Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years
£9,250 per year (2023/24)
£14,900 per year (2023/24)
112-120 (September 2024 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.
- You'll have the chance to hone your skills in our range of forensic facilities, including our Forensic Training Facility, specialist forensic laboratories, specialist imaging suite, insectary, forensic anthropology suite, photography suite, vehicles, clandestine burial site, courtroom, and ballistics laboratory
- 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
- Gain practical experience through placements and internships. Benefit from our partnership with East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU) by undertaking an optional placement year
- Choose optional modules in chemistry and become eligible for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry
- The content of this course is aligned to the priorities of global initiatives, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals where ‘Peace and Justice’ is highlighted as a priority
6thfor graduate prospects*
11thfor student satisfaction*
Top5for career prospects*
Top20for Forensic Science*
Forensic Science at Derby
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.
The world is rapidly changing, with ever more sophisticated methods required to solve crimes. Harnessing our specialist 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, road accidents, and drug and computer crime. 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. 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.
You'll work alongside forensic scientists, fingerprint experts, renowned researchers, police officers, lawyers and judges for current and fresh perspectives on the role of the forensic scientist.
Our staff are supportive, approachable and passionate about their subjects. In addition to their academic expertise, they have 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. Find out more about our teaching team below:
- Dr Ana Flavia Belchoir de Andrade: Ana is a Biologist, with a Master's degree and PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a former Forensic Expert. She has previous experience in the Federal District Civil Police in Brazil as a Manager in the Forensic Drug Laboratory and a Forensic Expert in both crime scene investigation and laboratory analysis. She has developed research in forensic biology, analytical and forensic chemistry and crime scene investigation for more than ten years.
- Dr Sebastien Moret: Sebastien’s area of research is finger mark detection and he focuses on the use of silicon oxide nanoparticles to detect finger marks, as well as other types of nanoparticles. He also endeavours to further our fundamental understanding of latent finger mark detection techniques. He also has a broad interest in anything related to forensic science and is currently investigating the use of drones in crime scene investigation, as well as various imaging techniques to reconstruct crime scenes in 3D.
- Dr Samantha Drake: Samantha teaches a broad range of chemistry topics, particularly those relating to the analysis of samples of forensic interest. She has a number of research interests relating to the application of analytical chemistry to real world challenges. These include the chiral analysis of drugs of abuse to provide an enhanced chemical profile for determining their source; and the analysis of volatile organic compounds produced during post-mortem decay.
- Dr Louise Robinson: Louise key teaching area is Molecular Biology with a specialism in Wildlife Forensics. Her current research lies within the areas of gamification, genetic methods of species identification and behavioural studies of wandering larvae relating the estimation of post-mortem interval. Louise collaborates with local authorities and national agencies in order to identify key issues faced by Rural and Wildlife Crime Officers and how they may be overcome.
- Dr Kate Barnes: Kate is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Biology and teach on the Forensic Science, Biology and Zoology undergraduate programmes. Her research interests are within the field of Forensic Ecology and exploring insect-microbe interactions in the corpse environment and assessing the effect of environmental conditions on blow fly behaviour.
- David Bryson: David’s passions lie within science and photography. Professionally he covers cases requiring medicolegal or personal injury photography for solicitors primarily for plaintiffs but also for defence. His research interests are in scientific, medico-legal and forensic photography, human identification, history of medicine including: 'History of acromegaly and gigantism' and 'Use of photography in medicine'.
- Dr Kori Filipek: Kori has numerous research interests including human identification and recovery, forensic and archaeological multi-isotope analyses of human tissues, trace element and analyses of human tissues.
Visiting speakers will also 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.
Our purpose-built Forensic Training Facility includes several domestic and commercial crime scenes, including a bedroom, lounge, garage, office, and a commercial area such, as a pharmacy or pub. It also features a blood pattern analysis room used for both teaching and research. The house is fitted with state-of-the-art digital surveillance including panoramic CCTV and equipment for two-way audio recording, and live feedback during your investigations.
Other facilities include an osteology lab for skeletal study, a wet forensic lab, a darkroom for specialised light searching, an entomology lab for insect investigation, a Clandestine Burial site, a ballistics laboratory, replica courtroom for presenting evidence, two crime scene cars, and forensic imaging facilities.
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.
This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, so you can be sure that the quality of our teaching, and the content of our course is of the highest standard. Depending on the optional modules you choose, you could also be eligible for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC).
Strong employer links
We work in close partnership with Derbyshire Constabulary 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. Previous site visits and demonstrations have included interactive fire demonstrations at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Training Station and mock scenarios with the Rail Accident Investigations Branch.
You’ll benefit from the expertise of visiting police forensic trainers on projects in our crime scene house and 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.
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.
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.
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.
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Find out more about personal academic tutoring
These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2024 entry. Contextual offers may apply to students who meet certain criteria.
|What we're looking for
|BBB-BBC (At least a grade C in either Biology, Human Biology or Chemistry (or equivalent qualification). This also includes Applied Science, a BTEC Science subject or Access Science)
|Merit in Science
|GCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification
|Access to HE
|Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15, Merit: 24, Pass: 6. Must include passes in compulsory Level 3 subjects
English language requirements
IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)
How to apply
Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.
If you are in Year 13 and applying for a full-time undergraduate course (including our joint honours courses), we recommend that you apply through UCAS.Apply through UCAS
If you are applying to study part-time, or already have your qualifications, or wish to join at Year 2 or 3, you should apply directly to the University.Apply directly to the University
Forensic science at Derby gives you a solid foundation for success in a challenging 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
- 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 Secondary (Schools Direct) or PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training) qualification.
Through our Professional Development Package, you'll gain valuable transferable skills, including:
- Written and verbal communication
- Research and analytical
- Personal motivation, organisation and self-reflection
- IT literacy
- Critical awareness
Careers and Employment Service
To boost your employment skills, you can access the University's Careers and Employment Service. The team can connect you with employers to help find opportunities for work placements, part-time jobs, and volunteering. Our careers consultants are also on hand to guide you through the career options for your degree, CV writing, or starting your own business - and we commit to helping you for three years after you graduate to find a job.
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
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.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
- You will receive goggles and a laboratory coat
- All equipment and consumables needed for your experimental/ fieldwork are provided by the University. This is subject to the type of project and consumables being approved by your programme leader
- If a DBS check is needed for the purposes of a module or programme related work placement, this is included in your fee if done via the University
- Access to specialist software: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS)
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 crime reports, portfolios and case files
- Additionally you are expected to produce a poster which would cost around £15
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Recommended textbooks - approximate cost is £100
- If a DBS check is needed for the purposes of a module or programme related work placement (Summer research internships offered on a competitive basis to second year students. You can also take a work placement credit-bearing module at Level 6, though you will need to find your own placement)
- Travel to work experience/placements - cost is dependent on your placement venue of choice
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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