Image representing Forensic Science

Forensic Science - MSci

UCAS code F414

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


If you excel at science, are keen to develop your investigative skills in a variety of scenarios and have meticulous attention to detail, you will enjoy studying Forensic Science at Kent. Fascinating and challenging, this programme prepares you for professional practice or postgraduate study.


At Kent, you study all aspects of forensic science, developing scientific and analytical skills. We create ‘crime scenes’ - including using our brand new crime scene house - for you to examine and conduct ‘major incident’ exercises, where you react in real time to an unfolding event. We also demonstrate how your forensic skills can be used within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

This programme is fully accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. All students on the programme are offered free student membership for the duration of their degree.

Our degree programme

In your first year, you get to grips with the broad base of knowledge on which forensic science is built, including biochemistry, drug chemistry, and ballistics. You also develop your investigative and laboratory skills.

In your second and third years, you expand your knowledge to cover analytical chemistry, forensic archaeology, digital forensics, fires and explosions, and firearms. You also study criminal law (taught by Kent’s highly ranked Law School) and are trained in forensic expert witness skills. In certain modules, you are taught by industry specialists.

In the final year of your MSci programme, you develop your skills and knowledge further by undertaking a research project and exploring how to develop an idea into a fully worked-up research proposal.

If you do not have the grades for direct entry on to the Forensic Science MSci, you can take Forensic Science with a Foundation Year. It is also possible to take the three-year Forensic Science BSc (Hons).

Year in industry

Many students choose to take a year in industry. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply: see Forensic Science with a Year in Industry.

Student view

Forensic Science student Natalie talks about her course at the University of Kent.


Study resources

We recently invested £10 million in our laboratories and improved our general study spaces. Facilities to support forensic science include:

  • dedicated ballistics and firearms kit
  • scene-of-crime facilities that allow you to apply the theory of crime scenes, evidence recovery and fingerprinting
  • a document examination instrument used in the detection of forged documents
  • a full analytical suite for forensic chemical analysis, including:
    • Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
    • High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
    • Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS)
    • Raman Spectrometry
    • Fourier Transform Infra-Red Spectrometry (FTIR)
    • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM).

Extra activities

The School of Physical Sciences is home to an international scientific community of forensic science, chemistry, physics and astronomy students. Numerous formal and informal opportunities for discussion make it easy to participate in the academic life of the School. All students have an academic adviser and we also run a peer mentoring scheme.

You are encouraged to participate in conferences and professional events to build up your knowledge of the science community and enhance your professional development. The School also works collaboratively with business partners, which allows you to see how our research influences current practice.

You can also take part in:

  • the School’s Physical Sciences Colloquia, a popular series of talks given by internal and external experts on relevant and current topics
  • the student-run Forensic Science Society, which organises talks with top industry professionals, practical demonstrations and social events

Professional network

All students are offered free membership of The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

The School of Physical Sciences also has links with:

  • the Home Office
  • the Forensic Explosives Laboratory
  • forensic science services
  • local health authorities
  • biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical companies in the UK and Europe
  • Interpol.

Independent rankings

Over 91% of final-year Forensic Science students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course in The Guardian University Guide 2019.

In the National Student Survey 2018, over 94% of final-year Forensic Science students who completed the survey, were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Of Forensic Science students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed a national survey, over 88% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The course structure below gives a flavour of the modules and provides details of the content of this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

At all stages in this programme, the modules listed are compulsory.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

This module introduces and revises the basic concepts of chemistry that underpin our understanding of the stability of matter. This starts with introducing atomic and molecular structure, with a focus on understanding the electronics of bonding in the molecular compounds around us. You will then study the laws governing the behavior of gases and origins of other interactions that hold solids and liquids together, alongside describing some of their basic properties such as conductivity, viscosity, and the way in which ions behave in solution. In the final aspect of this module we cover the critical role thermodynamics plays in determining the stability of matter, including the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and the importance of equilibrium in reversible reactions.

View full module details

This module reintroduces the basic concepts of organic chemistry that are vital in understanding pharmaceutical and biological substances. You will study the basics of the chemistry of carbon, the element critical to underpinning life, including its basic building blocks and functional groups. We also cover the mechanisms by which basic organic reactions including elimination, substitution and oxidation processes occur. This module concludes with studying aromatic compounds and chirality, which crucially influence how organic molecules interact within living systems.

