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UCAS codeUCAS F411
Duration4 years full-time
- Year Abroad
- Professional Placement
- Foundation Year
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.
On your year in professional placement, you’ll work in industry for a year, gaining relevant work experience and putting into practice the skills you’ve learnt. The paid placement takes place between your second and final years and can be in the UK or abroad. You also produce an independent research project.
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.
This course is fully accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Science.
Why study Forensic Science at Kent?
A professional placement
Your Forensic Science degree opens the door to lots of exciting careers; taking a professional placement year helps you discover some of those options.
We're ranked 1st in The Guardian University Guide 2023 and 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2023.
A course that delivers.
Forensic Science student Luke Ryde has spent a lifetime planning his career path, discover why Kent was part of his plan.
We're here for you.
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.
Get hands-on experience.
You'll use industry-standard resources as part of your studies.
Everything you need to know about our Forensic Science course
How you'll study
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
The University will consider applicants holding/studying a BTEC in Applied Science, or BTEC in Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation.
In either subject, the typical requirement is for: the extended Diploma at DDM, or the Diploma at DD (+ any other level three qualification at grade B equivalent).
Students studying a BTEC in Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation (diploma or extended diploma) must select and study ‘Practical Chemical Analysis' as one of the BTEC optional units for entry to this degree course.
The BTEC extended certificate is not suitable as the sole science qualification.
Other subjects and qualification combinations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
30 points overall or 15 at HL including Chemistry or Biology 5 at HL and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL
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 a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.
Please contact the School for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you'll study
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.
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.
This module will provide an initial look into chemistry and the environment, introducing important concepts such as pollution and climate change. The effects of chemical disasters will also be considered.
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.
Year in industry
Students spend a year (minimum 9 months) working in an industrial or commercial setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree programme. The work they do is entirely under the direction of their industrial supervisor, but support is provided via a dedicated Placement Support Officer within the School. This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of the module.
Students spend a year (minimum 9 months) working in an industrial or commercial setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree programme.
The report required for this module should provide evidence of the subject specific and generic learning outcomes, and of reflection by the student on them as an independent learner.
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 of this module will focus on not only academic research projects but also on future employability skills related to working in industry.
How you'll study
Teaching and 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. The year in industry mark also counts towards your final degree result. Coursework assessments include incident analysis, evidence preservation, presentation skills and expert witness testimony.
Please note that there are degree thresholds at stage 1 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.
For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programme specification.
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. Our graduates have gone on to work for companies such as:
- Forensic Explosives Laboratory (part of the Ministry of Defence, it provides scientific support to the Police and Crown Prosecution Service).
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.
Hear from Faith
Kent is really well recognised as a place to take this degree, so it just seemed like the best fit for me.
Fees and funding
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.
Fees for year in industry
Fees for undergraduate students are £1,385.
Fees for year abroad
Fees for undergraduate students are £1,385.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
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 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.
Over to our students.
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!
Ready to apply?
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.
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