Do you want to understand the science behind crime scene investigation, develop your laboratory skills and be trained in the delivery of expert witness testimony? Then choose our top-ranked Forensic Science degree.
You'll graduate with in-depth knowledge of the theory behind the science, supported by practical experience gained in simulated crime scenes and court cases, major incident exercises that unfold in real time and in our outstanding laboratories. You'll also discover how the skills you gain can be applied within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
On this MSci course, you'll also complete your own research project in an area that fascinates you. Under the guidance of a supervisor, you'll explore how to develop an idea into a fully worked-up research proposal.
If you don’t have a science background or don’t meet our entry requirements, you can take our foundation year.
This course is fully accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
Your Forensic Science degree opens the door to lots of exciting careers. Your extended research project gives you a taste of life as a research scientist.
We're ranked 1st in The Guardian University Guide 2023 and 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2024.
Forensic Science student Luke Ryde has spent a lifetime planning his career path, discover why Kent was part of his plan.
Academic advisers and support staff are on hand to help with course and life queries; careers advisers to help you get where you want to go.
You'll use industry-standard equipment from the start of your degree.
Our typical offer levels are listed below and include indicative contextual offers. If you hold alternative qualifications just get in touch and we'll be glad to discuss these with you.
BBB in 3 subjects including Chemistry or Biology at B
The University will consider applicants holding/studying BTEC Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) in Applied Science or Forensic and Criminal Investigation at DDM.
120 tariff points - typically H5, H6, H6 including HL Chemistry or Biology 5.
Mathematics grade C
The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.
The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain 45 credits at Level 3 with 24 credits at Distinction and 21 credits at Merit.
The following modules are offered to our current students. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation:
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.
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.
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.
One-on-one meetings and small group tutorials focused on academic progression and the development of key skills to support the core curriculum and future study or employment. Students meet with their Academic Advisor individually or in small groups at intervals during the academic year. Individual meetings review academic progress, support career planning etc. Themed tutorials develop transferable skills; indicative topics are essay and report writing, presentation skills, sourcing information, critical analysis etc. The tutorials are informal involving student activity and discussion. Year group events deliver general information e.g. on University resources, 4-year programmes, module selection etc.
In this module 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 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.
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 students to the mathematical, physical, social and legal concepts that underpin academic study in the field of forensic ballistics.
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), 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 on of this module will focus on not only academic projects but also on industrial requirements.
This module will underpin the idea of interrelated experiments and extend the ideas taught in the Project and Research Management module. Students will learn to think more critically about data and resource collection and interpretation.
This module will provide students with enhanced research skills such as thinking critically, learning to be unbiased and providing fair evaluation. The content of this module will also embed employability skills. Case studies will provide context for the academia/practitioner divide and the interplay between research and application over time.
This module will include elements of synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry which are relevant to substances of abuse, as well as the theoretical chemistry and principles of analysis and identification of several substances that are substances of abuse. The following are indicative: Amphetamines and related compounds; LSD and related compounds; Cannabis and Cannabis products; Opiate compounds; Cocaine and related compounds; Certain controlled pharmaceutical drugs
This module will cover the core principles behind the management and investigation processes that may relate to a range of forensically-relevant incident types. Indicative areas of discussion may include investigation of civil infrastructure incidents, disaster victim identification (DVI), acts of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) as well as managing forensic resources over a range of major and smaller incidents.
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.
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:
Forensic scientists are in demand in lots of areas. In addition to working with the police and in the criminal justice system, forensic skills are also sought after in the food and pharmaceutical industries and can be applied within archaeology. Completing an MSci will give you extra valuable skills in conducting and directing scientific research, data analysis and interpretation, problem solving and communication. Our graduates have gone on to work for companies such as:
You'll also develop key transferable skills including: the ability to work independently or as part of a team; to analyse and problem solve; to conduct research and communicate your findings.
We have experts from different areas, very strong chemists, specialists in ballistics, DNA and crime scene investigation.
The 2024/25 annual tuition fees for this course 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.
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.
Sadie McDevitt and Katey-Li Dickerson are members of the student-led Forensic Science Society: “We’ve been hosting talks and events each week, with a range of speakers and interactive activities, building a lovely community of friends across all years and even different courses. Learning lots while also having fun!”
With both academic and social events, the society has been one of many highlights of our time here at Kent - and for free too!
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 apply through UCAS or directly on our website if you have never used UCAS and you do not intend to use UCAS in the future.
We welcome applications from students all around the world with a wide range of international qualifications.
Kent ranked top 50 in The Complete University Guide 2023 and The Times Good University Guide 2023.
Kent has risen 11 places in THE’s REF 2021 ranking, confirming us as a leading research university.