range of forensic instrumentation in our state-of-the-art laboratories, you will also be able to apply your scientific knowledge at simulated crime scenes in our specially adapted Crime Scene House, presenting your evidence and facing questions in a mock courtroom .

Where it can take you

Our graduates have the knowledge and transferable skills that enable them to progress in many different careers from posts with forensic science providers and the Police Service, to positions as laboratory analysts or science teachers. The skills and confidence gained are invaluable in any profession where an analytical approach to problem-solving is required. Many students go on to postgraduate study, especially in analytical chemistry or molecular biology.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



The course covers three main subject areas:

  • biological sciences, especially DNA analysis and the action of drugs on the body
  • chemical analysis using all major techniques for the examination of inanimate objects
  • Forensic Science topics, such as fingerprinting, document examination and crime scene procedures.

In addition, you will learn about legal aspects of forensic evidence and undertake an independent research project in an area related to Forensic Science. You will search a crime scene at the Crime Scene House, examine the evidence, write a report for court and face questioning on this in a mock courtroom.

Year one

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Chemistry in Context
  • Human Biological Systems
  • Scientific Investigation of Crime
  • Scientific Skills.

 Year two

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Forensic Analysis
  • Law and Expert Evidence
  • Drugs and Toxicology.

Plus one of the following modules:

  • Forensic Biology and Instrumental Analytical Science
  • Molecular Genetics and Medicinal Chemistry.

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Forensic Project
  • Professional Practices in Applied Science*.

Plus one of the following combinations of modules:

  • Advanced Analytical Science and Forensic Analysis and Toxicology


  • Forensic Biology and Genetics and Genomics Technologies.

You can also study one of the following modules:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Forensic Psychology.

Plus one from:

  • Neuropharmacology
  • Science Communication
  • Environmental Forensics.

*compulsory module if choose to go on a placement.

A good balanced Forensic Science degree can be obtained through studying one Biology and one Chemistry option in Year two, while undertaking all options for subjects in Year three remains possible.

Alternatively, you will be able to choose a specialist route in Years two and three, which will result in the use of descriptors in your degree title, such as Forensic Science (Biology) or Forensic Science (Chemistry).

Full advice will be given prior to selection on module choices and their implications for careers and membership of the following professional bodies:

The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences

Royal Society of Chemistry

Society of Biology

We strongly recommend that you become an affiliate (student) member of the relevant professional bodies during your study.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Learning on the course takes place through lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory work. As a Department, we have long-established links with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary Scientific Investigations and a local Home Office Forensic Pathologist, with professionals covering a range of aspects of forensic science giving guest lectures during the course. You will have access to a range of dedicated computer rooms for the development of your ICT skills, including the use of electronic media assisted teaching. There will be an emphasis on problem solving approaches, as this is in the nature of forensic science, together with the importance of the communication of scientific findings. The crime scene house and outdoor crime scene areas will be used and, in your final year, you will have the opportunity to search a scene, examine the evidence, write a report as for court and face questioning on it in the mock courtroom.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.


Your coursework will be assessed in all three years and there will also be examinations in all modules, although the assessments in Year one will not contribute to your final degree mark. A variety of assessment methods will be used to reflect the range of theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills developed during the course. Your Final year project will be assessed.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

BSc(Hons) Forensic Science at UWE Bristol is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences in all the relevant component standards: Crime Scene Investigation, Laboratory Analysis and Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence. We were one of the first universities to be accredited when the scheme started in 2006.


We will encourage you to apply for paid summer internships in a relevant workplace environment.

Study facilities

With an emphasis on problem-solving approaches and the communication of scientific findings, Forensic Science at UWE Bristol focuses on the practical application of forensic science. You will benefit from using a wide range of specialist forensic instrumentation in our cutting-edge science laboratories and conduct crime scene investigations at our specially adapted crime scene house. There's a comprehensive programme of laboratory work, lectures, tutorials and workshops and you will also be able to test your skills using Second Life virtual crime scenes where real criminal cases are digitally recreated.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Making connections

The course establishes strong connections with other faculties - especially Law - to provide you with rounded understanding of all areas of forensic science. You will also have the opportunity to be part of our thriving Forensic Science Student Club and experience a full calendar of events and speaker presentations from world-leading practitioners.


Careers / Further study

Graduates are employed in many different types of laboratory and a significant number become science teachers. The scientific problem solving, numerical and communication skills gained in this degree enable graduates to enter many other sectors, from financial services to the legal profession. Graduates from the Forensic Science courses at UWE Bristol have found careers with some of the country's largest forensic science providers, including LGC Forensics, Orchid Cellmark and Key Forensics, as well as in a range of roles with the Police Service.

Many of our graduates continue studying, either through a wide range of MSc courses or research leading to a PhD, with some inspired by their study of Law at UWE Bristol to change to a career as a barrister, following a one year Law conversion course.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service will help you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Useful links

Guardian - what to do with a degree in chemist

The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year450

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those that students could reasonably expect to incur during their studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 120
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in English Language, Mathematics and Double Science, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: Grade B or above in Biology or Chemistry. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Specific subjects: Biology, Chemistry
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: To include six units in Biology or Chemistry.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 15 level 3 credits at distinction in Biology or Chemistry, and an additional 15 credits at merit in another subject.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A minimum grade of 6 in higher level Biology or Chemistry.

Entry requirements

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for Foundation Year entry into this or other related degree courses.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

UWE Bristol's International College
If you are an international students who does not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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