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

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

Extend your career scope and enhance your employability on a four-year course which brings together the skills of the forensic scientist and the insights of the criminologist.

The Chartered Society of Forensic Science Accreditation Logo

Charting a new direction in your career? Keen to immerse yourself in stimulating new subjects? If so, this four-year programme – which includes a foundation year – offers a new pathway for you.

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.

A strong combination of skills

Studying Criminology alongside Forensic Science will give you a comprehensive knowledge of how cases unfold – from collecting and examining evidence to presenting findings in court.

We take you through the full spectrum of forensic techniques as you investigate mock crime scenes and have the opportunity to develop your skills in fingerprint, drugs, DNA, bodily fluids and blood pattern analysis as well as entomology, anthropology and taphonomy.

At the same time, we broaden your understanding of the criminal justice system and the legal aspects of forensic science. Your studies will span issues such as expert testimony and evidence, miscarriages of justice, the court process and the roles of the judge, jury and witnesses. You’ll also gain practice in delivering findings in court and being cross-examined by barristers.

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.

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

Hands-on experience in our superb facilities

As part of your studies, you will investigate a variety of crime scenarios while developing the laboratory skills which are critical to the work of the forensic scientist.

A highlight of the course is the chance to put your practical know-how to the test in our custom-designed  and with our two crime scene cars, kindly donated by Toyota Manufacturing UK.

The house can be adapted to show the aftermath of crimes in different domestic and commercial settings, including a bedroom, lounge, garage, office, and commercial premises such as a pharmacy or pub. Also featuring a blood pattern analysis room, it is fitted with digital surveillance including panoramic CCTV and equipment for two-way audio recording and feedback so that tutors can monitor your progress in real time from a control room.

Our specialist forensic, biological and chemical laboratories also provide the ideal setting to expand your practical scientific skills and get to grips with leading-edge instrumentation. You will also have access to our well-equipped imaging suite and insectary.

Thriving employer links

We work hard to make your learning experience as authentic as possible, so we call on our numerous contacts within the forensic science and criminal justice sectors to contribute to the course. From workplace visits and placement opportunities to masterclasses and real-life case studies, they help place your learning in a professional context. There is even the opportunity to observe a post mortem.

Our partnerships include longstanding alliances with Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU). You could apply to undertake a placement with EMSOU in their forensic imaging unit, footwear unit, forensic analytical service or scenes of crime team.

Pursue your own areas of interest

While you’ll cover all the core areas of forensic science and criminology, you can also ‘personalise’ your degree to tailor your studies to your career plans. We offer fascinating optional modules for you to choose from, so you can focus your studies on areas as diverse as forensic anthropology, victimology, toxicology and the human genome.

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.

Learn from prominent researchers

Our dynamic and forward-thinking teaching team includes forensic scientists, criminology specialists, practising lawyers, barristers and judges, so you can look forward to a stimulating study experience. They are supported by visiting speakers who will give you insights into the latest debates surrounding forensics and criminology, plus guidance to help you make informed decisions about your career.

You’ll be joining a University with an enviable reputation for research in this field. Our team is pursuing innovative studies into highly topical subjects such as entomology, forensic photography, anthropology, taphonomy, drug analysis, fingerprint detection and enhancement techniques, blood pattern analysis and fire investigations.

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
  • 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
  • Policing and Society - Students will explore topics looking into the various concepts, debates, literature and research relating to police ethics
  • Trace Evidence - This module gives the student insight into how trace evidence is used in forensic investigation 
  • 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

Optional modules:

  • Forensic Analysis - You will develop an understanding of the core analytical chemistry techniques used in the identification and quantification of substances of forensic interest 
  • 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
  • Victimology - Student consider the increasing consideration of victims’ rights and how these have given rise to revisions in sentencing and the advent of restorative justice
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Miscarriages of Justice for Forensic Scientists - Students are able to work in an applied manner with reference to actual cases of miscarriages of justice (MOJ) to identify common themes and causes of MOJ and to make recommendations for best practice
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 with Criminology

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

You’ll use our specialist facilities, including our brand new on-campus Crime Scene House and crime scene cars. You’ll also have the opportunity to observe a post-mortem. You’ll be taught through lectures, practical sessions, fieldtrips, crime scene training and your own study.

How you're assessed

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.

Work placements

Between stages 2 and 3 there is the chance to work within the industry for three months to a year. This will give you a unique experience as you enter your final year and will give you a head-start when applying for jobs after university. You will also be given the opportunity to learn alongside industry professionals.

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


Our graduates have gone on to realise their career ambitions within the criminal justice system, the police force, the prison service and forensic services. The skills and knowledge you gain on the course will also make you well suited to roles in insurance companies, law firms, pharmaceutical companies and private laboratories.

You could also build on your analytical and research expertise to pursue postgraduate study with an MSc, MPhil or PhD in subjects related to forensic science and criminology. 

Some of our former students have moved into teaching careers within secondary or further education after studying our PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training).

Take a look at the ways in which we enhance your employability.

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.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

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.

Contact us Contact us

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.

You might also like