31 October 2014
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Forensic science degree

This degree is focused on introducing you to a wide range of scientific disciplines that are involved in the detection of criminal activity. You will gain an understanding and knowledge of key concepts, professional skills and forensic sciences. Due to recent advances in forensic science, particularly in the area of DNA analysis, the investigating powers of practising forensic scientists has greatly increased, making this a field of increasing important when solving crimes.

It covers a wide range of disciplines, most of which are based on chemistry and biology. The programme gives a balanced and intellectually challenging study of a full range of forensic applications, including crime scene investigation techniques, advanced microbiological and chemical analysis and specialist areas such as forensic anthropology and forensic entomology. 

The degree’s aim is to produce high calibre, versatile graduates who are able to analyse forensic evidence competently, and who can interpret and present evidence through both oral and written testimony in a court of law.

It is suitable for anyone wishing to pursue a career in forensic science or a related subject. A degree in this subject is particularly suited to careers in forensic science, scientific journalism, the pharmaceutical industry, environmental monitoring, laboratory-based employment and accident investigation. Possible future employers can be the emergency services, forensic science providers, government agencies, medical laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, consultancies, local authorities and contract laboratories.
Forensic science is the application of science to law and its enforcement.

Forensic science degree course overview

Students will be exposed to cutting edge technology and methodology that is at the forefront of forensic science research and development. They will be given a thorough grounding in both the theoretical and practical aspects of forensic science, and learn skills which will give them the ability to carry out professional investigations and research.

Many courses give students the option to study a wide range of specialisms including DNA analysis, toxicology, bone and skeletal analysis. Indeed the subject as a whole can be studied alongside other disciplines such as criminology, computing or psychology.

You will be taught under the guidance of teaching staff who are, in many cases, professional forensic practitioners themselves. On the practical side you will gain invaluable lab and fieldwork experience, including mock crime scenes and disasters, utilising our field station and streetwise facilities.

The assessment methods can be examinations, written assignments, laboratory reports, presentations or a combination of these.

Upon graduation you will be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the legal system, the role of a forensic scientists within the system, and the application of science to law and its enforcement.
 
Typical course modules and areas of study on a forensic science degree 

  • Introductory Chemistry
  • Quantitative Methods in Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Introductory Biology
  • Applied Forensic Analysis
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Forensic Biology
  • Fire & Explosion Investigation
  • Analytical Techniques
  • Anatomy, Physiology and Post-mortem Processes
  • Drugs and Toxicology
  • Separation science
  • DNA profiling
  • Population genetics
  • Law for forensic science
  • Marks and traces
  • Research methods
  • Incident investigation
  • Biological evidence
  • Case assessment and interpretation
  • Body Fluid Analysis
  • Forensic Analysis of Drugs and Poisons
  • Anatomy and Physiology for Forensic Science
  • Advanced Fire and Explosive Investigation

Students will learn about

  • Crime scene science
  • Toxicology
  • Chemistry
  • Molecular biology
  • Forensic archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Genocide investigation
  • Trace evidence analysis
  • Court procedures
  • Planning
  • Time management
  • Fibre analysis
  • Chemical analysis
  • Human Psychology
  • Laboratory techniques
  • Fingerprinting

Students will learn how to

  • Examine crime scenes.
  • Assist law enforcement agencies to detect criminal activity.
  • Present scientific evidence in a court of law.
  • Carry out full-scale simulated crime scene investigations.
  • Investigate and analyse evidence.
  • Assess the credibility of your investigations.
  • Test and analyse tissue samples and substances of blood, bodily fluids, bones and plant and animal remains.
  • Use scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Use mathematics to solve problems.
  • Examine and compare materials such as fibres, paints, cosmetics, oils, plastics, glass, metals, soils and gunshot residues.
  • Present oral testimony in court.
  • Perform complex examination and analyses of evidence, including body fluids and body fluid stains, hair and any other items needing DNA or related analyses.
  • Provide objective expert advice on related issues.


Forensic science personal statement

Below is a forensic science personal statement written by one of our writers. You can use this example to gain an idea of how to structure and put together your own one. You are strongly advised not to copy or plagiarise it, instead use it as a resource to inspire your own creative writing. 

Forensic science personal statement example

"I consider myself to be an honest, motivated, and responsible person who is able to keep information private. In any work I do I am thorough, methodical, accurate and careful, with an eye for detail. I feel I am a mentally stable individual who can handle pressure, unpleasant crime scenes and the stress of giving evidence in courtrooms.

I have always liked science, problem solving and a bit of intrigue, and think that a career in forensic science would be a good way of combining all of the these subjects. At school I enjoyed reading crime novels or watching popular detective series on TV, although I realise that they are exaggerated, I found that they always got me involved in the plot and eager to learn who did what to whom, and why.  

Another reason that I want to study this subject is that it’s graduates are highly employable individuals, who possess the knowledge and skills required for both subject-related employment, and also non subject-related employment in a wider range of other careers.

I am a mentally strong person with a calm personality, who is willing and able to work whenever and wherever crime occurs, indoors or outdoors, and who can cope with extreme cases like dead bodies and other messy situations.

I am already aware of the major aspects of the subject, its terminology and the principle techniques of forensic investigation as well as their application to different evidence types. I can quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns, and also identify and detect patterns. As an excellent observer I can come to conclusions quickly after undertaking creative, rigorous and relevant research using appropriate methodologies. I always pay close attention to detail, have excellent powers of observation and concentration, both of which help me considerably when figuring out problems mentally.

As this course requires students to work with a wide assortment of people, in situations that are often stressful, it is crucial that they have exceptional "people" skills. I have these and am also a good speaker and proficient writer.

At college I took a BTEC in Science, which included me to a lot of material related to the forensic side of things. The course was superb and the lecturers were brilliant, they made each lesson interesting and supported me all the way through it. Due to my time at college I now posses considerable knowledge of the main theoretical and practical skills of a forensic scientist, and I feel my time at college has fully prepared me for a degree course at university. 

During the summer vacation I worked as a junior laboratory assistant with a pharmaceutical company. I provided administrative and technical support for work in scientific research, and worked in a modern well equipped department carrying out a wide range of tasks which required good hand to eye coordination, attention to detail and manual dexterity. This valuable work experience has given me the ability to examine material evidence from a biological point of view, and to be able to present evidence and findings clearly to colleagues and superiors. 

Right now my ambition is to join a degree course that fulfils the growing demand for expertise in investigatory, enforcement and monitoring work.

I chose to apply to your university because of your reputation as leaders in teaching science and laboratory based skills in a vocational setting. I am impressed by your fully equipped analytical science laboratories, experienced and enthusiastic teaching team, and extensive learning support facilities, which all provide for a stimulating and enjoyable study environment. I strongly feel that my reliability, communication skills, responsibility and friendly nature are all valuable assets that I would bring to your course. In closing I hope you will look favourably on my application and I look forward to hearing from you."


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