Two students working in the crime scene house at UWE Bristol.


Forensic Science (with Foundation Year)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Applied Sciences
Four years
Programme leader:
Helen Green (Acting)
Key fact:
Forensic Science at UWE Bristol will give you the academic knowledge, practical experience and first-class professional skills to fast-track your future.

Page last updated 22 September 2017


Why study BSc(Hons) Forensic Science?

Forensic scientists apply scientific analysis to criminal and civil investigations, producing evidence admissible in a court of law. This 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?

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 and have 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 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 to 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



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 as you would for court and then face questioning on this in a mock courtroom.

Foundation Year) (Year zero)

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Biology in Practice
  • Chemistry in Practice
  • Skills for Science
  • People and Science.

You will study the Foundation year alongside students from our other Biological, Biomedical and Analytical Sciences courses, and therefore may be able to transfer to a course in one of these areas at the end of the Foundation year.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year zero modules before progressing to Year one.

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:

  • Molecular Genetics and Instrumental Analytical Science, leading to BSc Forensic Science
  • Molecular Genetics and Forensic Biology leading to BSc Forensic Science (Biology)
  • Medicinal Chemistry and Instrumental Analytical Science leading to BSc Forensic Science (Chemistry).

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Research Experimental Project or Dissertation Project
  • Interpretation of Forensic Evidence.

Plus one or two of the optional modules from the list below:

  • Advanced Analytical Science
  • Genomic Technologies
  • Medical Genetics.

Plus up to two of the following:

  • Environmental Forensics
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Science Communication.

A good balanced Forensic Science degree can be obtained by studying one Biology and one Chemistry option in Year two, with all options for subjects in your final year remaining possible.

Alternatively, you may choose a specialist route in Years two and three, which can result in the use of descriptors in your degree title: 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:

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

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 takes place through lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory work. As a Department we have long-established links with Avon and Somerset Constabulary Scientific Investigations and a local Home Office Forensic Pathologist, meaning you will benefit from guest lectures from professionals covering a range of aspects of forensic science.

Dedicated computer rooms and the Digital technology Suite are used for the development of students' ICT skills, including the use of Second Life for forensic investigations in the virtual world. 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 the final year, you will search a scene, examine the evidence, write a report as you would for court and then face questioning on this in the mock courtroom.

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

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check


Coursework is assessed in all years and there are examinations in all modules, although the assessments in Year one do not contribute to the final degree mark. A variety of assessment methods are used to reflect the range of theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills developed during the course. The project in the final year is assessed.

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

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check



We will encourage you to apply for a paid summer internship 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 fthe subject. You can 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 is a comprehensive programme of laboratory work, lectures, tutorials and workshops and you will 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 a rounded understanding of all areas of forensic science. You will have the opportunity to be part of our thriving Forensic Science Student Society and experience a full calendar of events, with speaker presentations from world-leading practitioners.


Careers / Further study

Graduates are employed in many different types of laboratory roles and a significant number have become science teachers. The scientific problem solving, numerical and communication skills gained in the 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 with the Police Service in a range of roles.

Many of our graduates continue studying, either on a wide range of MSc courses or through research, leading to a PhD. Some have been 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 chemistry

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 you could reasonably expect to incur during your 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: 48
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above 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: Science AS or A2. 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 one A-Level.
  • Specific subjects: Science at GCSE, A or AS-Level
  • Relevant subjects: Maths
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: To include six units in a science subject
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include level 3 credits in Science.
  • Baccalaureate IB: A pass in a higher level science subject.

Entry requirements

The Foundation Year is designed to accept a wide range of people with different educational backgrounds. You will be considered on an individual basis.

If you expect to receive a higher tariff score, you may also be interested in our BSc(Hons) Forensic Science course.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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