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Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

120 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code

2T4N

Course level

Undergraduate

Qualification

BSc (Hons)

Start date

September

Location

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

Balance forensic science skills with insights into the criminal mind and criminal behaviour on this fascinating course.

The Chartered Society of Forensic Science Accreditation Logo

 

3rdin the UK for student satisfaction with teaching (Forensic Science)**Guardian University Guide 2020
100%overall student satisfaction on the course**National Student Survey 2019
100%of students satisfied with teaching on the course**National Student Survey 2019

Broaden your career scope on a highly practical forensics course where you can add psychological perspectives to the skills of the forensic scientist.

From crime scene to courtroom

The 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 to prepare for the diverse scenarios that you are likely to encounter in your career. You’ll also develop skills in fingerprint recovery and analysis, blood pattern analysis, evidence examination, and human tissue analysis. There is also the opportunity to observe a post mortem.

Your studies will be enriched by a strong focus on key psychological theories and principles, including exploring the criminal mind. You’ll also gain practice in delivering evidence as an expert witness in court and being cross-examined by barristers – just as you would in the world of work.

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.

Investigate our crime scene house

Our custom-designed , 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.

State-of-the-art laboratories

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.

You’ll also have access to our insectary, osteology laboratory and imaging suite. Our facilities for psychology teaching and research are equally impressive.

They include high specification computing labs with specialist software for experiment design. There is a full range of psychological recording equipment such as the latest eye tracker equipment for analysing eye movement and our observation suite features rooms equipped with two-way mirrors and DVD recording equipment.

Partnerships with employers

We work in close collaboration with Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal Derby Hospital and the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU). These partnerships 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 work based learning with EMSOU in their forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories.

Learn from an expert team

You’ll benefit from the knowledge, experience and networks of our enthusiastic teaching team which includes forensic scientists, psychologists and practising professionals who will keep you up-to-date with latest developments in the field.

Our active researchers are conducting important studies into fields ranging from blood pattern analysis and fingerprint enhancement techniques to psychopathy, organised crime, and witness reliability.

Pursue your personal interests

There are plenty of opportunities to tailor your studies to match your personal interests and career aspirations. You’ll develop your understanding of core areas of forensic science and psychology but can also choose from a wide range of optional modules covering subjects such as Medical Forensics, Forensic Imaging, Forensic Anthropology, Psychopathology: Clinical Assessment, Treatment and Issues, and The Dark Side of Psychology.

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. 

Such activities can raise your profile as a talent of the future, helping you to stand out in a highly competitive job market. 

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

Forensic Training Facility

This custom built facility offers seven replica domestic and commercial crime scenes, a blood spatter room and fully panoramic CCTV and audio for live feedback.

Take a virtual tourTake a virtual tour

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Optional Placement YearOptional Placement YearYear 3Year 3

Code: 4BY505

Genetics

Since the full elucidation of DNA structure in 1952 our knowledge in the field of genetics has increased exponentially. The development of molecular techniques means that genetics now has the capacity to impact on almost all areas of human life. Medical testing, conservation work and criminal investigation are three diverse examples of areas that in which genetics plays a major role. Knowledge of such a significant area is thus a pre-requisite for all biological and forensic based study. The module aims to provide a broad introduction to, and basic understanding of, the key concepts in classical and molecular genetics. The module also addresses the role of genetics in society and some of the ethical issues that surround its use.
20 Credits
core
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY508

Chemistry of Life

This module introduces key concepts essential to the understanding of biological and biochemical structures and processes at an atomic, molecular and cellular level. The basic skills required to understand and interpret the behaviour of biological and chemical materials, both qualitatively and quantitatively, will be covered. This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the cell, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic, along with the basic biochemistry of carbohydrates and lipids.
20 Credits
core
Exam
Coursework

Code: 4BY513

Studying at University: Induction Module

This module provides students with an introduction to studying at the University of Derby. It was designed and generated in response to students needs and is designed to prepare students for the undergraduate programmes within Biological and Forensic Sciences by providing an online environment in which students can become proficient in the skills required for HE study. The module will be a core, no credit, stand-alone module, assessed by 100% coursework.
0 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 4FO500

Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation

Introduction to the fundamental concepts, techniques and processes used in the examination, documentation and analysis of the crime scene and specialist examinations. Basic understanding of the key roles of personnel and specialists present at the crime scene. Practical experience of examination, documentation and retrieval methods from mock crime scene scenarios.
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 4FO502

