Would you like to enter the fascinating field of forensic science but don’t have a traditional science background? Our Forensic Investigation course allows students without a science background, or those with a specific interest in this field, to acquire knowledge relating to the use of forensic techniques in a wide range of criminal investigations. These include areas such as sport and competition, consumer protection and authenticity, wildlife crime, and various forms of terrorism.
As part of your Forensic Investigation training, you’ll gain practical skills in volume crime scene examination, analysis of forensic evidence, and courtroom simulations. You’ll also learn about the structure and processes that regulate the criminal justice system, and the law associated with criminal investigation. You’ll undertake simulated investigations in our multi-room Crime Scene House, ranging from domestic burglaries and vehicle examinations to more complex scenes such as arson and homicide. You’ll study several cases and learn about the forensic techniques used to solve the crime, and be able to critically appraise and evaluate forensic approaches.
You will study a diverse range of subject areas relevant to forensic investigation, including crime scene investigation, collection and analysis of evidence, the structure and processes which regulate the criminal justice system and laws associated with criminal investigation.
During the first year, you will receive an introduction to the various disciplines within the forensic science field and this will be complimented with practical experience gained through the examination of realistic simulated crime scenes from domestic burglaries to homicide within our suite of forensic laboratories and bespoke crime scene house. Other subject areas such as Policing, Health and Safety, Introductory Science and Mathematics will also be studied. Modules include:
During the second year of study, you will further enhance your skills through the analysis of evidence in the laboratory, learning about the various chemical and biological analyses that are used within forensic laboratories. Specialist disciplines such as photography, Forensic Earth Science, Computer Forensics and microscopy are introduced here. Modules studied include:
You will be introduced to more complex Forensic Investigation areas such as Fire and Explosion and Specialist areas of Forensic Investigation. Emphasis will still be placed on the Policing strand of the course and the importance of crime scene processing, and evidence handling in the laboratory. You will also undertake an independent literature review research project. Modules studied include:
The Forensic Investigation course will be delivered through a series of lectures, tutorials and practical classes. In addition to this, students are expected to undertake both directed and independent learning, reading around the subject area.
On an average week, students may be expected to attend the following:
The timetable may be spread over all five days of the taught week (Monday to Friday inclusive) or it may for example, allow students half a day or a full day free from contact classes. This is subject to change on a weekly basis depending upon when individual activities for modules are timetabled.
Guest lecturers are invited to speak to students on a range of topics. Previous topics have included fire investigation, ballistics cases and identification of bodies from mass graves.
Students will be assessed by various means, including written examinations, in class tests, essays, reports, practical exercises, presentations, assessed tutorials. Some modules will be continually assessed and others may have an end of year examination. The following values demonstrate approximate contributions of examinations and continuous assessment for each year of study:
Written end of year examination 20%
Continuous Assessment 80%
Written end of year examination 30%
Continuous Assessment 70%
Written end of year examination 25%
Continuous assessment 75%
Written end of year examination refers to examinations formally taken at the end of the academic year. Other tests may form part of the continuous assessment element of the modules.
Our chemistry and analytical laboratories are of a standard you would expect to find in industry. If you choose to study one of our courses, you will make full use of the George Knox laboratories and gain hands-on experience using extensive analytical equipment. This will allow you to develop a portfolio of highly desirable practical skills that you can add to your CV. In particular, when using the more specialised equipment and facilities, you will find yourself working in groups of up to just four or five students.
Our laboratory facilities include a dedicated organic chemistry laboratory; a combined inorganic/physical chemistry laboratory; two large general instrument laboratories that house analytical instruments such as UV/visible spectrometers, infrared spectrometers, fluorescence spectrometers, optical emission spectrometers, and gas and liquid chromatographs; a dedicated student research laboratory and two specialist laboratories for performing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy In addition, students have access to the laboratories and instrumentation in the University’s Sustainable Environment Research Centre (SERC) which include ultra-high performance liquid chromatograph tandem mass spectrometers, ion chromatographs and headspace gas chromatographs. View our Forensic Science facilities.
You will be taught by staff in our analytical and forensic science team which consist of specialist forensic science practitioners, experts in DNA analysis and bloodstain pattern analysis, experts in forensic toxicology, crime scene investigators and chartered chemists.
We also employ several specialists within the forensic field to deliver training on this course to enhance your study.
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.
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
BCC - CDD (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include a relevant higher subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)
Pass the Access to HE Diploma 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)
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
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
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.
All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.
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.
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.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
The BSc Forensic Investigation degree will help you develop the academic, vocational and personal skills needed to pursue a variety of caeers. These include roles in crime scene and forensic investigation units, and in the wider criminal justice sector. The course is designed to also develop transferrable skills that you can apply to a range of occupations requiring a scientific analytical background.
As a USW 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.