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

MSci

Forensic Science (with Foundation Year)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
2018/19
Course code:
F4MF
Applications:
UCAS
Level:
Undergraduate
Tariff points:
48
Department:
Applied Sciences
Campus:
Frenchay
Duration:
Five years full-time; six years sandwich
Delivery:
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Helen Green (Acting)
Key fact:
Get the academic knowledge, practical experience and first-class professional skills that will fast-track your future.

Page last updated 20 October 2017

Introduction

Why study forensic science?

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

It's a fascinating and rigorous scientific discipline that will build your knowledge of biology and chemistry, as well as your advanced problem-solving, data interpretation and communication skills.

Covering crime scenes, laboratory and courtroom work, forensic science offers a springboard into rewarding careers in the justice system and beyond.    

Why UWE Bristol?

MSci Forensic Science was designed with input from professional forensic scientists to give you a deep understanding of the way science is used to investigate crime.

With a strong emphasis on problem-solving and communicating scientific findings, you'll study everything from crime scene investigation and laboratory analysis, to interpreting, evaluating and presenting evidence.

Learn to use forensic instruments in our industry-standard laboratories and apply your scientific knowledge at simulated crime scenes in our specially-adapted Crime Scene House.

Present evidence and respond to questions in a mock courtroom. Practise being in different forensic science roles, including crime scene investigator, laboratory forensic scientist, reporting officer, fire investigator and blood pattern analyst.

Study advanced topics in your final year, such as practical fire investigation, blood pattern analysis and wildlife forensics, alongside an extended research project.

Guest lectures from inspirational professionals will give you insights into specialist topics and you can tailor the degree to suit your specific interests.

We encourage you to do summer internships, and you can apply to study abroad for a year.

Where can it take me?

The knowledge and skills you'll gain will open up lots of career paths.

You could work with forensic science providers or the Police, or as a laboratory analyst or science teacher. Many students do further study or research, particularly in analytical chemistry or molecular biology.

Your analytical approach to problem-solving will be just as valued in other sectors, like financial services or law. 

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Structure

Content

The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year zero (foundation year)

You will study:

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

You normally need to pass your foundation year before going into year one.

Year one

You will study:

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

Year two

You will study:

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

Plus one of these pairs of modules:

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

You'll need to achieve an average grade of 2:1 or above by the end of your second year to go into the third year. Students that don't achieve this will transfer to the third year of our BSc(Hons) qualification.

Placement year (if applicable)

If you study on the six year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after year two.

Depending on which you choose, you'll either complete a placement learning or learning and development module.

See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.

Year three

You will study:

  • Forensic Project.

Plus one optional module set from:

  • Advanced Analytical Science AND Forensic Analysis and Toxicology
  • Genomics Technologies.

Plus one optional module from:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Professional Practices in Applied Sciences*.

And one optional module from:

  • Environmental Forensics
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Science Communication.

Final year

You will study:

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

*Compulsory if you do a placement.

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

Through a balanced mix of lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory work, you'll learn about the practical application of forensic science, and develop strong problem-solving and communication skills.

Test your skills using Second Life virtual crime scenes where real criminal cases are digitally recreated.

Search a crime scene at the Crime Scene House, examine the evidence, write a report for court and face questioning in our mock courtroom.

Attend guest lectures with professionals from forensic science, through our links with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary Scientific Investigations and a local Home Office forensic pathologist.

Learn about the problem solving approaches which sit at the heart of forensic science, and learn how to communicate scientific findings.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Making connections

Drawing on our strong connections with other faculties - especially law you'll get a rounded understanding of all areas of forensic science.

Join our thriving Forensic Science Society, to tap into interesting events and presentations from world-leading practitioners.

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

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check
024%76%0%100%
127%73%0%100%
224%76%0%100%
324%76%0%100%
412%88%0%100%

Assessment

We'll assess your coursework and you'll have examinations in all modules, although the assessments in year one won't contribute to your final degree mark. Your final year project is also assessed.

We use different types of assessment to reflect the range of theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills we cover on the course.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

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

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check
040%60%0%100%
140%50%10%100%
247%50%3%100%
360%34%6%100%
425%75%0%100%

Features

Placements

Students who go on work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you a sought after graduate.

We'll encourage you to apply for a paid summer internship or year-long placement in a relevant workplace.

If you choose the five year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after year two.

You'll get help to find a placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.

Study facilities

Benefit from specialist forensic instrumentation in our advanced science laboratories.

Conduct crime scene investigations at our specially-adapted Crime Scene House and outdoor crime scene area. You'll search a scene, examine the evidence, write a report for court and face questioning on it in our mock courtroom.

Develop your ICT skills, and use electronic learning resources, in our computer rooms.

Conduct indoor and outdoor crime scene investigations, laboratory analysis and courtroom presentations through Second Life simulations in our dedicated Digital Technologies Suite.

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

Careers

Careers / Further study

Forensic science graduates go into varied types of laboratory work, and a significant number become science teachers.

The scientific problem solving, numerical and communication skills you'll gain will also put you in a strong position for working in other sectors, from financial services to law. 

Graduates have gone onto work 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.

Many graduates continue in research leading to a PhD, and others decide to take their study of law further and complete a one-year law conversion course to become a barrister.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

See also:

The Guardian - what to do with a degree in chemistry

Fees

Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Full Time Course with Placement

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094
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

Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.

You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the six year course and then transfer to the five year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.

Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.

Learn more about funding.

Additional costs

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.

Entry

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

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

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information

Unistats

UWE Main Campus

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