BSc (Hons) Forensic Biology (Including foundation year)

Are you fascinated by the prospect of conducting DNA analysis to investigate the scene of a crime? This stimulating BSc (Hons) Forensic Biology degree incorporates a foundation year, which provides intensive, well-structured support, enabling you to develop your scientific skills and knowledge, before progressing to higher level studies. Our Forensic Biology degree offers the skills and knowledge to appreciate the value of biological evidence, giving you an excellent grounding for a career in forensic biology and forensic investigation.

You’ll be based in our purpose-built laboratories at the Pontypridd Campus and have the opportunity to put your analytical skills into practice at our Crime Scene House, where real-life crime scenarios are recreated. You’ll also have the option to spend a year in the workplace. With accreditation from the The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, you can rest assured that this Forensic Biology degree meets industry standards and will put you in an excellent position to start your exciting career in the field of forensic biology.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
3WM8 Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

The Forensic Biology degree covers a wide range of sciences, from criminalistics to organic chemistry. You will develop the concepts of crime scene investigation protocol and gain scientific knowledge of the chemical and biological analytical techniques used to assist investigations.

The foundation year of your Forensic Biology degree prepares you through theoretical and practical study of the knowledge and skills in biology, chemistry and mathematics necessary for the first year of the course.

The first year of your Forensic Biology degree introduces you to the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in biological, analytical chemistry and crime scene investigation employed within forensic investigation. The second year will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of crime scene investigation protocol. You will also gain scientific knowledge of the chemical and biological analytical techniques used to assist investigations.

The third year of your Forensic Biology degree will enhance your practical skills and theoretical knowledge through forensic evidence and forensic imaging. You will develop your skills in applying analytical chemistry techniques and your understanding of biological science through molecular biology and medical microbiology.

In the fourth year, you will study advanced modules and critically analyse forensic case studies, as well as forensic microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. You will study toxicology and clinical biochemistry, as well as advanced biological analyses that involve genetics, DNA and biological anthropology.

Foundation Year: Forensic Biology Degree

  • Foundation Chemistry
  • Foundation Physical Science
  • Learning, Communication and Employability in Science
  • Foundation Biology
  • Foundations of Mathematics
  • Foundation Statistics
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology

Year One: Forensic Biology Degree

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Criminalistics
  • Introduction to Forensic Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Mathematics Workshop (half-module)
  • Key Skills for Chemical and Forensic Scientists(half module)

Year Two: Forensic Biology Degree

  • Forensic Evidence
  • Volume Crime Scene Examination
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Metabolism and Biochemistry
  • Medical Microbiology

Year Three: Forensic Biology Degree

  • Research Professional Practice and Employability in Forensic Sciences
  • Toxicology
  • Human Molecular Genetics and Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Microscopy and X-Ray Analysis
  • Human Variation and Forensic Anthropology
  • Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology


You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practicals. The number of hours of formal teaching will vary depending on your module choice and year of study. Forensic Biology degree students will spend about 10 hours in lectures and tutorials each week, as well as six hours in practical sessions.

In addition to lectures from university staff, guest lectures are delivered by external specialist experts in their field as part of the module delivery and additionally through presentations organised by the University Forensic Science Society and Chemistry Society.

In addition many events are held during the year such as Career Fairs and Career conferences where students will have an opportunity to find out more about prospective careers and meet prospective employers.


You will be assessed using a range of approaches depending on your module choice and year of study. Your progress and achievements will be monitored through coursework, such as written reports, experimentation practicals, in-class and on-line tests plus end-of-year examinations.

No more than about 25% of the course is assessed through formal end of year examinations.


Our forensic students will be trained in new, vibrant and modern facilities where you will learn key skills in brand-new purpose-built laboratories and at our Crime Scene House – a unique facility where you will learn how to process major crime scenes.

Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

EE to include a relevant Science subject but excluding General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer


Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Pass Pass Pass or BTEC Diploma Pass Pass in a relevant subject

Typical IB Offer

24 points or two IB Certficates at Higher level to include Science or Maths.

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass Maths or Science Diploma with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits all Passes

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £11900 

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

Graduates from the Forensic Biology degree have the knowledge and skills to gain good careers in a number of areas, such as scenes of crime and forensic investigation teams, biomedical laboratories, toxicology laboratories, or employment in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.