Chemical Skills For Forensic Scientists - PSCI3810

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module has a significant focus on experimental chemistry. You will therefore complete a set of laboratory practicals, enabling you to develop the laboratory skills and knowledge to work safely in an experimental environment and carry out fundamental organic and analytical chemistry procedures, including basic spectroscopy. This will be supplemented by teaching you the essentials of laboratory safety awareness and the skills needed to write scientific reports, including ways to clearly present data arising from experiments. To enable you to achieve this you will learn, through examples of physical science applications, the basic mathematics required to understand, plot and analyse graphical information, including differentiation and integration. This will be supported by lessons in how to use simple computer programs for drawing molecular and crystal structures and carry out basic calculations on the energy levels of chemical systems (Lab component).
In this module you will also be introduced to the key concept of periodicity and how, through a deeper knowledge of the periodic table, scientists are able to understand and predict the chemical properties, reactivity and compounds formed by the elements. You will also be introduced to redox chemistry, which plays a key role in the reactivity of the elements and the forms in which they are found.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 82
Private study hours: 218
Total study hours: 300


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Molecular graphics and pc skills (3.5 hours, 12%)
Periodicity and lab safety in course test (40 mins, 13.5%)
Data presentation methods and communication skills (3 hours, 9%)
Maths in course test (40 mins, 6%)
Library quiz (1.5 hours, 3%)
Fundamental Chemistry lab (12 hours, 22%)
Analytical Chemistry Lab (11 hours, 22%)

It is compulsory to average a pass for Fundamental Chemistry Labs and Analytical Chemistry Labs.

Indicative reading

Burrows, Holman, Parsons, Pilling and Price, Chemistry3, Oxford University Press, 2009
Chang, Chemistry, McGraw-Hill, 1998
Monk, Mathematics for Chemistry, Oxford University Press, 2006
Saferstein, Criminalistics – An Introduction to Forensic Science, Prentice Hall, 2001
Higher Education Academy Physical Sciences Centre, Quantitative Skills in Forensic Science:
Langford, Dean, Reed, Holmes, Weyers, and Jones, Practical Skills in Forensic Science, Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
The knowledge and skills base to allow progression to further studies in the areas of chemistry and forensic science, with a sense of enthusiasm for chemistry and its applications.
Acquired and developed key skills, concepts, theories and practice which underpin practical chemistry problem solving and in data presentation methods pertaining to scientific results dissemination.
Acquired and developed necessary practical laboratory skills, problem-solving skills and work-related safety skills, including chemical handling, scientific data presentation and standard laboratory procedures.
The ability to recognise trends within groups and across periods of the periodic table and describe chemical and physical properties of elements within those groups. Developed knowledge and skills in the identification of behavioural periodic and group trends of the elements.
The ability to explain, with the aid of diagrams and using software tools, typical structures of common compounds.
Developed numerical and mathematical skills, critical for the study of chemistry and forensic science.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Developed a transferable skills set including the use of information and communication technology.
Developed basic experimental and communication skills required for physical and forensic science.
Acquired knowledge and understanding of elementary practical chemistry.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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