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Undergraduate Courses 2017
Applying through clearing?
Clearing applicants and others planning to start in 2016 should view Forensic Science with a Foundation Year for 2016 entry.

Forensic Science with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

Canterbury

Overview

Forensic science is a high-profile subject in the UK. It has received a lot of new investment for expansion since the well-publicised miscarriages of justice in the 1970s. As a result, scientific liaison officers have been appointed by the police service and the knowledge and communication gap between the scientists and the police at a crime scene has narrowed. Forensic skills are used in a wide range of professions and industries; for instance, at disaster scenes, within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

New legislation has stimulated demand for authentication of materials, and for experts and analytical companies to carry out the work. Forensic scientists are specialists, but their skills have to bridge several disciplines within a legal context. At Kent, the core scientific content is taught by staff from the School of Physical Sciences and the legal background is taught by staff from Kent Law School. Additional content is delivered by expert practitioners from the field of forensic science.

This programme is for students who have previously studied science subjects but lack the qualifications needed for direct entry into Stage 1 of the BSc.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2015, 92% of Forensic Science students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Foundation year

This programme is for students who lack the qualifications needed for direct entry into Stage 1 of the BSc. It includes lectures in chemistry and mathematics, together with practical classes, and is taught entirely on the Canterbury campus.

Find out more about the benefits of a Foundation Year.

Possible modules may include:

MA022 - Graphs, Geometry and Trigonometry (15 credits)

This module will focus on the topics which are fundamental across mathematics and the sciences. We will learn about the properties of many functions such as straight lines, quadratics, circles, exponentials, logarithms and the trigonometric functions. The focus of this module is on applied problem solving in many real-life situations, as well as some coverage of the rigorous theory behind many of these ideas. The material is delivered through lectures and examples classes, so that students have many different ways to learn. Many harder, extra-curricular examples are provided for keen students.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PH020 - Algebra and Arithmetic (15 credits)

  • Arithmetic

    Calculations.

    Significant figures.

    Standard form.

    Fractions

    Simplification of fractions.

    Percentages and fractional changes.

    Errors.

    Indices.

    Logarithms and exponential functions.



  • Algebra

    Basic rules (operations and indices).

    Solving equations (substitution and order of operation).

    Changing subject of a formula

    Inverse operations

    Rules of indices

    Long division

    Expansion

    Factorisation

    Quadratics equation

    Solving linear equations.

    Solving simultaneous linear equations

    Partial fractions.

    Binomial Theorem.

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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  • PS021 - Molecules and Analysis (30 credits)

    Atoms and molecules; chemical equations; titrations; energy levels; acids and bases; orbitals; bonds; molecular shapes; spectra; bond energies, hydrogen bonding.

    Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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    PS022 - Chemical Reactivity (30 credits)

    Lattice energy; polymorphism; chemical equilibrium; the Periodic Table; solubilities; transition metals; isomerism; organic chemicals; shapes of organic molecules; organic analysis; optical activity; basic reactions of organic compounds; organic problem-solving; reaction kinetics.

    Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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    PS023 - Properties of Matter (30 credits)

    States of matter; radioactivity; real and ideal gases; water. main group inorganic chemistry; phase diagrams, ideal solutions; miscibility, electrochemistry, forensic science techniques.

    Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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    Stage 1

    Possible modules may include:

    PS301 - Introduction to Forensic Science (15 credits)

    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.

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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    PS318 - Skills for Forensic Scientists (15 credits)

    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.

    Induction to the English legal system and laws of evidence.

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

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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    PS324 - Introduction to Ballistics (15 credits)

    Mathematical Concepts for Impact Studies

    Newton’s laws of motion

    Vectors

    Impacts and momentum

    Energy considerations



    Introduction to ballistics

    Categories of weapons

    Weapon mechanisms

    Ammunition construction

    Internal ballistics

    Intermediate ballistics

    External ballistics

    Terminal ballistics



    Overview of Forensic Ballistics

    The 1968 Firearms Act (as amended)

    Categorisation of firearms and ammunition



    Shooting case studies

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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    PS381 - Chemical Skills For Forensic Scientists (30 credits)

    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.

    Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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    CH308 - Molecules Matter & Energy (15 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.

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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    CH309 - Fundamental Organic Chemistry for Physical Scientists (15 credits)

    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.

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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    CH314 - Introduction to Biochemistry and Drug Chemistry (15 credits)

    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.

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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    Teaching & Assessment

    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.

    Please note that you must pass all modules of the foundation year in order to progress onto stage 1.

    Programme aims

    The programme aims to:

    • instil enthusiasm for forensic science, 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
    • develop knowledge of the key skills, concepts, theories and practice that underpin forensic science in order to prepare you for stage one of the undergraduate programme
    • develop the ability to apply knowledge and skills to the solution 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
    • generate an appreciation of the importance of forensic science 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
    • 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.

    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 implement good measurement science and practice and commonly used forensic laboratory techniques
    • write essays and present scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences including 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 to risk assess such hazards
    • conduct of standard laboratory procedures involved in analytical work and in 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
    • 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.

    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
    • study skills needed for continuing professional development and preparation for employment as a practicing forensic scientist
    • ability to plan and implement independent projects at degree level.

    Careers

    The skills you gain studying forensic science equip you for a range of jobs where the ability to analyse problems and combine disciplinary perspectives is required. The degree opens up specialised opportunities without closing off access to general opportunities.

    Recent graduates have gone into areas such as government agencies, consultancies, emergency services, local authorities, contract laboratories, research or further vocational training.

    Entry requirements

    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 the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

    Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
    A level

    Individual consideration

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required 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 via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.

    International Baccalaureate

    Individual consideration

    International students

    The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

    Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

    Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
    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 through Kent International Pathways.

    General entry requirements

    Please also see our general entry requirements.

    Funding

    Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Our funding opportunities for 2017 entry have not been finalised. However, details of our proposed funding opportunities for 2016 entry can be found on our funding page.  

    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. Details of the scholarship for 2017 entry have not yet been finalised. However, for 2016 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our scholarships pages. Please review the eligibility criteria on that page. 

    Enquire or order a prospectus

    Resources

    Read our student profiles

    Contacts

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    Enquiries

    T: +44 (0)1227 827272

    Fees

    The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

    UK/EU Overseas
    Full-time £9250 £16480

    The fees quoted above are the annual fees for the degree element of the course.  As a guide only, the 2016/17 fees for the foundation year are £6,000 for home/EU students and £12,470 for overseas students.  Please note that for 2017/18 entrants the University intends to increase the standard foundation fee for home/EU students to £9,000. 

    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.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

    The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

    The University of Kent intends to increase its regulated full-time tuition fees for all Home and EU undergraduates starting in September 2017 from £9,000 to £9,250. This is subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise by 2.8%.

    Key Information Sets


    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 information@kent.ac.uk.

    The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

    *Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

    Publishing Office - © University of Kent

    The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000