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.
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.
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.
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 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Does Psychology Matter? - You will use a number of key topic to explore how psychologists discuss and debate critical issues
- 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
- Qualitative Methods: The Individual in Society - You will explore the different insights which qualitative approaches bring to the area of individual differences. The range of philosophical orientations and methodological approaches to consider ways in which the individual and their engagement with the social world can be explored from a qualitative perspective.
- 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
- Molecular Biology - You'll develop an understanding of the molecular basis of fundamental biological and forensic processes, such as transcription and translation
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Forensic Applications of Psychology - You will be introduced to the application of psychology to our understanding of criminal behaviour and the criminal justice system. 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.
- 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. Psychology’s claim to be an objective science is critically examined with an exploration of topics such as scientific racism and sexism. Furthermore, this module explores the ways in which psychology has been used to legitimise the oppression of certain groups within society.
- 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
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.
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.
September 2020 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|UCAS points||120 (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 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.
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.
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, 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
- 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.