View full module details

Chemistry in context

Using an organic chemistry perspective, you will study the fundamentals of biochemistry, the chemistry of life, including enzyme reactions, protein chemistry, DNA, lipids and carbohydrates. These topics are underpinned by the role chemical phenomena such as thermodynamics and intermolecular interactions play in a biological context. We then explore the nature and discovery of drugs, how they work, and the potential effects of their misuse.

View full module details

Forensic Science; Evidence and the Scene of the Crime

What is forensic science? Historical and legal background of forensic science – exchange principles and linkage theory. Forensic science in the U.K – inductive and deductive reasoning. Identification, characterisation, recovery and weighting of trace evidence types. Crime scene searching methodologies; the integrity and continuity of evidence. Introduction to laboratory testing dealing with glass, tool-mark, shoe-mark and tyre impressions. The management of scientific support at crime scenes. Procedures at crime scenes illustrated by reference to crimes of burglary, murder and sexual offences. Fingerprint history, classification, recovery and chemical enhancement of fingerprints. Blood pattern analysis supporting the advances in DNA techniques. Firearms classification, internal & external ballistics, trajectory, mass and velocity. Firearms injuries at crime scenes. Introduction to DNA analysis and the functioning of the National DNA Database. Sexual offence investigation and body fluid identification. Clinical indicators of death and murder scene investigation.

Drug Abuse, Alcohol and Forensic Toxicology

Drugs of abuse and their identification. Drugs, alcohol poisons and their metabolism. Toxicology and the role of the forensic toxicologist. Qualitative and quantitative laboratory analysis.

Document Examination:

Signature and handwriting identification. Paper, inks and printed documents. Damage characterisation.

Fires and Explosions:

Arson. Fire and combustion. Types of explosives and the nature of explosions. The crime scene investigation: sampling and laboratory analysis.

View full module details

Quantitative skills beginning with GCSE mathematics through to algebra, data analysis, graphical treatment of errors, logarithms, basic probability, trigonometry and applications in forensic science.

Incident scene assessment, management and mapping, including working in our new crime scene house and garden.

Induction to the English legal system and laws of evidence.

The structure and composition of DNA, genetic analysis and applications relevant to forensic science.

View full module details

Mathematical Concepts for Impact Studies

Newton's laws of motion


Energy considerations

Introduction to ballistics

Categories of weapons

Weapon mechanisms

Ammunition construction

Internal ballistics

External ballistics

Terminal ballistics

Overview of Forensic Ballistics

The 1968 Firearms Act (as amended)

Categorisation of firearms and ammunition

Shooting case studies

View full module details

Laboratory safety: lectures on laboratory safety including safe handling of chemicals, electrical supplies, solvents and gases both within and outside fume cupboards, safe disposal of chemicals, CoSHH and risk assessment, accident prevention.

Laboratory skills: the completion of a set of experiments in a lab environment within the safety structure as laid out by lab risk assessments. To include: fundamental organic chemistry methodology, chemical handling, use of equipment (including calibration and accuracy), infra-red spectroscopy, analytical chemistry and titrations, colorimetry, gravimetric analysis, solvent extraction.

Data presentation methods: the correct and succinct planning and preparation of scientific reports, correct referencing, data manipulation and presentation, literature searches and library catalogues, academic integrity and referencing styles.

Periodic table and inorganic chemistry: Periodic trends in the periodic table: chemical properties, reactivity and compounds across periods 1 and 2, introduction to diagonal relationships; hydrogen and its compounds; Group 1 – the alkali metals, their compounds and reactivity; Group 2 – the alkaline earth metals, their compounds and reactivity; introduction to redox chemistry; the p-block: Group 13 elements, their properties and reactivity, the inert pair effect, the chemistry of boron; Group 14 elements, properties, compounds and reactivities, carbon and its allotropes; Group 15: the chemistry of the pnictogens, nitrogen, phosphorus and its allotropes; Group 16: the chemistry of the chalcogens; Group 17: the chemistry of the halogens; extension to MO and VSEPR theory; introduction to groups 12 and 18.

Molecular graphics: use of MarvinSketch to represent and draw chemical structures and calculate molecular properties, using J-mol and J-ice to present molecular and crystal structures graphically, use of HULIS software to calculate energy levels from Hückel theory.