Introduction to Forensic Science

The module will provide student with broad introductions to the fundamental concepts, techniques and processes used in the collection, processing, analysis and storage of forensic evidence and data. Students will also develop a rigorous approach to the acquisition of a broad knowledge base within forensic science. Students will employ a range of specialised skills; evaluate observed and acquired information using it to plan and develop investigative strategies and to determine solutions to a variety of unpredictable problems. Introduction to forensic biology including human tissue analysis, biological trace evidence, hair and fibre analysis, fingerprints and the ethical considerations involved when dealing with forensic evidence. In addition, students will develop an understanding of the basic laboratory skills including microscopy, undertaking appropriate anti-contamination procedures, note taking and report writing.
20 Credits
core
Exam

Code: 4FO503

Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice for Forensic Science

The role of Forensic Science and the Forensic Scientist is predominantly focused towards the later stages of criminal Investigation. Understanding the full context of English Criminal Justice therefore, including the various bodies and organisations that contribute to this system is of paramount importance. Criminal law and Criminal legislation including Parliaments role in introducing new bills, the Police and Crown Prosecution Service are examples of areas where forensic science plays a role. Knowledge of such significant areas is thus pre-requisites for all forensic and forensic with criminology based studies.

The module aims to provide a broad introduction to, and basic understanding of, the structure of the English Criminal Justice system, including the Police, the Courts and the role of Forensic Scientist as Expert Witness. In addition, students will also research introductory concepts on the basis and response of criminality and criminal behaviour. The module also introduces the role of statistics to support the evaluation of evidence that a practicing forensic scientist would be expected to use in their casework interpretation.

More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 4PS520

Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology

The purpose of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the key principles underlying research methods in psychology. Students will be taught the need for systematic research methods and will explore the relationship between theory and data in both quantitative and qualitative research.

Students will learn key principles in research design and will engage in the practical aspects of generating quantitative and qualitative research data. Students will learn how to analyse quantitative and qualitative data and how to report the findings of simple psychological studies in a standardised format.

More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 4PS533

Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology

The purpose of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the key principles underlying research methods in psychology. Students will be taught the need for systematic research methods and will explore the relationship between theory and data in both quantitative and qualitative research.

Students will learn key principles in research design and will engage in the practical aspects of generating quantitative and qualitative research data. Students will learn how to analyse quantitative and qualitative data and how to report the findings of simple psychological studies in a standardised format.

More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 5FO501

Crime Scene to Court

Professionalism is at the core of forensic practitioners working practice. In this module students will develop the skills necessary for the investigation of the crime scenes and the presentation of this evidence in a court room scenario. The module develops an understanding of the importance of making informed decisions and appropriate judgements in the application of forensic science at all stages of the criminal justice system. Students will be expected to demonstrate competence in strategy and techniques in the collection, analysis and presentation of evidence from a realistic crime scene scenario. Students will undertake a period of real-world experience to develop their fundamental graduate skills such as oral and written communication, teamwork and problem solving. These skills will be applied in the student’s journey to professional employment.
20 Credits
core
Practical
Coursework

Code: 5FO505

Trace Evidence

This module gives the student insight into how trace evidence is used in forensic investigation. It will build on the knowledge learned at level 4 and cover various fields of trace evidence collection and analysis. Each session will provide the student with theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience and generate data so that different types of forensic evidence can be analysed appropriately through either calculations, probability, or statistics.
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 5FO507

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. Students will receive guidance on how to plan and propose a piece of independent research and complete the University Research Ethics proposal form.
0 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 5PS525

Does Psychology Matter?

This module will introduce forensic science with psychology students to psychology as a discipline. As such, the module aims to use a number of key topic areas through which to explore how psychologists discuss and debate critical issues.

The module will impress upon students the need to use evidence to support arguments, to recognise and consider alternative viewpoints and to construct their arguments with care and precision. Furthermore it will help to promote such key transferable skills as critical thinking, argument construction, and communication which will be of benefit to the student in both their academic studies and future employment. Teaching on the module will be by a mixture of interactive lectures and informal, small group debate and discussion.

More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 5PS536

Qualitative Methods: The Individual in Society

This module introduces a range of qualitative methods used within contemporary psychology and explores the different insights these approaches bring to the area of individual differences. The module will be divided into sections which each introduce a different qualitative method. In addition, the underlying assumptions which inform psychological research into individual differences such as gender, identity, health and so on are examined.

