Forensic Science - BSc (Hons)
with a Professional Placement

Are you fascinated by the science behind crime scene incident investigation, evidence recovery and analysis? Keen to develop your investigative and laboratory skills? Want the chance to apply your skills in a real-world setting as part of your degree?

Overview

This fascinating and challenging course teaches you skills that are attractive to employers in all fields as well as building a professional network through completing a placement year, giving you the best possible start towards your future career.

We create simulated crime scenes and conduct major incident exercises where you react in real time to an unfolding event. You can even prepare a case for court and present it at a simulated trial in a realistic court environment. You’ll see how forensic skills can also be applied within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

This course is fully accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Reasons to study Forensic Science at Kent

  • Forensic Science at Kent was ranked 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2023.
  • Apply your knowledge and practical skills in our fantastic forensic investigation facilities, which include a crime scene house and vehicles along with industry standard laboratories.
  • Spend a year on professional placement gaining valuable experience before you graduate. It’s also possible to spend a year studying abroad.
  • Our unique courses teach you the science behind the crime scenes, as well as criminal law and specialist modules such as ballistics, DNA analysis and digital forensics.
  • Our Forensic Science degree is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

What you'll learn

You start by getting to grips with the broad base of knowledge on which forensic science is built, including core chemistry, biochemistry, drug chemistry, and ballistics. You also develop solid investigative and laboratory skills.

Next you build on this knowledge to cover analytical chemistry, forensic archaeology, digital forensics, fires and explosions, and firearms. You also are trained in forensic expert witness skills.

Our crime scene house helps you to develop your approaches to evidence recording and preservation, and to appreciate the importance of persistence. Extensive use of these practical sessions helps to prepare you for the diverse nature of crime scenes you may encounter in your future career and to develop many transferable skills for the future.

See the modules you'll study

Professional placement

Tailor your degree to suit you with a professional placement where you’ll work in industry for a year, giving you the chance to put into practice the skills you’ve learnt and build important connections. Taken between your second and final years, a professional placement provides an excellent opportunity to gain relevant work experience in industry in the UK or abroad. During your placement you are paid by your employer and produce an independent research project.

You can also expand your horizons with our year abroad, where you'll study at one of our partner institutions for a year, or undertake a project with one of our research groups on our four-year MSci programme. Or you can also take our three-year Forensic Science degree, without a year abroad or a professional placement.

We also offer a foundation year, giving those without the relevant scientific background, or who don't meet the entry requirements, the knowledge and skills needed to take on any of our Forensic Science degrees.

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Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB in 3 subjects including Chemistry or Biology

  • medal-empty GCSE

    Mathematics grade C

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    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.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    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.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

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

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    N/A

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

Please contact the School for more information at study-forensics@kent.ac.uk.  

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 do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

After successfully completing stage 1 at your first attempt, with an average pass mark of at least 60%, you have the opportunity to spend a year in industry between Stages 2 and 3. We give advice and guidance on finding a placement.

Please note that acceptance onto the course is not a guarantee of a placement. The responsibility of finding a placement is on the student, with help and support from the department. If you cannot find a placement, you will be required to change your registration for the equivalent BSc programme without the Year in Industry option.

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.

Fees

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £16400
  • International full-time £21900

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 Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.

Additional costs

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

Funding

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

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.

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.

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, 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 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.
  • Develop your work-related skills and provide experience of workplace culture via a year in industry.
  • 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 function effectively in an industrial or commercial environment.
  • Ability to plan and implement independent projects at degree level.

Independent rankings

Over 92% of final-year Forensic Science students were satisfied with the quality of their course and with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2023.

Forensic Science at Kent was ranked 2nd for graduate prospects and 7th for student satisfaction The Complete University Guide 2023.

Careers

Your future

You graduate with an excellent grounding in scientific knowledge and extensive laboratory experience. In addition, you also develop the key transferable skills sought by employers, such as:

  • excellent communication skills
  • work independently or as part of a team
  • the ability to solve problems and think analytically
  • time management.

This means that our graduates are well equipped for careers across a range of fields and have gone on to work for companies such as Pfizer, LGC, the Police, and the Forensic Explosives Laboratory which is part of the Ministry of Defence and provides scientific support to the Police and Crown Prosecution Service. 

You can read their stories, and find out about the range of support and extra opportunities available to further your career potential

Apply for Forensic Science with a Professional Placement - BSc (Hons)

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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International student enquiries

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T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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