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Forensic Science

BSc (Hons)
Entry 2018: BBC / 112 UCAS points
Duration: 3 years
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: BSc (Hons)
UCAS code: F410
Placement: Placement year not available
Suitable for international students
Faculty of Life Sciences
Apply Download course booklet


This Forensic Science degree focuses on the processing and analysis of physical evidence from crime scenes.

The course emphasises the application of science - in particular analytical chemistry - and stresses the importance of quality assurance procedures in a forensic setting.

A characteristic of the University of Bradford's approach is the integration of practical skills training within a good theoretical framework – whether in terms of crime scene investigation, the collection, examination and interpretation of physical evidence, laboratory processing and analysis.

The course provides you with a sound knowledge of how scientific techniques can be used within forensic investigations, and allows you to explore a challenging area of applied science. You will develop into a professional with the scientific skills to work within areas such as crime scene investigation, forensic science and related laboratory areas.

Throughout your degree, you will acquire skills that will be useful in whatever profession they choose to follow.  These include project and time management, critical review and analytical thinking, presentational skills, computer and other applied IT skills and the management of data.  These will be taught, practised and assessed. 

Also available with a placement year.

The University of Bradford is ranked 4th in the UK for Forensic Science in the Complete University Guide 2017.

Professional Accreditation/Recognition

Students can apply for student membership with the Forensic Science Society (which received Royal Charter status in 2014).

Why Bradford?

Bradford was the first university in the UK to offer a forensics science degree, and we continue to develop the programme to ensure that it is up-to-date with the requirements of the forensics sector.

As such, we have refocused the forensics degree to offer a solid understanding of fundamental chemistry in stages 2 and 3, with a focused final year dedicated to the application of forensic science.

Crime scene techniques are taught in our dedicated crime scene facility, with analysis of evidence supported by a forensics laboratory and the University’s Centre for Chemical and Structural Analysis.

The interdisciplinary nature of our research at Bradford means we can call upon expertise from our colleagues in archaeology who use forensics science techniques to study human remains, such as the Llullaillaco Maiden, discovered in 1999.


Forensic Science - Complete University Guide 2017


Entry requirements

Typical offer: BBC / 112 UCAS points

A levels:

To include A-level Chemistry or Biology minimum grade B.

Please note that where a science A-level is taken, the University will require applicants to pass the practical element (for A levels awarded from August 2017 onwards).

BTEC Extended Diploma:

DMM. Science subject required - must include at least three Chemistry-related units.

Applicants on Access Programmes:

112 UCAS tariff points from an Access to Higher Education Diploma - Science subject required. Must include a minimum of 12 credits of Chemistry at minimum Distinction.

Plus minimum of:

GCSE English, Mathematics and a Science at grade C or 4 (equivalents accepted).

Additional entry requirements:

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entry requirements for direct entry onto this course you may be interested in our International Certificate of Foundation Studies.

English language requirements:

Minimum IELTS at 6.0 or the equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Find more information on our module descriptors page.

Stage 1

  • Independent Study for Forensic Scientists Core (20 credits)
  • Principles of Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation Core (20 credits)
  • Organic Chemistry 1 Core (20 credits)
  • Inorganic Chemistry 1 Core (20 credits)
  • Practical Chemistry for Forensic Scientists 1 Core (20 credits)

Stage 2

  • Forensic Examination and Analysis of Physical Evidence Core (20 credits)
  • Statistics and Databases for Forensic Scientists Core (20 credits)
  • Organic Chemistry 2 Core (20 credits)
  • Inorganic Chemistry 2 Core (20 credits)
  • Practical Chemistry for Forensic Scientists 2 Core (20 credits)

Stage 3

  • Dissertation Core (40 credits)
  • Interpretation and Presentation of Forensic Evidence for Forensic Science Core (20 credits)
  • Professional Development: Forensic Enquiry and Critical Case Study Core (20 credits)
  • Analysis of Controlled Substances Core (20 credits)
  • Forensic Archaeology Option (20 credits)
  • Forensic Anthropology Option (20 credits)
  • Forensic Taphonomy Option (20 credits)
  • Elective

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, laboratory practicals, workshops, case studies and directed study. Directed study will include directed reading of selected textbooks, specified source literature and open learning materials, directed web-based materials, report writing and other assignments. There will also be an individual project/dissertation.

You will be assessed by written closed-book examinations using constructed (essays, short answers) and selected response (MCQ) questions and a variety of coursework assignments, including laboratory reports, oral presentations and dissertations.

There will also be involvement in laboratory, small-group workshops, case-based work and projects (individual and small group). You will be assessed by critical appraisal, case analysis and critique, case presentations, laboratory reports and dissertations.

At Stage 3, essays, the journal critique and essay-based examinations provide a format to critically evaluate the key themes of the degree. Practical portfolios and worksheets allow you to demonstrate your understanding of forensic laboratory techniques.

The research dissertation develops your ability to undertake independent research and plan this research effectively. Presentations, the witness statement and the mock court exercise will develop your professional oral and written presentation skills.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Employment statistics

93% of our 2016 graduates in Chemistry and Forensic Sciences found employment or went on to further study within six months of graduating.*

*These DLHE statistics are derived from annually published data by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), based on those UK domiciled graduates who are available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known.

Career prospects

There are wide-ranging career opportunities, including the health service, the forensic science or police scientific support laboratories, the Health and Safety Executive, and the public analysts’ laboratories, as well as opportunities in the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food, drink and electronics industries.

The scientific skills, knowledge and methods you will acquire during the course can also be a useful basis for a career in teaching, technical and scientific writing, or other information services.



Crime scene investigation and processing is taught through a series of simulated exercises based in our specially appointed Crime Scene Facility.

Forensic Laboratory science is taught from our specialist Forensic Examination Suite and the analytical facilities in the Centre for Chemical and Structural Analysis (including ESEM, FT-Raman,  GC-MS).

Teaching on Forensic Taphonomy is based around lectures and practical classes in our specialist Forensic Taphonomy Laboratory (including autopsy tables, fume extraction and insect colony) and the Oxenhope Taphonomy Field Station.

Archaeological excavation skills are taught during fieldwork over the summer between years 2 and 3.

Explore the Faculty of Life Sciences' facilities using this interactive 360° tour:

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • International: £17,800

* Fees going forward have been capped by the Government at £9,250 in October 2017..

See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

See our Fees and Financial Support website.

How do I find out more?

Got a question?

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Enquiry form

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.