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Forensic Science BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time F410 2019
4 years full time including foundation year F411 2019
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2019

Why choose this course?

If you are interested in the application of science to criminal investigations, a degree in forensic science is ideal. The interdisciplinary degree explores the collection, analysis and interpretation of scientific evidence, in an integrated approach, with plenty of case studies. This exciting area of science is delivered with expertise from professional forensic practitioners.

Foundation year

If you would like to study one of our science degrees at Kingston University but are not yet ready to join the first year of a BSc(Hons) course, you can include an extra foundation year within your chosen degree. Please see the science foundation year course page for details of modules.

What you will study

Year 1 offers a broad understanding of the major branches of biology and biochemistry. You will develop key laboratory skills, and learn to give detailed scientific explanations for the theory and practices used in modern forensic science. The Introduction to Forensic Science module gives an overview of types of forensic evidence, such as skeletal remains, insects, drugs, toxicology and poisons. IT, numeracy and study skills will be taught as part of these modules.

Year 2 introduces specialist topics in forensic science. These include DNA and human identification, crime-scene processing, counterfeits and forgeries and the application of analytical techniques to the analysis of evidence. You will also be introduced to criminal law, including the cross examination of expert witness testimony and opinion in a mock courtroom setting.

Year 3 provides you with the opportunity to study further forensic topics, including the analysis of body fluids, drugs, fibres, fire investigation and ballistics. You can tailor your studies through the option modules in Advanced Analytical Techniques or Forensic Archaeology. You will also undertake an independent research project.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module introduces the key types of forensic science and the role and expertise of different forensic specialists. This module is also designed to encourage independent learning and research.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an awareness of introductory skeletal anatomy, post-mortem change and the autopsy process.
    • Have a knowledge and understanding of key techniques in the analysis of a variety of types of forensic evidence.
    • Demonstrate an awareness of the role of scientific evidence in real-world forensic cases.
    • Show an appreciation of the many classes of trace and contact evidence that may occur in a forensic case.

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  • This is a core module taken by students studying Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Science, Forensic Biology, Forensic Science, Medical Biochemistry, Nutrition and Pharmacology. The module is intended to give you an understanding of how basic chemical elements are bonded to form complex biomolecules in living systems. The module will then elaborate on the role that structure of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids plays in defining their properties and function along with describing some of the laboratory techniques used in their investigation. The module will also introduce the importance of energy transformations in living organisms. The module provides an essential introduction to level 5 and 6 modules that develop further knowledge in biochemical principles. Core material is delivered through lectures and problem solving workshops supported by laboratory practicals and subsequent data analysis.

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  • This first year module is a core module for all Bioscience and Forensic Science programmes, and provides a firm foundation in general scientific and laboratory skills that students require to successfully complete their programmes of study.  Students are introduced to the nature of studying in higher education, the need for effective time management and planning of work, the appropriate use of information sources, and to sources of information relating to careers in the biosciences.  Scientific analytical and lab/practical skills are developed, together with essential mathematics and statistical skills for life scientists.  A significant component of the module consists of the development of basic research skills such as practical skills in the laboratory, the principles of experimental design and the statistical analysis of data.

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  • This module is a core module taken by students studying Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and Pharmacology. The module introduces students to basic cell biology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, molecular, organismal and population genetics, germ layers and basic tissue types in the human body, and to a variety of microorganisms. Core information is provided in lectures and supported by material on Canvas. Laboratory practicals give students the opportunity to learn a selection of current techniques used to study cells, tissues, chromosomes and microbes. The module provides a solid foundation for subsequent modules at levels 5 and 6 that expand knowledge in cell biology, anatomy, physiology, genetics and microbiology.

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Year 2

  • This module looks at the duties of all those involved in crime scene processing. Experience of observation and recording at the crime scene, evidence collection, preservation, documentation and chain of custody are discussed. In addition, the module deals with the role of an expert witness and knowledge of the UK Criminal Justice system. The group practical in the crime scene house and the professional conduct and presentation demanded by the mock trials develop key areas of employability. Questions of safety and quality assurance in crime scene processing are also addressed. The Case Assessment and Interpretation (CAI) model will be used in relation to the prosecution and defence scenarios which are  assessed during a mock trial. The module introduces statistical models used by forensic scientists in the court of law.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an awareness of the role and responsibilities of the forensic scientist and the scene of crime officer with respect to various crime scenes.
    • Apply the correct practices of evidence collection, preservation and recording in compliance with protocols on continuity and health and safety with respect to various crime scene scenarios.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the forensic scientist and expert witness within the criminal legal process.
    • Critically interpret evidence from a crime scene applying the CAI model or relevant statistical approaches.
    • Communicate scientific findings and interpretations effectively in written and oral form for examination in a mock trial scenario.

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  • This module is a core requirement in the Pharmaceutical Science, Forensic science and Biochemistry fields. The module introduces students to the applications of analytical science within analytical biochemistry, clinical chemistry, forensic analysis and the pharmaceutical sciences. It allows you to build your knowledge, practical skills and interpretation skills whilst implementing the analytical process model using scenario-based learning.

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  • This is a core module for students studying forensic science.  It aims to develop the scientific, academic and research skills that were introduced at level 4, and to relate applications of these skills to study and research in forensic biology.  Research skills are taught within the context of forensic biology and associated employment opportunities.  The module also develops your knowledge of forensic biology with a particular focus on key methods of human identification and contact trace evidence associated with the human skeleton, tissues and fluids, including DNA analysis. The development of these methods through scientific research and case practice is also addressed to foster a critical evaluation of the applicability and reliability of key forensic techniques. Key issues in the use of biological evidence in forensic investigations, such as the use of controls, reference samples and databases, and measures to minimise bias and error will also be addressed in this module.