Maths for physical scientists: basic mathematics and functions used in physical sciences, curve sketching and plotting simple functions, differentiation and integration, examples of physical science applications including chemical reaction rates.

View full module details

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

You will develop an understanding of the theory and application of techniques for chemical identification. You will study symmetry, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (GCMS), infrared and Raman spectroscopy, spectrophotometry/fluorimetry, basic diffraction methods and electron spin resonance.

View full module details

Evidential practice and law in relation to location, recovery, preservation, and interpretation of a wide range of forensic samples.

Statement and report writing, and witness interview to evidential standard.

Incident assessment and management in a wide variety of forensic environments.

Location, recovery and preservation of a range of forensic samples using our new crime scene house and garden, including: Fingerprints, DNA, fibres, trace samples, blood distribution patterns, gunshot residues, tool marks and impressions, foot shoe and tyre prints, sexual offence samples.

Incident mapping and photography.

Document and forgery analysis.

View full module details

Dating : Radioactive decay and detection of radiation, radiocarbon dating and related methods, accelerator mass spectrometry, uranium series dating, potassium-argon dating, radioactive tracers, isotope dilution, neutron activation, stable isotope techniques with forensic applications, electron spin resonance spectroscopy, thermoluminescence dating and thermal history, Lindow Man, detection of irradiated food.

Detection : Magnetometry, metal detectors, resistivity surveys, ground penetrating radar, aerial photography, and remote sensing.

Osteology : The study of human osteology is fundamental to the discipline of forensic anthropology. This series of lectures begins by examining the structure, growth, and function of bones and teeth. Methods of skeletal analysis in forensic anthropology are then examined, including age, sex, stature, trauma, disease, and race. Applications in biological anthropology will also be reviewed. This section of the course will include a laboratory practical.

View full module details

Facial Identification

Facial reconstruction, facial composites, description by witness – cognitive interview - Turnbull’s rules (R v Turnbull, 1976), identity parades – psychology of facial identification – video identity parades, facial mapping, automated recognition technologies, age progression.

Digital Image Analysis

Image formation, image storage, image distortion, image restoration methods, the digital image in crime detection, steganography (implementation and detection).

Digital Forensics

Encryption, fallacies about hiding and destroying data, where to find data and methods for retrieving it, disk imaging, file integrity, cryptographic hashing, privacy vs need for investigation.

View full module details

Trace Analysis:

Trace analysis: definitions, methods and problems. Sampling, storage and contamination. Quality control. Random and systematic errors; statistical treatment of data. Accuracy and precision. Signal/noise ratio. Sensitivity and detection limits. Choice of methods for trace analysis.

Units, dimensions, exponentials and logarithms:

Decimal places and significant figures. Units and dimensions: SI units, dimensional analysis. Manipulation of exponentials and logarithms. Power laws. Exponential decay and half-life. Beer-Lambert law, Arrhenius equation, Boltzmann distribution, Gaussian functions.

Chemical Arithmetic:

Balancing chemical equations. Amount of substance, molar quantities, concentration and volumetric calculations, gravimetric analysis, gas pressures and volumes.

Equilibrium calculations, strong and weak electrolytes. pH, acid-base equilibria, buffer solutions. Solubility. Chemical kinetics: reaction rates, rate constants and orders of reaction.

Probability and Statistics:

Elementary probability, probability spaces, Venn diagrams, independence, mutual exclusion, expectation. Quantitative treatment of the effect of evidence: Bayes’ Theorem and conditional probability Samples and populations, mean, standard deviation, moments, standard error. Probability distributions: binomial, normal, poisson. Limiting cases. Use of normal tables. Significance testing and confidence limits. Hypothesis testing. The chi-squared test. A brief look at probability-based arguments used by expert witnesses, recent controversies and challenged convictions. Regression and correlation

Laboratory work:

Analysis of alkaloids by HPLC

Accelerant analysis by gas chromatography

Analysis of metal cartridge cases and counterfeit coins using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy

Determination of copper by atomic absorption spectroscopy

Quantifying substances in a mixture using UV-visible spectroscopy

Isolation & purification of caffeine from tea leaves

View full module details

Inorganic Chemistry:

Stereochemistry of metal complexes: geometrical, optical, structural, ionisation/hydration, linkage, coordination isomerism.