The range of philosophical orientations and methodological approaches covered in the module enables students to consider the ways in which the individual and their engagement with the social world can be explored from a qualitative perspective. This module also provides students with an opportunity to engage with an employment (or voluntary) experience.

More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 5BY509

Molecular Biology

The Molecular Biology module builds directly on a range of aspects of genetics covered in the first year modules; particularly ‘Genetics’ and ‘Chemistry for Life’. The module also provides direct support to a wide range of material that will be covered in both biological and forensic modules in the third year. The module covers both theoretical and practical aspects of evolutionary and forensic genetics. A range of skills will be developed which are directly relevant to the workplace.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5FO503

Forensic Anthropology

Using skeletal remains to assist in human identification is an important area of practice for the Forensic Scientist and involves a variety of theories and methods focusing on the wider scope of human skeletal biology on issues of medico-legal significance. This module provides an introduction to the practice of Forensic Anthropology. Through a series of lectures and practical lab sessions, you will learn about methods of bioprofiling used by forensic anthropologists, topics on skeletal biology, disease and trauma that can be observed on bone, and ethical concerns involved when working with human remains in legal contexts.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 5FO504

Forensic Imaging

Photography is often described as the ‘scientist’s retina’; this module develops the students ability to use a wide range of imaging scientific techniques and modalities, for example, ultraviolet fluorescence and infrared, as an integral part of their working practice as a forensic scientist to analyse and record forensic evidence.
20 Credits
optional
Practical
Coursework

Code: 5FO506

Wildlife Crime and Forensic Entomology

This module will look at a broad range of topics related to forensic evidence which can be obtained from ecological and wildlife samples. Students will learn about the fields of wildlife crime and wildlife forensics and the accompanying analysis of non-human evidence. Additionally, the module will cover entomological evidence including collection, rearing, identification, and calculation of minimum time since death.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 5PS500

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. The module provides students with an understanding of the key features of a variety of disorders and examines the contribution psychological approaches make to the theories, research, diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behaviour.
20 Credits
optional
Practical
Coursework

Code: 5SO528

Applied Professional Practice

This module provides a framework for the development of “lifelong learning” skills appropriate to all areas of professional practice; including objective setting, planning, negotiating, implementing, demonstrating and reflecting. The emphasis in this module is on the analysis and evaluation of the work completed within the organisation. This module also gives students an opportunity to relate their academic knowledge to the work environment.
40 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 5SO529

Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice

Students need to be aware of the commercial realities and external factors that influence the success of an organisation. This module provides opportunities for students to acquire an understanding of contemporary issues that may impact on industrial and professional practices relevant to a career within their chosen discipline.

During this period of work experience, students can gain a deeper appreciation of the responsibilities arising from both corporate and individual responses to such issues, thus enabling them to relate to the wider world when exploring a personal direction for potential career development.

More information
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 6FO502

Professional Practice

In this module, students will develop their abilities to act as a professional forensic scientist in various aspects of the profession. Students will be involved in an active process giving them direct experience of a mock crime; this will include the crime scene, relevant laboratory analyses, the pre-trial conference and a courtroom trial. Students will learn effective statistical and written methods to prepare case file documentation as well as to deliver their scientific findings through the production of an expert witness statement and participate in a mock courtroom trial. Students will also be prepared for the professional world by gaining direct experience through a professional practice visit as well examining relevant careers in the sector, opportunities in further education and professional training routes.

The module aims to provide students with a platform; a culmination of their forensic science training, bringing together the various streams to effectively allow students to demonstrate their understanding from initial crime scene examination through to delivering effective laboratory practice and preparing reports to facilitate them delivering effective opinion based evidence in a courtroom situation.

More information
20 Credits
core
Practical

Code: 6FO505

Serious and Organised Crime

In this module, students build upon and apply their knowledge of current forensic practice and crime scene evaluation in the investigation of serious and organised crime. Serious and organised crime in this context refers to crime that can result in a custodial sentence of more than a year such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping and fraud. Using recent forensic research, police protocols, guides and criminal law, students will study current approaches and techniques in serious and organised crime investigation, both in general and in a specific self-selected context.
20 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 6FO999

Independent Studies for Forensic Science

This module presents an opportunity for students to further enhance their technical, analytical and problem solving skills as well as transferable skills such as time management, creativity and the ability to work independently. The student will conduct a research project of their choosing within which they will formulate hypotheses and conduct a methodology suitable to their project. Skills in scientific writing developed through levels 4 and 5 will be used to complete a dissertation as well as the completion of an oral viva in which the student will defend their dissertation.
40 Credits
core
Coursework

Code: 6PS508

Forensic Applications of Psychology

The module will give students a thorough introduction to the application of psychology to our understanding of criminal behaviour and the criminal justice system. The module will be divided into two sections.

