Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

72 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BSc (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Interested in taking your first steps towards a career in forensic science – one of the most pioneering professions of all? Achieve your ambitions by embarking on this dynamic four-year course which includes a foundation year.

The Chartered Society of Forensic Science Accreditation Logo


Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more

Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.

Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.

Sanita Nezirovic, Leader in Forensic Science with Criminology, discusses her involvement, as an anthropologist, in profiling a Bronze Age skeleton recently discovered in Northumbria

View Sanita's Skeleton Profiling video transcript

Professional Recognition

The high quality of this BSc (Hons) degree is reflected in its accreditations from professional bodies. We have full accreditation from The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, which means you can be confident our teaching meets exacting standards. Our Forensic Science courses were praised by the CSFS for their link to industry standards and relevant curriculum, our student-centred approach, employment experience available, our excellent facilities and accessibility for our students to engage with real-life cases.

Separate fact from fiction

Forget what you’ve seen in TV programmes like CSIPrime Suspect and Silent Witness. At Derby you’ll learn how real crime scene investigators go about their work – and you’ll be fully equipped to join the next generation of forensic science professionals. 

From crime scene analysis to presenting evidence in court, our expert teaching team will guide you through the entire range of forensic practices and processes, standing you in good stead for the diverse challenges you’ll face in your career.

In our exceptional training facilities, you’ll investigate mock crime scenes including break-ins, assaults, vehicles and drug crime.  Using the latest biological and analytical equipment, you’ll study how every contact leaves a trace such as fingerprints, DNA, bodily fluids and blood pattern analysis. You can also explore how entomology, anthropology, analytical chemistry and taphonomic processes can assist forensic investigations, and there is an opportunity to observe a post mortem.

In addition, we foster your skills and confidence in delivering evidence in court: you’ll present your findings in our courtroom and will be cross-examined by barristers, exactly as you would be in the world of work.

Get hands-on in our Forensic Training Facility

One of the highlights of this course is the chance for you to build impressive practical techniques in our custom-designed . You will investigate a range of ‘crime’ scenarios in different domestic and commercial settings, including a bedroom, bathroom, garage, office, store and pharmacy.

The building, which also features a blood pattern analysis room, was designed to such a high specification that it is used by external clients such as the emergency services for their own training purposes.

State-of-the-art digital surveillance, including panoramic CCTV recording and equipment for two-way audio feedback, means that you can work on crime scenarios independently while tutors monitor your progress in real time from a control room.

To add an extra dimension to your studies, our resources also include two crime scene cars donated by Toyota Manufacturing UK.

Skills at the cutting edge

Employers are seeking forensics professionals who are, above all, highly analytical. Ours is an applied science course designed to match their needs and expectations, so you will gain a strong grounding in subjects such as analytical chemistry and molecular biology.

You will spend significant amounts of time putting your theoretical knowledge to the test in our well-resourced forensic, biological and chemical laboratories featuring modern instrumentation. You will also have access to our well-equipped imaging suite and insectary.

Students who choose our Forensic Anthropology module will also work with a variety of archaeological specimens including Anglo Saxon skeletons loaned by Derby Museum.

Benefit from our employer partnerships

Thanks to our strong links with employers, we can make your learning experience even more authentic, realistic and meaningful. We have long-established associations with Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU) which will inspire and motivate you.

You could, for example, find yourself taking part in interactive fire demonstrations at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Training Station or learning from the police forensic trainers who use our crime scene house for their projects. Some of our students take the opportunity to go on placement in the forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories at EMSOU.

3rdin the UK for student satisfaction with teaching**Guardian University Guide 2020

Learn from an expert team

With almost 30 years of commercial forensic experience between them, our staff will give you vital insights into every aspect of the profession. They are not only highly knowledgeable but also enthusiastic, supportive and dedicated to your success.

Their research expertise spans fields such as entomology, forensic photography, drug analysis, anthropology, taphonomy, fingerprint detection and enhancement techniques, blood pattern analysis and fire investigations.

This course also benefits from the input of visiting speakers who have their fingers on the pulse of the latest developments and ideas in forensic science. To broaden your perspectives, we welcome other criminal justice professionals too, such as police officers, lawyers and judges.

Pioneer high-profile research

From ballistics and trace detection of explosives to forensic photography and document analysis to entomotoxicology and analysis of new psychoactive substances – our students have undertaken practical investigations into some of the key challenges facing today’s forensic experts.

You will have the chance to add your own voice to the debate by conducting a final-year research project on a theme that interests you most. You could then share your findings through external conferences or forensic journals.  Such activities represent an exciting opportunity to network with other professionals and raise your profile. Some of our former students have scooped prestigious awards from organisations like FIRN, Royal Society of Chemistry and the Fingerprint Society, or have been invited to present their ideas at the Houses of Parliament.

What you will study

You’ll study modules such as:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Study Skills in Science
  • Research Methods and Data Handling
  • Foundation in Forensic Science
  • Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Principles of Cellular Biology
  • Principles of Chemistry

If you already have level 2 English and Maths, you will not be required to take English and Maths core modules.