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  • Choose from the following:

    • This module is an optional module in the Forensic Science pathway. It is designed to introduce you to the forensic analysis of counterfeits, fakes and forgeries, the implications of these, and their subsequent analysis. The module first introduces you to document analysis and its importance in a forensic investigation. Examples of topics include the analysis of counterfeit currencies, handwriting, signatures, inks, indentations, writing implements and art work. The module will then go on to examine the forensic importance of counterfeit drugs, consumer products and digital/cybercrime. Delivery of this module will include formal lectures, practicals and workshops.

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    • This module will provide you with the opportunity to undertake a critical examination of contemporary debates on the control of crime and purpose of punishment. You will be introduced to a range of theoretical perspectives and debates on the use of punishment to repress criminality and will be asked to consider the purpose of punishment in modern societies. This will be accompanied by an examination of different forms of punishment including an in-depth exploration of the use of imprisonment and comparative penal systems. The module will also develop your existing knowledge of crime control by examining the role of policing and the police in Britain through the lens of a series of contemporary policy developments, controversies and issues.

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Year 3

  • This module focuses on the detection, recording, analysis and evaluation of a broad range of biological evidence, particularly trace and contact evidence, body fluids and blood patterns.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Critically assess how the composition and function of body fluids impact on their utility as forensic evidence.
    • Critically assess the appropriate analytical techniques applicable to a broad range of biological evidence including blood and body fluids.
    • Evaluate the application of forensic DNA analysis to a range of biological materials.
    • Evaluate and interpret blood pattern evidence.
    • Collect, process and record simulated forensic evidence to current professional standards.
    • Critically interpret and present simulated forensic evidence to current professional standards using the case assessment model.

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  • This module introduces the analytical and forensic techniques encountered in trace and contact evidence analysis. The module focuses on four areas of forensic casework; drugs of abuse, fibre analysis, fire investigation and ballistics.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Appreciate the role of the Forensic Scientist as relates to drugs, fibres, firearms and fire, and illustrate the importance of prevention of evidence contamination.
    • Describe and explain the techniques and methodologies used for the analysis of trace and contact evidence samples, particularly in relation to fibres and firearms.
    • Critically assess the best methodology and technique appropriate for a sample.
    • Critically interpret current legislation as applied to trace and contact evidence, drugs of abuse and alcohol analysis.
    • Devise appropriate sampling and storage protocols for a range of analyses and matrices.
    • Demonstrate communication and observation skills and have developed independent learning skills.

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  • Choose from the following:

    • This  module provides an opportunity to undertake a scientific project and develop skills required to plan a project, develop a methodology, analyse the data and disseminate the results. Two types of projects are offered: an experimental or a non-experimental project requiring a review and critical evaluation of data generated from laboratory experiments or collected from published works.

      On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

      • Organise, plan and develop an area of research after discussion with project supervisors.
      • Review up to date advances from the primary literature and other relevant sources.
      • Use relevant ICT resources competently (eg browse through relevant on-line scientific databases; use appropriate software for chemical drawing, molecular modelling or data processing).
      • Prepare a structured, critical evaluation of a research topic and the data collected in the form of a written report.
      • Present and disseminate their results to a scientific audience through written and spoken communication.
      • Demonstrate an ability to work independently and to make informed decisions on the progress of the project.

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    • This is a core module in the Biosciences field for a number of BSc (Honours) programmes. The project module forms a very important part of the degree programme and probably constitutes the largest piece of independent work a student is likely to undertake during his/her undergraduate studies. There are several types of projects that may be offered to students: a laboratory or field-based project, data projects involving acquisition of data and information from surveys, questionnaires, computer simulations or bioinformatics, or a systematic review of research literature that includes the collection, comparison and original presentation of reported research data. The end point is the same in all cases; review and critical evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information and data to address a hypothesis or research question, and the production of a written report.

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  • Choose from the following:

    • This module introduces the role of the forensic archaeologist and the broad range of cases in which archaeological techniques may be utilised. These techniques include aerial and geophysical survey, excavation and recording of burials and the outdoor crime scene, and the scientific dating of both questioned objects and human remains.  

      On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

      • Critically evaluate and utilise a range of techniques and evidence sources that are employed in locating a missing person, outdoor crime scene, or clandestine burial.
      • Process and record an outdoor crime scene or clandestine burial in keeping with correct protocols and professional standards for the treatment of human remains and related evidence.
      • Critically assess the applicability of scientific dating, authentication and provenance techniques in forensic investigations.
      • Appreciate the study of taphonomy, preservation and the burial environment.
      • Critically assess the use of forensic archaeology in a range of domestic and international contexts.
       
    • This is a core module of MPharmSci (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science and MChem(Hons) Chemistry and an option for BSc(Hons) Chemistry  and BSc(Hons) Pharmaceutical Science students. It takes forward the themes of spectroscopy that were introduced in the previous modules and develops a more rigorous theoretical footing and advanced applications. In parallel to this, analytical themes are introduced covering radiochemical analysis, electroanalysis and thermal analysis.

      Read full module description

       
    • International Crime and Terrorism
     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

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*5p per minute from a BT landline. Call charges from other providers may vary.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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