Bonding in transition metal complexes. Crystal field theory: crystal field splitting, factors effecting crystal field splitting, the spectrochemical series, low spin and high spin complexes, crystal field stabilisation energy (CFSE), hydration energy of M2+ ions, site selection in spinels and the Jahn Teller effect. Thermodynamic and kinetic stability of metal complexes. Stability constants. The chelate effect. Lability of ligands. Preparation and reactivity of transition metal complexes.

Colours of complexes: d?d spectra, spin and Laporte selection rules, intensities of absorptions. Measurement of ligand field splitting energy. Charge transfer absorptions. Diamagnetism, paramagnetism, magnetic moment.

Comparison with the d-block elements. Position of lanthanides and actinides in the periodic table. Electronic configuration, oxidation states and chemistry. The lanthanide contraction. Separation of lanthanide elements. f?f spectra. Chemistry of actinides: uranium.

Fibres and Microscopy:What is a fibre and associated polymers and how are they made? Cellulose and other natural polymers. Synthetic polymers and fibres such as nylon. Overview of methods of identification and analysis. A particular emphasis will be on polarized light microscopy for comparative analysis various materials including fibres, paper and soils.


Experiments in preparative and analytical inorganic chemistry, to include: the separation of nickel and cobalt by ion-exchange chromatography; measurement of the ligand field splitting energy in a titanium (III) complex; preparation and properties of complex ions; isomerism in coordination complexes.

View full module details

  • Internal ballistics

  • Weapon failure

  • Suppressors

  • Cartridge case and bullet analyses

  • Gunshot residue analyses

  • Serial number restoration

  • Trajectory analyses

  • Wound ballistics

  • Shooting scene reconstruction

  • The effect of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)

  • A multidisciplinary approach to ballistics

  • Modern Ballistics research.

    View full module details
  • 15

    This module seeks to provide a sound knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles underlying the criminal law, including a grounding in its historical development and underlying philosophy; to provide a detailed grasp of key concepts and general principles; and to promote a critical discussion about the nature, function and effects of the use of criminal law in given contextual situations.

    View full module details

    Stage 3

    Compulsory modules currently include Credits

    Here, you will be introduced to a variety of modern techniques used to understand the structure, properties and potential applications of materials. Analytical techniques include: atomic emission/absorption spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE), ion chromatography, mass spectrometry and gas chromatography (GCMS), electro-analytical chemistry, optical microscopy, electron microscopy.

    View full module details

    Physics and chemistry of fires and explosions:

    Fire and arson – occurrence and importance. Combustion – definitions. Thermodynamics and enthalpy. Flammability limits, flash point, fire point, ignition temperature. Pyrolysis of wood and plastics. Fuels and accelerants. Propagation and spread of fires. Sampling and laboratory analysis of fire scene residues.

    Explosions – definitions. Vapour phase and condensed phase explosions. Detonation and deflagration. High and low explosives. Primary and secondary high explosives. Molecular design of explosives. Survey of important explosives. Stoichiometry, oxygen balance, gas volumes, thermodynamics and enthalpy. Sampling and laboratory analysis of explosives residues. Preventative detection of explosives in contexts such as airports.


    Fire dynamics. Propagation and spread of fires – flames, fire types, flashover. Fire investigation. Forensic Science Service procedures at the scene. Damage observation and assessment. Fire and smoke patterns. Sources of ignition. Injuries and fatalities. Evidence recovery: sampling and laboratory analysis. Establishing the origin : the seat of the fire. Finding the cause: natural, accidental, negligent or deliberate? Indicators of arson. Evidence procedures. Case studies.


    Control of the explosion scene and procedures for recovery of evidence. Damage observation and assessment. The work of the Forensic Explosives Laboratory. Identification of explosives: organics and inorganics. Bulk analysis. Trace analysis of explosives: recovery, extraction and analysis of samples. Physical evidence: detonators. Preventative detection. Precursor identification. Explosives evidence in court: legal definitions and procedures. Terrorism. Case studies.

    View full module details

  • Investigating how science is reported in the media. Writing a press release.

  • Designing and producing a poster.

  • Acting as an expert forensic science witness. Writing and defending an expert witness report – this currently takes place in the Canterbury Magistrates' court.

