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.
- 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
- Study a programme which sets high professional standards: this course is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
- Start your journey at foundation year stage: the knowledge you’ll gain is invaluable if you are thinking about changing your career plans or if you want to discover fascinating new subject areas
- Build a solid platform for honours degree studies: the foundation year route is also an excellent option if you don’t have the formal qualifications to join our BSc (Hons) directly
- Develop an impressive combination of professional skills to enhance your versatility and open up new opportunities in the graduate job market
- Chart how cases are progressed from crime scene to courtroom
- Gain practical experience in our first-rate facilities, including forensic laboratories, crime scene house, courtrooms and crime scene cars
- Place your knowledge of forensic science in a wider context, by exploring themes such as miscarriages of justice, policing and society, and victimology
- Enjoy compelling insights into working life by learning alongside professional forensic scientists, fingerprint experts, police officers, lawyers and judges
- Experience real-world learning at its best: you will have the opportunity of a year-long placement in a forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service lab thanks to our partnership with the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU)
Charting a new direction in your career? Keen to immerse yourself in stimulating new subjects? Lacking the entry requirements to join our three-year BSc (Hons) directly? If so, this four-year programme – which includes a foundation year – offers a new pathway for you.
Your foundation for career success
The foundation year delivers a sound preparation for studying Forensic Science with Criminology at honours degree level. It equips you with key knowledge in subjects such as forensic science, human anatomy and physiology, cellular biology and chemistry. You’ll also cover study skills in science, research methods and data handling so that you can advance to stage one of the honours degree with confidence.
You will achieve your full honours degree in four years. Our courses with a foundation year are continuous, so there will be no need to apply again once you have completed the first year of the programme successfully. From day one, you will receive all the benefits and support afforded to every University of Derby student.
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.
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 crime scene house 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.
You'll study modules such as:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Between stages two and three, you can apply to work in industry, which will give you an opportunity to use your theoretical and practical skills. Placements can be during your summer break, three to four months, or up to a whole year. You’ll also keep a continuous professional development portfolio, helping to prepare you for life after university.
A typical student takes three modules per semester and each module has an average of four hours contact time per week in the semester it is taught. In addition to these scheduled learning and teaching activities, students are expected to undertake an average of 12 hours guided independent study per week, per module.
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.
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.
September 2019 typical entry requirements
|UCAS points||72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level||N/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.
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - MPP
- Pass Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2.
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.
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.
† 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.
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.