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Undergraduate study
 

Course overview

This BSc (Hons) Forensic Science degree course at Teesside University is multidisciplinary. In addition to learning the vital skills relevant to a forensic scientist, you develop an in-depth understanding of key biology and chemistry subjects such as biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, toxicology and analytical chemistry.

You can complete an optional work placement year as part of this degree course at no extra cost.

Forensic science has an important role to play in modern society and can lead to an extremely rewarding and fulfilling career. Our degree, a multidisciplinary area of study, reflects the skills required by the modern forensic and graduate scientist. Besides extensive skills development in the background and practice of current methods of scientific forensic analysis, grounding is also given in the investigative processes from recovering evidence through to presenting it in court. Taking criminal investigation as an example, fragments of glass, paint flakes, fibres, footwear marks or DNA extracted from body fluids can help provide evidence to link individuals with each other or with the scene of a crime. The challenge is deciding which samples to examine and how to obtain the best evidential value by analysing and interpreting them. In addition to learning the vital skills relevant to a forensic scientist, the course is multidisciplinary such that you also develop an understanding of key biology and chemistry subjects such as biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, toxicology and analytical chemistry.

Discover what it would be like to study one of these degree subjects and get advice on careers in the industry with one of our interactive STEMulate12 sessions.

Professional accreditation

The Forensic Science Society This course is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

 
 

Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Anatomy and Physiology

You gain a basic knowledge of human body structure and to relate this knowledge to both the understanding of the mechanisms associated with the control and regulation of physiological processes of the major organs systems of the body. This will allow you to develop ability to apply, evaluate and interpret the knowledge to solve problems in the discipline. You also develop applied contexts of the knowledge such as the construction of biological profiles for human identification including sex, age at death, stature determination and biological affinity. The module will be delivered through lectures, computer- aided learning via interactive web-based activities and labs.

Biochemistry and Chemical Science

You will develop an understanding of key concepts necessary to underpin subsequent studies in chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical sciences and molecular biology. Building of the underlying principles of chemistry is essential to understand complex biological systems. This module will introduce the fundamentals of chemistry and link them to the key biomolecules and biochemical processes which form the basis of life.

Cell Biology

You increase your understanding of biological processes at the cellular level. You will explore eukaryotic cell architecture and function with a molecular and mammalian focus, and learn about cell division and the cell cycle, genetic organisation of cells, DNA replication and gene expression. Your exploration of these aspects of cell and molecular biology will be supported by a series of laboratory-based sessions.

Crime Scene Examination

This module provides you with the professional skills required to work as a member of an investigative team dealing with a range of challenging situations. The focus is on developing your psychomotor skills to maximise forensic evidence recovery at a variety of incidents by applying sequential processes. We do this using simulated incidents and practical exercises. You attend a series of lectures and practical sessions. The module is assessed through your portfolio of work including work from practical sessions. At the end of the module you sit a multiple choice examination through the virtual learning environment. The module is designed to meet a number of National Occupational Standards for Crime Scene Investigators.

Forensic Case Studies and the Law

This module provides you with the essential legal knowledge to support you in developing the skills required of a forensic investigator. Through research and case studies, you will develop an understanding of the role of the courts and relevant investigatory legislation in the UK and how forensic examinations contribute to the criminal justice process.

Forensic Evidence and Recovery

You are introduced to the fundamental concepts of forensic science in both a theoretical and practical manner. A range of chemical and biological forensic evidence types are also introduced, and their recovery and examination in the forensic laboratory considered. You begin to look at how these evidence types are presented in an investigative environment.

 

Year 2 core modules

Bioarcheology and Human Remains Recovery

Bioarchaeology focuses on the analysis of biological remains from archaeological sites in order to understand the life experiences of these people. Incorporating skeletal anatomy, osteology, archaeology, and anthropology, this module will lead you through the process of identifying, recovering, and analysing human remains. The module is delivered by a mixture of taught sessions, seminar discussions, and hands-on practical labs that will allow you to explore this discipline, and its application to forensic investigations.