    View full module details
  • 15

    The module lectures will cover the following topics:

    • Historical methods

    • DNA sample collection, processing and storage

    • DNA theory

    • DNA databases and statistical interpretation

    • Quality Assurance, management and control

    • Legal aspects

    • Forensic case studies

    • Future trends

    View full module details

    The role of evidence in a courtroom is technical but its rules reflect core principles of the due process of law. These are becoming more significant with the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998 and it is important for forensic scientists, who may act as expert witnesses, to have an understanding of these rules and their operation in the trial process. This module considers the position of forensic evidence within the trial process, rules governing the recognition of such evidence and the perception of its value in the trial. In addition matters such as the function of the judge and jury, burden and standard of proof, and hearsay are considered from a central focus of how they relate to forensic evidence.

    View full module details

    This module will include the principles of application, quality and legal aspects of analysis and identification using several evidence types – entwined with case examples of major crimes. The module is intended to cover the most up to date topics within forensic science and will be supported with a wide range of contemporary case studies. The module will include the following subject areas:

    • Case Assessment & Interpretation

    • A selection of contemporary case studies demonstrating the application of forensic science

    • Quality standards in forensic science

    • Ethics in forensic science

    View full module details

    The module is designed to give students experience of a range of advanced laboratory methods with wide application in the Chemical Industry and modern Forensic Science. These methods will underpin Stage 4 research projects (PS740 and CH740) as well as advanced concepts in the Stage 4 program.

    The module will be in two sections. In the first section, taught in the Autumn Term, students will receive training in a range of advanced chemical and physical laboratory methods. This section of the module will be assessed by a report written on each experiment. In the second section, beginning towards the end of the Autumn term and continuing throughout the Spring Term, students will select a topic for an extended self-directed literature review. This will evaluate the available literature on a subject and allow the student to develop critical thinking. This section of the module will be assessed by oral presentation and a written dissertation.

    Experiments will include such as (NB this is an illustrative list):

  • Gas chromatography – mass spectrometry

    Important example of modern hyphenated analysis techniques. Used in analysis of accelerant and explosive traces at scenes of fires and explosions, also in analysis of drugs of abuse.

  • Atomic absorption spectroscopy

    Used in the analysis of trace metal content. Experiment to compare flame and graphite furnace methods.

  • NMR spectroscopy

    Universally used in analysis of organic substances. Experiment to manipulate FID curves, to explore peak resolution and detect contaminants in samples such as counterfeit medicines.

  • X-ray fluorescence

    Used in analysis of metal artefacts, including bullet casings and forged coins.

  • X-ray diffraction

    Used in analysis of materials with crystalline lattices, including metals and inorganic explosives residues.

  • Electron microscopy

    SEM, TEM and Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA) in the analysis of gunshot and explosives residues.

  • Raman spectroscopy

    Used in forensic analysis of ink pigments, street drugs and counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

  • HPLC

    Widely used method of separating and identifying substances in forensic science.

  • UV-visible/fluorescence spectroscopy

    Used in comparison of pigments and paper in questioned documents; also chemical tests for explosives and drugs of abuse.

  • Image processing

    Facial recognition software, signature comparison, and the reconstruction of CCTV images.

    View full module details
  • 30

    Stage 4

    Compulsory modules currently include Credits

    Students will undertake a project from an available project listing and will work under the guidance of a supervisor. The student will be encouraged to develop some level of research independence within the project remit appropriate of an M-level masters' student. The project will be assessed on a number of criteria which will include the project work (the amount, quality etc appropriate for the level), effort put in by the student, the preparation of a written report and an oral presentation session. The student’s progress will be assessed at the end of the first term through some form of progress report. This will also involve some degree of forward planning such that the students assess their own project requirements for the following term allowing the student to learn time management and forward planning skills.


    • To conduct individual masters level research.

    • To develop research independence such that the student can take responsibility for the research direction of the project within the confines of the project remit.

    • To further deepen the student’s knowledge within a specific research area.

    • To prepare students for independent research careers in industry or at PhD level.

    • To further enhance student’s abilities for scientific communication through oral presentations and report writing.

    • Time management and forward planning skills

    View full module details

  • Elements of synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry which are relevant to substances of abuse.

