BSc(Hons) Forensic Science
Please note there are no vacancies on this course for September 2023
Specialist routes available in Biology and Chemistry
Page last updated 14 August 2023
Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, this course gives you a compelling mix of academic knowledge, practical experience and advanced skills to fast-track your career.
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?
BSc(Hons) Forensic Science is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. It 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.
Apply your scientific knowledge at simulated crime scenes in our specially-adapted Crime Scene House. Present evidence and respond to questions in our mock courtroom.
Guest lectures from inspirational professionals will give you insights into specialist topics and you can tailor the degree to suit your specific interests.
You'll be encouraged to do summer internships and placements, and you can apply to spend a year studying abroad.
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. Many students do postgraduate study, particularly in toxicology, forensic anthropology, osteology and archaeology.
Your analytical approach to problem-solving will be just as valued in other sectors, like teaching or the legal profession.
Watch: The learning and teaching experience
The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.
- Chemistry in Context
- Human Biological Systems
- Scientific Investigation of Crime
- Scientific Skills.
- Forensic Analysis
- Law and Expert Evidence
- Drugs and Toxicology.
Plus, one combination of modules from:
- Forensic Biology and Molecular Genetics
- Instrumental Analytical Science and Molecular Genetics
- Instrumental Analytical Science and Medicinal Chemistry.
Placement year (if applicable)
If you study on the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work placement after year two.
You'll complete a placement learning module.
See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.
- Forensic Project.
Plus, one combination of modules from:
- Advanced Analytical Science; and Forensic Analysis and Toxicology
- Forensic Biology and Genetics; and Genomic Technologies.
Plus, one optional module from:
- Pharmacology and Toxicology
- Forensic Psychology
- Professional Practices in Applied Science*.
And one optional module from:
- Science Communication
- Environmental Forensics.
*Compulsory if you do a placement.
You can get a balanced forensic science degree by studying one biology and one chemistry option in year two, and then choosing the options that appeal to you in year three.
Alternatively, you can choose a specialist route in year two and final year, which means you'll have Forensic Science or Forensic Science in your degree title.
We can advise you on which modules to choose and the implications for your career and your membership of the professional bodies.
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'll 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.
Learn about three main areas: biological sciences, especially DNA analysis and the action of drugs on the body; chemical analysis and techniques for examining inanimate objects; and forensic science topics, such as fingerprinting, document examination and crime scene procedures.
You'll also learn about legal aspects of forensic evidence and carry out an independent research project.
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.
Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:
|Year||Scheduled learning and teaching study||Independent study||Placement study|
*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year
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.
We assess all 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.
Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:
|Year||Written exam assessment||Coursework assessment||Practical exam assessment|
*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year
This course 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.
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 paid summer internships and placements in a relevant workplace.
You'll get help to find a placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.
Benefit from specialist forensic equipment in our advanced science laboratories. Conduct crime scene investigations in both our simulation suite and 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 in our mock courtroom.
You'll get hands on in our purpose-built Simulation Suite on Frenchay Campus. This facility comprises of four interactive learning rooms, with video and audio links to breakout rooms, and a mock flat and post office for crime scene simulations. Develop the practical skills needed for your forensic science career, such as documenting and processing a crime scene, interpretation of blood patterns and presenting evidence in court.
Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.
Get a feel for the Forensic Science facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.
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.
Some graduates take their study of law further and complete a one-year law conversion course to become a barrister.
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.
Full Time Course
Indicative Additional Costs
Supplementary fee information
This refers to 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.
We are pleased to confirm that our New students webpages are now available for students starting this course in September 2023. Here you can find links to useful information about registering, course start dates, arriving on campus what to expect before and when you arrive.
We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your Preparing to Study information is available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages.
- Tariff points: 120
- Contextual tariff: See our contextual offers page.
- GCSE: Grade C/4 or above in English Language or Literature, Mathematics and Double Science, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy as alternatives to GCSEs.
- English Language Requirement: International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*). *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Please visit our English language requirements page.
- A-level subjects: Grade B in Biology or Chemistry.
- EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: Six units in Biology or Chemistry. Please list the units you are studying in your application. For further advice on acceptable units, please email us.
For information on required Guided Learning Hours please see our minimum entry requirements page.
- Access: 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction in Biology or Chemistry.
- Baccalaureate IB: A minimum Grade 6 in Higher Level Biology or Chemistry.
- Irish Highers: H2 in Biology or Chemistry.
- T Levels: Science. If you partially achieve your T Level, you can meet our subject requirements if you have at least a C in your Core Section. For further advice on acceptable subjects please email us.
If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be eligible for BSc(Hons) Forensic Science (with Foundation Year).
For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the Country Information pages. If you are an international student and do not meet the academic requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.
If you are applying to study at UWE Bristol and require additional support to meet our English language requirements, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.