Forensic Analytical Investigations

This module explores the enormous power that analytical techniques have towards aiding forensic investigations. Forensic investigations involve a wide range of evidence types including paint, blood, drugs, bones and many more, all of which can undergo analysis using analytical instrumentation, including gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy. This module covers sampling techniques, chemical principles of analytical instrumentation and interpretation of data. Taught sessions and seminars which explore data will be supplemented by a comprehensive range of laboratory sessions, where student will be required to analyse, interpret and evaluate information contained within published scientific literature.

Forensic Biology Practice

Being a forensic scientist means understanding what evidential types there are, how to examine items to locate them and the significance of finding them. In this module, you concentrate on the biological forensic evidence types most commonly encountered honing your practical skills in the process.

Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics

This module introduces you to a range of modern molecular biology concepts and techniques. General molecular biology, molecular biology of genetic diseases and the use of molecular biology for applications such as the production of recombinant proteins and biomedical science forensic applications will be addressed. The new age of molecular biology is underpinned by gene/genome sequencing, sequence analysis and sequence manipulation. You will be given a thorough introduction to the principles of sequence analysis and how these techniques have revolutionised all areas of molecular biology. Particular attention will be paid to the technique of PCR. The module will also introduce bioinformatics concepts around visualising and analysing DNA sequence data, as well as basic molecular data analysis. The module content will be delivered via a series of interactive lectures that will allow students to gain insight into the theoretical aspects of molecular biology and bioinformatics. A series of laboratory practical sessions will introduce the basic techniques that lie at the heart of modern molecular biology such as DNA purification, PCR, restriction digestion, nucleic acid analysis via agarose gels, and sequencing.

Professional Practice and the Expert Witness

This module is an introduction to the role of the expert witness in legal proceedings in the UK, from handling of evidence and writing scientific statements to being an effective expert witness in the courtroom. A professional practice theme throughout includes codes of conduct, quality standards and accreditation, to equip you with key information and skills required in a career in forensic practice. The legal framework will also be explored including aspects of UK and international law.

Trace Evidence and Forensic Enhancement

This module looks at how trace evidence types, such as glass and fibres are transferred during criminal acts and how they are, subsequently, examined and interpreted by the forensic scientist. The module also considers the enhancement techniques available within the laboratory to aid the forensic scientist including chemical enhancement and photographic techniques.

 

Year 3 optional placement year

Final-year core modules

Forensic Biology and Genomics

This module expands upon core forensic and biological knowledge, providing opportunities for you to evaluate and interpret more complex case scenarios within forensic biology. It addresses routine DNA short tandem repeat analysis allowing you to develop the appropriate skills to extract DNA, perform polymerase chain reaction and capillary electrophoresis, and analyse and interpret DNA profiles for the biological identification of individuals. You will explore specialist techniques and future-facing technologies including next-generation sequencing which is revolutionising forensic genomics with applications including microbial forensics, species determination, and phenotypic predications such as biogeographical ancestry and physical characteristics.

Human Identification and Forensic Imaging

Human identification is a vital part of many forensic investigations. You will explore and critically analyse the various techniques and technologies we can use in the identification of unknown individuals either dead or alive. Through taught sessions and practical seminar discussions you will reflect on previous and current practices and to consider what the future might hold in terms or arising technologies. Both 2D and 3D forensic imaging technologies will be covered.

Science Research Project

You complete an in-depth, independent investigation into a specialist aspect of your field of study. In your project you will bring together a range of practical and academic skills developed in previous years of study. Regardless of the nature of the project, this process acts as a capstone experience requiring analysis and critical evaluation of data as well as critical reflection on the potential risks, moral and ethical issues. This piece of work will involve a significant individual contribution on your part. You will be supported by the appointment of an academic staff member as your research supervisor. They will act as a mentor and guide you through the development and completion of your research project.

Finally, you will communicate your independent research by producing a research poster and journal article to allow you to develop essential skills which mirror professional practice when research is presented at scientific conferences and for publication.