  • The theoretical chemistry and principles of analysis and identification of several substances that are substances of abuse. The following are indicative:

    o amphetamines and related compounds

    o LSD and related compounds

    o Cannabis and Cannabis products

    o opiate compounds

    o cocaine and related compounds

    o certain controlled pharmaceutical drugs.

    View full module details
  • 15

    The module will cover incident management from a tactical/regional and national/strategic perspective using the four stage model: Identification, preparation, mitigation, and recovery.

    A range of actual and potential incidents will be covered including air accidents, marine accidents, rail accidents, terrorist attacks, and industrial, nuclear and chemical incidents.

    This will be achieved using lectures, critical evaluation of case studies, real time and simulated incident exercises using our new crime scene house and garden, and the preparation and presentation at court of incident command reports.

    Students will be required to examine all aspects of scene and major incident management, disaster planning and related legislation. This will encompass emergency management and planning legislation, damage limitation, evacuation plans, logistical support, inter-agency operation and cooperation, personnel management, evidence prioritisation, preparing incident reports, and presenting such reports at court.

    View full module details


    Students will develop a number of skills related to the Investigation and planning of research. Students will learn how to search and retrieve information from a variety of locations (databases, websites, journals, proceedings etc). They will learn how to compile professionally-produced documents such as the report of their own investigation in a direction of their choice. In addition, students will subsequently provide an outline proposal for funding for future research activity.

    Through two Colloquium Reports, students will learn to write high-impact articles with a critical analysis of research presented by others. They will exercise presentation skills and present critical reviews and referee's reports of the research of others.


    The Research Project (60%)

    Identification of a research area and the issues to tackle

    Investigation of an unresolved issue comparing experiments and models, comparing approaches, assumptions and statistical methods.

    Production of a dissertation

    Proposal for future novel work as a short Case for Support for a PhD or research outside university environment

    Project Management: Scheduling research programmes, Gantt, PERT charts.

    Project Management: Costing of research, full economic cost, direct and indirect costs.

    Poster presentation of the research

    Research Review and Evaluation (40%)

    Evaluation of Research: Colloquium attendance/viewing.

    Science Communication: Preparation of two colloquium reports as a science magazine article with impact

    Referee report on the colloquiums: strengths, weaknesses of both the speaker and the research quality.

    Details of the work to be done will be announced by the convenor during the first two weeks of the academic year.

    View full module details

    Teaching and assessment

    Teaching involves a combination of laboratory classes, project work and problem-solving seminars.

    Assessment is by a combination of written examinations, continuous assessment and other assignments. You must pass the Stage 1 examinations in order to go on to Stage 2. Coursework assessments include incident analysis, evidence preservation, presentation skills and expert witness testimony.

    Please note that there are degree thresholds at stages 2 and 3 that you will be required to pass in order to continue onto the next stages.

    Contact Hours

    For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

    Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

    Programme aims

    The programme aims to:

    • Instil enthusiasm for forensic science and an appreciation of its application in different contexts
    • Provide a broad and balanced foundation of the science and law that underpins forensic practice and methodology in a modern society
    • Extend this knowledge and practical ability to an advanced level in selected specialist area and subjects
    • Develop the ability to apply knowledge and skills to the solution of forensic problems
    • Teach you the use and understanding of a variety of scientific and quantitative techniques applied to forensic science problems
    • Provide a knowledge and skills base from which you can proceed to further studies in the forensic and scientific area or in aspects of chemistry, physics or bioscience that are relevant to forensic and related practices
    • Provide a stimulating, research-active environment for teaching and learning
    • Provide an understanding of scientific methodology and the ability to undertake and report on an experimental investigation, based in part on an extended research project
    • Prepare you for a professional role in forensic science within the criminal or civil judicial system, with the skill necessary to present evidence
    • Generate an appreciation of the importance of forensic science and chemistry, and its practice, in a judicial, industrial, economic, environmental and social context, and of the importance of chemistry in an industrial, economic, forensic, and social context.

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding

    You gain knowledge and understanding of:

    • Core and foundation scientific physical, biological, and chemical concepts, terminology, theory, units, conventions, and laboratory methods in relation to forensic science.
    • Advanced theory, concepts and practice in the forensic field.
    • Areas of chemistry as applied to forensic analysis, and areas of bioscience, including cells, biochemistry, human DNA.
    • Numeracy, forensic investigation and interpretation, and apply them to forensic examination and analysis.
    • Incident investigation, evidence recovery, preservation, and presentation as an expert witness within the judicial environment.
    • Command, management and logistics of major incidents such as air or rail accidents; emergency and disaster planning.

