Combine high-level skills as a forensic scientist with in-depth knowledge of criminology for an inspiring and broad-based study programme.
- Forensic Science at Derby is ranked third in the UK for student satisfaction with teaching (Guardian University Guide 2020)
- 96% of our BSc (Hons) Forensic Science with Criminology students are satisfied with teaching on the course (National Student Survey 2019)
- 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 in 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
- Learn alongside professional forensic scientists, fingerprint experts, police officers, lawyers and judges for real insights into working life
- Gain hands-on experience in authentic environments including our high-specification forensic laboratories, crime scene cars, courtrooms and Forensic Training Facility
- You will have the opportunity to undertake work based learning in a forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories with our partner East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU)
Designed to meet the needs of employers, the BSc (Hons) Forensic Science with Criminology broadens your career scope, enhances your versatility and helps you develop professional skills from day one.
From crime scene to courtroom
This course guides you through the full range of forensic practices and processes – from collecting and examining evidence to presenting your findings 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. There is the opportunity to observe a post mortem too.
Your studies will be underpinned by a strong focus on the criminal justice system and the legal aspects of forensic science. You’ll explore 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 evidence in court and being cross-examined by barristers – just as you would 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 rigorous standards.
Investigate our state-of-the-art facilities
Our custom-designed Forensic Training Facility, which opened in 2015, is used to create scenarios in different domestic and commercial settings, 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 feedback. You’ll be able to work on crime scenarios independently while tutors monitor your progress in real time from a control room. We also have two crime scene cars, kindly donated by Toyota Manufacturing UK.
Laboratory work is central to the role of the forensic scientist. We boast specialist forensic, biological and chemical laboratories featuring modern instrumentation where you can put your theoretical knowledge into practice.
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.
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. We also offer a scenes of crime placement in conjunction with EMSOU.
Learn from an expert team
You’ll benefit from the knowledge, experience and networks of our enthusiastic teaching team which includes forensic scientists, criminology specialists, practising lawyers, barristers and judges.
Our active researchers conduct important studies into fields ranging from forensic handwriting analysis and fingerprint enhancement techniques to criminal investigations and witness reliability. High-profile visiting speakers also share their experiences with you and help you learn more about latest developments in the field.
Studies tailored to suit you
There are plenty of opportunities to match your studies to your personal interests and career aspirations. You’ll develop your understanding of core areas of forensic science and criminology but can also choose from a wide range of optional modules covering subjects such as policing and society, victimology, serious and organised crime, forensic anthropology, forensic imaging and the human genome.
For your final-year research project, you will have the chance to focus on a specialist theme of your choice. We support you to share your research through high-profile conferences or academic journals. Each year our students attend the East Midlands Forensics Institute Research Network (FIRN) conference to showcase their findings and network with other professionals.
Such activities can raise your profile as a talent of the future, helping you to stand out in a highly competitive job market.
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
- 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
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
- 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
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.
You’ll use our specialist facilities, including our on-campus Forensic Training Facility 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 your second and third years 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||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.
You could follow in the footsteps of our many successful graduates and work within the criminal justice system, the police force, the prison service or forensic services. You could also pursue careers in broader areas such as law firms, pharmaceutical companies or private laboratories.
The course equips you with the skills you need to take your studies to a higher level too. Because it is an applied science course based on subjects such as organic chemistry and molecular biology, you could move on to MSc, MPhil or PhD study.
Some of our students also go on to 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.
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, state-of-the-art 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 neeed 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.