Combine strong psychological insights with the skills of the forensic scientist – and you’ll be ideally prepared for a career to take you far. Choosing to embark on your studies with a foundation year gives you a great starting point too.
- 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 out at foundation year stage if you would like a thorough grounding in key aspects of your subject before progressing to honours degree studies – ideal if you are planning a career change or exploring areas which are new to you
- Achieve your goals even if you don’t have the necessary formal qualifications to enter our three-year honours degree programme directly: with the foundation year, you can complete your full BSc (Hons) in four years
- Balance forensic science skills with fascinating perspectives on the criminal mind and criminal behaviour
- Look forward to exciting career prospects: this course can lead to fulfilling roles in the worlds of forensic science, criminal justice and law
- Take full advantage of our exceptional facilities, including a crime scene house, forensic labs, psychological observation suites and courtrooms
- Draw on our flourishing links with the police, emergency services and hospitals for a learning experience rooted in contemporary professional practice
- Gain valuable workplace experience: you will have the opportunity to undertake work based learning in a forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or the forensic analytical service laboratories of our partner, the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit
Set yourself apart as an adaptable, forward-thinking and highly capable graduate who can offer a lot to an employer. By bringing forensic science together with psychology, this qualification will help you stand out in the graduate job market.
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 is particularly useful if you don’t quite meet the entry requirements for our three-year BSc (Hons) at this time. 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. You’ll cover the fundamentals of forensic science, human behaviour, human anatomy and physiology, and cellular biology. At the same time, you’ll develop scientific study skills and your knowledge of research methods and data handling.
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.
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.
Become a multi-skilled and versatile professional
We take you through the full spectrum of forensic practices and processes. You’ll learn how to collect and examine evidence, developing your practical abilities in areas such as fingerprint recovery and analysis, blood pattern analysis, and human tissue analysis. There is also the opportunity to observe a post mortem.
Allied to your practical forensic skills, you’ll extend your knowledge of key psychological theories and principles so that you develop a more incisive understanding of the criminal mind. You even gain practice in presenting evidence as an expert witness and being cross-examined by barristers in a courtroom setting.
Realistic crime scenarios
Mock crime scenes will give you the chance to locate and analyse traces of ‘evidence’. Our custom-designed crime scene house is an impressive resource for our forensics students. It includes a blood pattern analysis room used for both teaching and research as well as settings such as a bedroom, lounge, garage, office, pharmacy or pub where you can put your investigative skills to the test.
We have invested in digital surveillance – including panoramic CCTV and equipment for two-way audio recording and feedback – at the house. It means tutors can monitor your progress from a control room as you work independently on the crime scenes. This high-tech learning environment is complemented by two crime scene cars, kindly donated by Toyota Manufacturing UK.
Excellent laboratory facilities
You can put your theoretical knowledge into practice in our modern forensic, biological and chemical laboratories featuring modern instrumentation. You’ll also enjoy access to our insectary, osteology laboratory and imaging suite.
Your understanding will be enhanced further by our superb facilities for psychology teaching and research. They include computing labs with specialist software for experiment design, together with a full complement of psychological recording resources such as the latest eye tracker equipment for analysing eye movement. We also provide an observation suite equipped with two-way mirrors and DVD recording technology.
A powerful professional perspective
We place a strong emphasis on keeping you up to date with new developments within the industry as well as latest research. You’ll gain valuable insights into professional practice thanks to our longstanding partnerships with Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal Derby Hospital and the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU).
These collaborations give you access to real-world industry experience, including the chance to apply for a placement in EMSOU’s forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories.
Supporting you all the way is our expert academic team made up of forensic scientists, psychologists and practising professionals. They have an impressive reputation for research which is shaping the future of forensic science and psychology, including investigations into fingerprint enhancement techniques, psychopathy, organised crime and witness reliability.
Match your studies to your personal interests
If you have a specific career path you want to follow – or an area of study which particularly enthuses you – this course gives you ample opportunity to pursue those interests.
While you will build a strong core of knowledge in forensic science and psychology, you can also select from a range of optional modules to tailor your degree. Examples include Medical Forensics, Applied Entomology, Forensic Imaging, Forensic Anthropology, Abnormal Psychology and The Dark Side of Psychology.
There is a further chance to ‘personalise’ your degree when you choose a specialist theme for your final-year research project. From your Foundation Year you will start to develop skills in research and data handling to prepare for this in-depth study. We can also support you to present your findings at conferences or by contributing to academic journals too.
You’ll study modules such as:
- Study Skills in Science
- Research Methods and Data Handling
- Foundation in Forensic Science
- Fundamentals of Human Behaviour
- Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Principles of Cellular Biology
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 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
- Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology - You will be introduced to the relationship between theory and data in both quantitative and qualitative research and learn key principles of research methods and design
- Does Psychology Matter? - You will use a number of key topic to explore how psychologists discuss and debate critical issues
- 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
- Qualitative Methods: The Individual in Society - You will explore the different insights which qualitative approaches bring to the area of individual differences
- 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
- Psychopathology: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Issues - The module aims to develop in students a critical understanding of the main forms of mental illness from a psychological perspective
- Molecular Biology - You'll develop an understanding of the molecular basis of fundamental biological and forensic processes, such as transcription and translation
- 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.
- 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
- Forensic Applications of Psychology - You will be introduced to the application of psychology to our understanding of criminal behaviour and the criminal justice system
- 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
- 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 Dark Side of Psychology - This module explores the dark and hidden history of psychology which is often neglected in conventional textbooks
- 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
You’ll learn through lectures, practical sessions, seminars, and crime scene training.
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 based learning
Between stages two and three, you can apply to work in industry to give you an opportunity to use your theoretical and practical skills. Work based learning can be during your summer break, three to four months, or up to a whole year. We have a range of optional modules allowing you to tailor your degree to your own interests and career aspirations. You will also keep a continuous personal development portfolio, helping you to prepare for life after university.
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.
Your in-depth practical knowledge of forensic science, coupled with psychological insights, will also open doors to a broad spectrum of graduate-level jobs.
You could progress your career within the forensic science sector, the criminal justice system, local constabularies, insurance companies, law firms or private laboratories.
Take a look at the ways in which we enhance your employability.
The degree also provides a firm foundation for postgraduate level learning. As it is an applied science course, it 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, 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)
- Use of equipment for all practical sessions and crime scene examination (including PPE, CSI materials and photography)
- 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.