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, it opens up a wide range of career opportunities.
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.
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 final 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.
If you do not have the grades for direct entry on to the Forensic Science BSc, you can take Forensic Science with a Foundation Year. It is also possible to take a four-year programme, which leads to an MSci.
Forensic Science student Sophia Warner explains what it's like studying at the University of Kent.
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.
We recently invested £10 million in our laboratories and improved our general study spaces. Facilities to support forensic science include:
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:
All students are offered free membership of The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
The School of Physical Sciences also has links with:
You are more than your grades
At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.
Please contact the School for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.
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.
For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.
BBB in 3 subjects including Chemistry or Biology
Mathematics grade C
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.
The University will consider applicants holding/studying BTEC Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) in a relevant Science subject at 180 credits or more, on a case by case basis. Please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.
34 points overall or 14 at HL including Chemistry or Biology 5 at HL and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
Duration: 3 years full-time
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.
This module presents a unified understanding of the structure of matter, linking physical properties to bonding and energy, and providing the tools necessary to begin to describe and analyse chemical problems. Key concepts such as mass balance and bonding (ionic, covalent, metallic, and intermolecular) are linked to analytical methods to show how these fundamental ideas can be measured and used.
Organic chemistry underpins not only much of the chemistry of living things but also modern materials, dyes, medicines, and more. This module discusses the structure of organic molecules in detail, showing the shape of molecules dictates their properties, and how Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR) can exploit this to determine the structures and thus properties of unknown molecules. Fundamental modes of reactivity of organic molecules are discussed, showing how simple mechanisms can be used to build complex and useful compounds.
Chemistry, as one of the physical sciences, is rooted in careful observation of the natural world and experimentation. This module teaches the key skills required to work in a chemical laboratory, analysing unknown systems and synthesising new ones, and learning how to apply the theories and ideas from lecture modules to socially and industrially relevant problems.
This module introduces students to the mathematical, physical, social and legal concepts that underpin academic study in the field of forensic ballistics.
Students will experience a broad overview of evidence categories and crime types commonly encountered within the criminal justice system. Students will also be taken through a range of techniques associated with the delivery of forensic science to support this system.
This module will provide forensic science students with some of the core understanding in inorganic and physical chemistry. These aspects will underpin students’ understanding of Analytical Techniques and the Chemistry related to various forensic processes, leading to an enhanced understanding of Forensic Chemistry.
This module introduces a range of forensically-relevant practical techniques from the initial processing of incident or crime scenes through to carrying out relevant laboratory analyses of evidence collected.
An introduction to the core Mathematical skills required within the Chemical and Forensic Sciences. These core skills will be complemented with a variety of problem-solving applications in Chemistry and Forensic Science.
Analytical chemistry underpins all other aspects of the discipline, and covers not only how to find out what a thing is but how to design experiments and confirm results to quantify just how confident you can be that your answer is useful. This module takes a pragmatic, applications driven approach to sample preparation, analysis, and data validation.
This course will introduce students to the key ideas and fundamental molecular components of biochemistry. The course will cover simple biomolecules and non-covalent interactions, building up to biological oligomers. This will lead to introductory pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, illustrated with medicinal chemistry case studies.
This module will develop the students’ appreciation of a range of physical techniques applied, to the collection of bulk and trace evidence materials in forensic science.Students will look more deeply into aspects of physical evidence and will deal with the practical issues of item examination, legal process and general procedure associated with the collection and submission of a range of forensically-relevant materials.
This module introduces students to a range of scene investigation and evidence processing techniques through a combination of laboratory-based training exercises and simulated scene investigation scenarios.
This module offers students experience in a wide range of important forensic investigative and analytical skills relating to other taught and practical modules in the forensic programme. Students will also have the opportunity to build computational skills through the use facial composite software.
This module covers a range of techniques that can be applied to the discovery, aging and identification of buried and ancient remains or artefacts.
This module covers a broad range of established and emerging, computer based, forensic methods. It is organised into three units: Facial Identification Techniques, focusing on facial composite construction; Image Processing, Photo Forensics and Digital Forensics.
This module will give students a background in forensic ballistics, including the investigation of shooting scenes, firearms law and wound ballistics.
Analytical chemistry underpins all other aspects of the discipline. This module discusses modern methods in data analysis and processing, Cheminformatics and “Big Data”, and describes advanced analytical methods used for analysing complex systems.
This module covers a range of core chemical science that relates to fire and explosive events. The applied investigation of such events is also discussed to give students a wider appreciation of previous case studies and the complexities of post-fire and post-blast investigations.
This module discusses the legal processes associated with the submission of evidence in the courts of law alongside providing training in the delivery of expert witness testimony. Students will undergo a mock courtroom exercise in which they will deliver expert testimony in a courtroom environment.
This module intends to illustrate the contemporary topics, underpinning professional practice those students wishing to enter the forensic science profession. The indicative content draws upon much of the guidance, published by the Forensic Science Regulator, UKAS, ENFSI, CSOFS as well as academic and professional commentary. The module covers several broad topics – namely, evaluative reporting, case assessment and interpretation (CAI)CAI, quality standards, ethics in forensic science and bias.
This module will provide Forensic Scientists with an understanding of the chemistry behind the analysis of trace evidence. Students will be introduced to how complex instrumentation is used in these analyses and provide the background concepts needed to understand and interpret data.
This module comprises a range of contemporary topics covering methods of analysis and the interpretational issues associated with forensic DNA profiling. The materials take students through the evolution of forensic DNA; RFLP, Quad and the progression of DNA multiplexes to the present day and the practical issues of sample collection, processing and storage, DNA theory and practical DNA processing. Students will appreciate the difficulties associated with mixed samples and the statistical interpretation associated with both single source and mixture interpretation. The module draws upon the latest materials published by the Forensic Science Regulator and the latest quality and legal standards associated with DNA profiling. The module is contextualised throughout using a range of contemporary case studies.
This module will provide students with the skills necessary to propose, develop, perform and report on a project. The emphasis of this module will focus on not only academic research projects but also on future employability skills related to working in industry.
The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
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.*
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.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
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.
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 A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.Search scholarships
There are approximately eight one-hour lectures each week, 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.
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.
The programme aims to:
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
You gain intellectual skills in how to:
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
You gain the following transferable skills:
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.
Forensic Science at Kent was ranked 5th in The Complete University Guide 2021.
Over 90% of final-year Forensic Science students were satisfied with the quality of their course in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
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:
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.
You graduate with excellent forensic skills, including:
In addition, you develop the key transferable skills that graduate employers look for, including:
You can also enhance your degree studies by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:
If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.Find out more about how to apply
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