  • Induction Module - This module is designed to prepare students for the undergraduate programmes by providing an online environment in which students can become proficient in the skills required for Higher Education study
  • Genetics‌ - You will gain a broad introduction to, and basic understanding of, the key concepts in classical and molecular genetics
  • Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation - You will be introduced to the fundamental concepts, techniques and processes used in the examination, documentation and analysis of the crime scene and specialist examinations
  • Introduction to Forensic Chemistry‌ - This module covers core aspects of chemical theory and practical techniques that form an important foundation for forensic chemical analysis
  • Introduction to Forensic Science‌ - You will be provided with a broad introduction to the fundamental concepts, techniques and processes used in the collection, processing, analysis and storage of forensic evidence and data
  • Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice for Forensic Science‌ - You will gain a broad introduction to English Criminal Justice, the Police and Crime Scene Support, the Expert Witness and providing evidence to the court, basic statistics for Forensic Scientists to evaluate evidential value as well as an understanding of the key concepts of classical and contemporary criminology
  • Chemistry of Life - You will be introduced to the basic concepts of chemistry and how molecules are used in the functioning of the cell unit and its biochemical processes
  • Preparing for Independent Research - The module will prepare students for their Independent Studies research project undertaken at level 6 and deliver important information regarding research design and ethics
  • Crime Scene to Court‌ - Students will develop the skills necessary for the full investigation of the crime scene, laboratory examination through to the presentation of this evidence in a court room scenario
  • Molecular Biology - You'll develop an understanding of the molecular basis of fundamental biological and forensic processes, such as transcription and translation
  • Forensic Analysis‌ - You will develop an understanding of the core analytical chemistry techniques used in the identification and quantification of substances of forensic interest
  • Trace Evidence‌ - This module gives the student insight into how trace evidence is used in forensic investigation

Optional modules:

  • Analytical Chemistry‌ - This module introduces you to some of the methods used for quantitative chemical analysis, with reference to their relevance in forensic science
  • Forensic Anthropology‌ - Using skeletal remains to assist in human identification this module provides an introduction to the practice of Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Imaging‌ - This module develops the student’s ability to use a wide range of imaging scientific techniques and modalities to analyse and record forensic evidence
  • Wildlife Crime and Forensic Entomology - You will gain specialist knowledge of two fields of forensic science in relation to non-human evidence

This course offers an ‘Industrial Placement Year’ giving you the opportunity to enhance your practical skills by putting theory into practice, network in your industry and stand-out in the graduate job market. The placement year takes place in your third year, once completed, you would return to University to complete your final year of studies.

  • Applied Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice
  • Independent Studies for Forensic Science - You will undertake an independent piece of work of your choosing (subject to approval). This module is a continuation of personal skill development initiated in Stages 4 and 5
  • Serious and Organised Crime - Using recent forensic research, police protocols, guides and criminal law, students will study current approaches and techniques in serious and organised crime investigation
  • Professional Practice‌ - You will act as a professional Forensic Scientist in various aspects of the profession including Crime Scene Investigation, Laboratory manager and evidence examination, Pre-trial and court appearance as an Expert Witness

Optional modules:

  • Medical Forensics‌ - This module provides an overview of processes that occur after death and how they can be used to give temporal, causal and trace evidence in forensic investigations
  • Toxicology and Drugs of Abuse‌ - This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the multidisciplinary field of toxicology, from the biological and biochemical processes which occur when a poison is administered to the chemical analysis of toxicological samples
  • The Human Genome‌ - We take a tour around the human genome, you will learn how it can be used and applied to answer questions ranging from human evolution to forensic biology
  • Vocational Module - The student has freedom to select an appropriate host organisation to undertake a placement within a company, voluntary body or public establishment

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Smiling girl with scarf sitting in cafe with cup of coffee

Find out more about Forensic Science

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Open DayBook your Open Day

How you will learn

Our course provides a variety of learning experiences to engage you, including crime scene training, lectures, practical sessions and fieldtrips, including the opportunity to observe a post-mortem.

You’ll be assessed through a range of mediums, including, but not limited to, formal witness statements and expert testimony, case studies, essays, laboratory reports, portfolios, examinations and presentations.

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSE

GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at L2 as part of your course of study.

IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*



£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


With a Forensic Science degree from Derby under your belt, you will have a head start in a challenging and fascinating profession. You could pursue your career  not only in the forensic science sector and criminal justice system, but also insurance companies or any industry where a good science degree is invaluable.

Derby graduates now work as scenes of crime officers, analytical chemists, forensic laboratory technicians, forensic intelligence analysts, microbiologists and PCR analysts. They are realising their potential with police forces as well as companies like SOCOTEC, Cellmark, Minerva Scientifics, Rolls-Royce, Lubrizol and LGC Forensics.

This degree also paves the way to postgraduate level learning. As an applied science course, it equips you to progress to qualifications in medicine and can pave the way to MSc, MRes, MPhil or PhD study. Some of our students are now enjoying teaching careers within secondary or further education after completing our PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training) qualification.

Adam Long conducting a fingerprint examination in the Forensics lab

Adam Long
Programme leader

Adam Long is the Undergraduate Programme Coordinator for Forensic Science at the University of Derby and teaches across all levels, with particular interest and expertise in fingerprints, their capture and comparison. Adam also sits on Governing Council for The Chartered Society of Forensic Science and is the main point of contact for the Fingerprint Working Group.

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Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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