    Intellectual skills

    You gain intellectual skills in how to:

    • Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject to find the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems.
    • Recognise and analyse novel problems and plan strategies for their solution by the evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information and data by a variety of computational methods.
    • Recognise and solve forensic-related problems at an advanced level.
    • Recognise and implement good measurement science and practice and commonly used forensic laboratory techniques.
    • Select the most appropriate techniques for a given analysis and to use a wide range of advanced apparatus.
    • Write essays and present scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences including in legal contexts.
    • Communicate complex scientific argument to a lay audience.

    Subject-specific skills

    You gain the following subject-specific skills:

    • Safe handling of chemical materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties, including any specific hazards associated with their use, and risk assessment of such hazards.
    • Conduct of standard laboratory procedures involved in analytical work and the operation of standard forensic instrumentation.
    • Competence in the planning, design and execution of investigations, from the problem-recognition stage through to the evaluation and appraisal of results and findings.
    • Research project planning and implementation.
    • Safe handling of firearms, ammunition and propellants; analysis of forensic evidence related to firearms, firearm discharge and ballistic theory; collision analysis: mathematical interpretation, field application and reconstruction.
    • Ability to interpret data derived from laboratory observations and measurements, and to present such data to an examining body in the role of expert witness.
    • Evidence recovery, preservation, analysis and presentation to professional standards.

    Transferable skills

    You gain the following transferable skills:

    • Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication.
    • Self-management and organisational skills, with the capacity to support life-long learning.
    • Problem-solving skills relating to qualitative and quantitative information.
    • Information-retrieval skills in relation to primary and secondary information sources.
    • IT skills.
    • Interpersonal skills.
    • Time-management and organisational skills.
    • Skills in effective research costing and planning.
    • Study skills needed for continuing professional development and preparation for employment as a practising forensic scientist.
    • Skills relevant to a career in forensic science (practice or judiciary) and forensic research.
    • Ability to plan and implement large-scale independent projects at MSci level.


    Graduate destinations

    Forensic skills are used in a range of professions and industries, for instance at disaster scenes, within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

    Our graduates go into areas such as:

    • government agencies
    • forensic service providers
    • consultancies
    • emergency services
    • local authorities
    • contract laboratories
    • research or further vocational training.

    Some of our graduates have gone on to work at the Forensic Explosives Laboratory, which is part of the Ministry of Defence and provides scientific support to the Police and Crown Prosecution Service.

    Career-enhancing skills

    You graduate with excellent forensic skills, including:

    • scene-of-crime skills
    • laboratory skills
    • document examination
    • criminal law and forensic expert witness skills.

    In addition, you develop the key transferable skills that graduate employers look for, including:

    • excellent communication skills
    • teamworking
    • the ability to analyse problems
    • time management.

    You can also enhance your degree studies by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

    Help finding a job

    The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

    • apply for jobs
    • write a good CV
    • perform well in interviews.

    Your experience is what you make it, but I think Kent, and what it has to offer, made it easy.

    Kumaree Ramhit Forensic Science MSci

    Entry requirements

    Choosing Kent as your firm choice for this programme could result in a lower tariff offer than those listed below. Please contact the School for more information at  

    Home/EU students

    The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

    It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

    New GCSE grades

    If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

    Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
    A level

    ABB in 3 subjects including one of either Chemistry, Biology or Human Biology, including the practical endorsement of any science subjects taken.


    Mathematics grade C

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL including Biology or Chemistry 5 at HL and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

    International students

    The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

    If you need to increase your level of science ready for undergraduate study, we offer a Foundation Year programme which can help boost your previous scientific experience.

    Meet our staff in your country

    For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

    English Language Requirements

    Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

    Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

    General entry requirements

    Please also see our general entry requirements.


    The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

    UK/EU Overseas
    Full-time £9250 £19000

    For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

    For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

    Your fee status

    The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

    General additional costs

    Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


    University funding

    Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

    Government funding

    You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


    General scholarships

    Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

    The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

    At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

    The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

    The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

    The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

    Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

    If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact