A forensics student collecting a blood sample from a mock crime scene.


Forensic Science (with Foundation Year)

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
Five years full-time; six years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Dr Sarah Bateman
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 3 March 2017


Why study MSci Forensic Science?

Forensic scientists apply scientific analysis to criminal and civil investigations, producing evidence that is admissible in a court of law. This is a fascinating and rigorous scientific discipline that builds 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?

MSci 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. In the final year, you will study advanced topics, including practical fire investigation, blood pattern analysis and wildlife forensics, alongside an extended research project.

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. Teaching methods will require you to adopt the roles of various forensic science professionals, including crime scene investigator, laboratory forensic scientist, reporting officer, fire investigator and blood pattern analyst.

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 further study, especially in analytical chemistry or molecular biology.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



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:

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

Plus one of the following module combinations:

  • Instrumental Analytical Science AND Molecular Genetics


  • Forensic Biology AND Medicinal Chemistry.

You will be required to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year in order to progress to the third year of the course. Students that do not achieve this will transfer to the third year of BSc(Hons) qualification.

Year three

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Forensic Project
  • Professional Practices in Applied Sciences*.

Plus at least one of the following module combinations:

  • Advanced Analytical Science AND Forensic Analysis and Toxicology


  • Forensic Biology and Genetics AND Genomics Technologies.

Plus, you may study one from:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Forensic Psychology.

And one from:

  • Environmental Forensics
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Science Communication.

*compulsory module if you choose to go on a placement.

Final year

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Research in Practice
  • Advanced Crime Scene Science
  • Wildlife Forensics
  • Forensic Science and Society.

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. A dedicated Digital Technologies Suite is used for indoor and outdoor crime scene investigations, laboratory analysis and courtroom presentations in the virtual world of Second Life.

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 search a scene, examine the evidence, write a report as you would for court and face questioning on this in the mock courtroom.

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


Coursework is assessed in all years and there are examinations in most 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 that are developed in the course. The project in the final year is assessed.

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



We will encourage you to apply for a paid summer internship or year-long placement in a relevant workplace environment. In your second year, you will also have the chance to apply to spend 12 months abroad, studying at Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA.

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 is 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 a rounded understanding of all areas of forensic science. You will also have the opportunity to be part of our thriving Forensic Science Student Society 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 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 in research, leading to a PhD, and 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

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

Full Time Course with Placement

FeesAmount (£)
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156

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 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: 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

This course 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 achieve a higher tariff score, you may also be interested in our MSci Forensic Science course.

You will be required to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year in order to progress to the third year of the course. Students that do not achieve this will transfer to the third year of BSc(Hons) qualification.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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