Serious Crime Investigation

You carry out group work and encompass the examination of evidence typically found within a crime scene and working forensic science laboratory, evaluation of data and delivery of evidence in a mock court. You work in self-managed inter-disciplinary teams using each other’s strengths to build up a portfolio of knowledge and evidence relating to casework material. The module incorporates industry standards such as Streamlined Forensic Reporting (SFR).

Substances of Misuse

You examine pharmacological and biochemical aspects of drug action and the subject of toxicology. Mechanisms of drug action are considered as are: intoxication, side-effects and factors affecting response to xenobiotic compounds as well as misuse and abuse issues. Methods for drug testing and the associated analytical techniques for forensic investigation are also considered.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

You learn through a range of teaching and learning methods including:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars and workshops (including oral presentations and poster sessions)
  • laboratory work
  • computer laboratory-based sessions
  • group projects
  • research projects.

The course provides a number of contact teaching and assessment hours, but you are also expected to spend time on your own - self-study time - to review lecture notes, prepare coursework assignments, work on projects and revise for assessments. Each year of full-time study consists of modules totalling 120 credits and each unit of credit corresponds to ten hours of learning and assessment (contact hours plus self-study hours). So, during one year of full-time study you can expect to have 1,200 hours of learning and assessment.

Each programme and module is supported by a specific virtual learning environment (VLE) site.

How you are assessed

You may be assessed through:

  • formal exams including 'unseen' exams
  • court/case
  • reports
  • evidence portfolios
  • oral presentations and technical interviews
  • collaborative project work
  • preparation and display of posters
  • planning, conduct and reporting of project work.

You also have the opportunity to present evidence in our on-campus court room.


Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Year 1 entry
96-112 UCAS tariff points
You must have GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent and have studied at least one relevant subject at Level 3. Eligible subjects include:

Biology
Chemistry
Applied Science

Typical Level 3 qualifications include:

A levels (within a minimum of grade C from one relevant subject)
BTEC Extended Diploma
Access to HE Diploma

Alternative equivalent UK and international qualifications and subjects are also considered. If you are not eligible for Year 1 entry, we also offer this course with an integrated foundation year.

Direct entry to later years
If you have previously studied a relevant subject at a higher level (for example HNC, HND or one or more years of a degree at another institution) we can consider you for direct entry to Year 2 or Final Year of this course. Please provide us with a complete detailed transcript of your previous studies with your application to help us determine your eligibility for advanced entry.

Applicant Days
If you receive an offer to study with us you will be invited to attend one of our Applicant Days. This is a great opportunity to learn more about studying at Teesside by exploring our campus, seeing our excellent facilities, meeting staff and students, and finding out more about your course.

The Applicant Day provides you with information, guidance and advice to help you make the right choice. Even if you have attended an Open Day we encourage you to attend the Applicant Day - we are confident you will find your visit a useful experience.

Non-EU international students
Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet the minimum English language requirement.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

 

Employability

Work placement

A work placement officer and the University's careers service help support you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also gain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

Examples of placements completed by our students:

  • DNA Analyst, Eurofins Forensic Services (formerly LGC Forensics), Warrington
  • Research Scientist (Gas Chromatography), AkzoNobel, Slough
  • Research Scientist (Analytical Chemistry), Proctor and Gamble, Newcastle Innovation Centre
  • Science Laboratory Technician, Stockton Riverside College Bede Sixth Form Centre, Billingham
  • Stability Analyst, GlaxoSmithKline, Barnard Castle.

Career opportunities

Forensic science graduates can find employment in a wide range of sectors - you are not restricted to a forensic scientist role. You have enhanced employment prospects in sectors which include medical, scientific and research laboratories, chemical and processing industries, the legal profession, probation service, police, Ministry of Defence, Home Office, trading standards, criminal justice agencies. With our focus on science communication, some graduates choose to pursue a career in teaching.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:

  
 

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: F412 BSc/FS
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2020 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: 6 years if entering in Year 1, 4 years if entering in Year 2
  • Attendance: Timetable governed - please contact our admissions office
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 
 
 
 

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