The first will examine psychologically oriented explanations of criminal behaviour. The second will focus on police investigation and judicial processes. Students will leave the module with a rounded understanding of how psychology has been applied, and can further be applied, to the criminal justice system and explanations of crime and offender behaviour.

More information
20 Credits
core
Exam

Code: 6BY504

The Human Genome

Each of us carries the record of our personal evolutionary history locked up in our genome. Our genome can also influence our future health and longevity. The focus of this module is an investigation into the main components of the Human genome. We also look at the history of the Human Genome Project and the future prospects now that we have the genome sequence in both biological and forensic contexts. Human genome sequence organization is also contrasted with a number of model organisms from bacteria through to other primates. We also look at the DNA sequence databases and how DNA sequence data is deposited, retrieved and manipulated.
20 Credits
optional
Exam
Coursework

Code: 6BY507

Vocational Module

Work experience and volunteering are two important routes to develop a fundamental understanding of issues related to employment within a chosen organisation. This module also has far reaching benefits in terms of providing valuable hands on experience and a platform for developing ideas outside of the taught curriculum. This module provides an opportunity for the student to undertake a placement within a company, voluntary body or public establishment and is designed for Level 6. The student has freedom to select an appropriate host organisation. By placing the module at level 6, the student should be able to undertake a project based on their knowledge and understanding at this higher level.

The project should be selected so as to generate benefit to the host organisation. An integral part of the student experience is the compilation of a report based on deep reflection of personal experiences acquired during the placement. The report should also reflect wider issues such as the objectives, structure and procedures of the host body and the role of volunteers within the organisation. This analysis must be of a depth commensurate with Level 6 study. The placement work must relate to the student’s degree programme but must have clear differentiation from their Independent Study project in respect of either location or topic.

More information
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 6FO501

Medical Forensics

This module gives the student insight into the processes that occur after death and how they can be used to give temporal, causal and trace evidence in forensic investigation. The interactions between medicine and the law are complex and cover a wide range of specialisations including; the role of the coroner and the pathologist, personal injuries and accidents, pre-peri and post-mortem changes in the body, graves and burial procedures, mass disasters, biometrics and identification as well as the chemical, physical and biological processes involved. The module looks to further develop student thinking and reasoning skills through the use of case studies and simulated scenarios for analysis and offers the opportunity to view a post-mortem.
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

Code: 6PS513

The Dark Side of Psychology

This module explores the dark and hidden history of psychology which is often neglected in conventional textbooks. An investigation of the history of psychology examines the claim that psychology is a science by exploring the epistemological and methodological development of the discipline.

Psychology’s claim to be an objective science is critically examined with an exploration of topics such as scientific racism and sexism. Key figures in psychology and related areas such as the eugenics movement will be discussed. Furthermore, this module explores the ways in which psychology has been used to legitimise the oppression of certain groups within society.

More information
20 Credits
optional
Coursework

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.

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Open Days

Register your interest for a future Open Day and we'll be in touch as soon as we are able to welcome you on campus.

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How you will learn

Our course provides a variety of learning experiences to engage you, including crime scene training, lectures, practical sessions and fieldtrips, including the opportunity to observe a post-mortem.

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.

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

Who will teach you

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

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points120 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

At least a C in Biology at A-level (or equivalent qualification). This also includes Applied Science, a BTEC Science subject or Access Science

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A
PortfolioN/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.

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Academic Achievement Scholarship

We’re offering eligible students a £1,000 scholarship to celebrate your hard work and success.

Learn more about the Academic Achievement ScholarshipLearn more about the Academic Achievement Scholarship

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees

 Full-timePart-time
UK/EU

£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*

International

£14,045 per year

N/A

* 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.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

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

Careers

Forensic science at Derby gives you a solid foundation for success in a challenging and pioneering 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, microbiologists and 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 as well as providing a firm foundation for postgraduate level learning. As it is an applied science course, it equips you to progress onto 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.

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.

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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.

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