BSc (Hons) Forensic Biology

93% of our BSc (Hons) Forensic Biology graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduating Graduate Destination Survey 2016

Are you fascinated by the process of conducting DNA analysis to investigate the scene of a crime? Forensic biology is a specialist discipline within the forensic sciences that focuses on evidence of a biological nature.

Forensic biologists analyse evidence such as blood, hair and other body fluids to identify unique characteristics such as DNA. They also work with other forensic scientists to investigate crimes against individuals and natural disasters. 

As one of the first UK universities to offer a Forensic Biology degree, we’ve been nurturing investigative minds for over a decade, and can help you on the path to your career in forensic biology.

Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, our exciting and practical Forensic Biology course covers a wide range of sciences, from criminalistics to toxicology, giving you an excellent grounding for a career in forensic biology and forensic investigation. 

The Forensic Biology degree covers a wide range of sciences, from criminalistics to organic chemistry. It will develop the concepts of crime scene investigation protocol. You will also gain scientific knowledge of the chemical and biological analytical techniques used to assist investigations.

The first year of your Forensic Biology degree introduces you to the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in biological, analytical chemistry and crime scene investigation employed within forensic investigation.

The second year of your Forensic Biology degree will enhance your practical skills and theoretical knowledge through forensic evidence and forensic imaging. You will develop your skills in applying analytical chemistry techniques and your understanding of biological science through molecular biology and medical microbiology.

In the third year, you will study advanced modules and critically analyse forensic case studies, as well as forensic microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. You will study toxicology and clinical biochemistry, as well as advanced biological analyses that involve genetics, DNA and biological anthropology.

Year One: Forensic Biology Degree

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Criminalistics
  • Introduction to Forensic Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry

Year Two: Forensic Biology Degree

  • Forensic Evidence
  • Volume Crime Scene Examination
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Biology and an Introduction to Forensic Genetics
  • Metabolism and Biochemistry
  • Medical Microbiology

Year Three: Forensic Biology Degree

  • Research Professional Practice and Employability in Forensic Sciences
  • Toxicology
  • Human Molecular Genetics and Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Microscopy and X-Ray Analysis
  • Human Variation and Forensic Anthropology


You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practicals. The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice and year of study. Forensic Biology degree students typically have six lectures per week as well as ten to twelve hours of practical work plus some small group tutorials.

In addition to lectures from the staff at The University of South Wales, guest lectures are delivered by external specialist experts in their field as part of the module delivery and additionally through presentations organised by the University Forensic Science Society and Chemistry Society.

In addition many events are held during the year such as Career Fairs and Career conferences where students will have an opportunity to find out more about prospective careers and meet prospective employers.


You will be assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study. Your progress and achievements will be monitored through coursework, such as written reports, experimentation practicals, in-class and on-line tests plus end-of-year examinations.

No more than about 25% of the course is assessed through formal end of year examinations.


The Forensic Biology degree is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. This means that what you learn meets recognised standards.


Forensic Biology students are trained in vibrant and modern facilities where you will learn key skills in brand-new purpose-built laboratories and at our Crime Scene Training Facility, a unique facility where you will learn how to process major crime scenes.

Teaching and learning facilities include a dedicated DNA analysis suite with a state-of-the-art genetic analyser, a scanning electron microscopy suite, and dedicated laboratories for chemistry and biology.


The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC to include Chemistry and Biology but excluding General Studies


BCC - CDD to include Chemistry and Biology but excluding General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Grade C and BC at A Level to include Chemistry and Biology but to exclude General Studies

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include Chemistry and Biology but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass which must include Biology and Chemistry modules (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

29 points to include 16 points at Higher Level to include grade 5 in Biology and Chemistry

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include grade 5 in Biology and Chemistry (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Typical Science Requirements

Applicants taking Science A levels in England will need to pass the practical element alongside achieving the requested

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma in Science with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

Recent graduates from the Forensic Biology degree have found jobs as forensic biologists with forensic science service providers, as drugs analysts in forensic toxicology laboratories, and in scenes of crime teams and scientific support.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW Forensic Biology student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.