Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years
£9,250 per year* (2020/21)
£14,045 per year (2020/21)
120 (September 2020 entry)
Kedleston Road, Derby Campus
Become a highly skilled and confident forensic scientist, fully prepared to investigate crime scenes, analyse evidence and present findings in court.
- Forensic Science at Derby is ranked in the Top 10 for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2019 and Top 10 for student experience according to the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018
- Forensic Science at Derby is ranked third in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching, Guardian University Guide 2020
- Study a programme which sets high professional standards: this course is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
- Work alongside forensic scientists, fingerprint experts, police officers, lawyers and judges to gain real insights into all aspects of the profession
- Hone your skills in authentic environments including our high-specification forensic laboratories and courtrooms
- Gain hands-on experience of mock investigations with our Forensic Training Facility and crime scene cars
- You will have the opportunity to undertake a year-long placement in a forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories with our partner East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU)
- Choose optional modules in chemistry and become eligible for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Separate the facts from the fiction on this dynamic course. We will fuel your passion for a forensic science career in a way that TV shows like CSI cannot match.
From crime scene to courtroom
Harnessing our exceptional facilities, you’ll be guided through the full range of forensic practices and processes – from crime scene analysis to presenting evidence in court.
You’ll investigate mock crime scenes including break-ins, assaults, vehicles and drug crime. This will help you prepare for the diverse scenarios that you are likely to encounter throughout your career.
Using the latest biological and analytical equipment, you’ll have the opportunity to develop high-level skills in areas such as fingerprint, drug, DNA, bodily fluids and blood pattern analysis. You can also explore how entomology, anthropology and taphonomic processes can assist forensic investigations, and there is the opportunity to observe a post mortem.
Our course even includes practice in delivering evidence in court: you’ll present your findings in our newly refurbished courtroom and will be cross-examined by barristers just as you would be in the world of work.
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.
Depending on the optional modules you choose, you could also be eligible for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC).
Investigate our Forensic Training Facility
Forensic science is a hands-on discipline so we provide a stimulating learning environment for you to develop key practical skills and techniques.
Our custom-designed Forensic Training Facility, which opened in 2015, is used to create scenarios in different domestic and commercial settings, including a bedroom, bathroom, garage, office, store and pharmacy. It also features a blood pattern analysis room.
The house is fitted with state-of-the-art digital surveillance including panoramic CCTV recording and equipment for two-way audio feedback. You’ll be able to work on crime scenarios independently while tutors monitor your progress in real time from a control room.
The building was designed to such a precise specification that it is regularly used by external clients such as the emergency services for their own staff training. We also have two crime scene cars donated by Toyota Manufacturing UK.
This is an applied science course based on subjects such as organic chemistry and molecular biology, so it teaches you to be highly analytical.
We boast dedicated forensic, biological and chemical laboratories featuring modern instrumentation where you can put your theoretical knowledge into practice. You will also have access to our well-equipped imaging suite and insectary.
If you choose our Forensic Anthropology module, you will also work with a variety of archaeological specimens including Anglo Saxon skeletons loaned to us by Derby Museum.
Strong employer links
We work in close partnership with Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU). These collaborations open up exciting opportunities for you and help make your learning experience as realistic as possible.
You’ll benefit, for instance, from the expertise of visiting police forensic trainers on projects in our crime scene house and you’ll take part in interactive fire demonstrations at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Training Station.
We also offer the opportunity for you to undertake a placement with EMSOU in their forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories.
Learn from an expert team
Our staff are supportive, approachable and passionate about their subjects. In addition to their academic expertise, they have nearly 30 years of commercial forensic experience between them.
You’ll be taught by active researchers conducting important studies into fields such as entomology, forensic photography, anthropology, taphonomy, drug analysis, fingerprint detection and enhancement techniques, blood pattern analysis and fire investigations.
Visiting speakers will share their experiences with you and help you learn more about latest developments in forensics. There are opportunities to hear from other criminal justice professionals too, such as police officers, lawyers and judges.
Conduct your own research
For your final-year research project, you will have the chance to focus on the area which interests you most. Our students have undertaken fascinating investigations into everything from ballistics and trace detection of explosives to forensic photography and document analysis to entomotoxicology and analysis of new psychoactive substances.
We support you to share your research through high-profile conferences or forensic journals. Such activities can raise your profile as a talent of the future, helping you to stand out in a highly competitive job market.
Our students and graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards from organisations like FIRN, Royal Society of Chemistry and the Fingerprint Society, or to present innovative projects at the Houses of Parliament.
3rdin the UK for student satisfaction with teaching*
You’ll study modules such as:
- 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
- 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
Industrial Placement Year (optional)
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
- 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.
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.
September 2020 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|UCAS points||120 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
At least a C in Biology and/or Chemistry at A-level (or equivalent qualification). This also includes Applied Science, a BTEC Science subject or Access Science.
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DDM
- Access to HE Diploma - 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
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.
£9,250 per year*
£1,155 per module*
£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
Forensic science at Derby gives you a solid foundation for success in a challenging and pioneering profession. You could pursue your career in the forensic science sector, criminal justice system, insurance companies or any industry where a good science degree is invaluable.
Our graduates now work in roles such as scenes of crime officers, analytical chemists, forensic laboratory technicians, forensic intelligence analysts, microbiologists and PCR analysts. They are employed by police forces as well as companies like SOCOTEC, Cellmark, Minerva Scientifics, Rolls-Royce, Lubrizol and LGC Forensics.
This course has a strong reputation for producing highly employable graduates: in one of many success stories, graduate Natalie Harrison secured a position as a toxicology analyst within a week of finishing her final exam.
The degree also provides a firm foundation for postgraduate level learning. As it is 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 students also go on to teaching careers within secondary or further education after studying our PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training) qualification.
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.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
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
- You will receive a dissection kit, laboratory coat and crime scene suit
- Access to specialist software: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS)
- Travel and entrance fees covered for fieldtrips where suitable/possible to examine fire scenes and observe a post mortem examination
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Most assignments are submitted through an online platform but due to the nature of the course, you will need to submit several hard-copy submissions such as portfolios and case files
- In your final year, you will need to submit a printed and bound Independent study (dissertation) - to print is approximately 5p per sheet, to bind is approximately £6
Optional costs not included in your fees
- In addition to the dissection kit we provide, some students like to create their own forensic toolkit to support crime scene work - cost is dependent on the items you choose to purchase
- All recommended books are available in our library, however you may wish to purchase optional textbooks or e-books to support your studies - costs for these are dependent on your choice
- This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Science and so you can become an associate member whilst you are studying
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.