BSc (Hons) Analytical and Forensic Science (Top Up)

Would you like to top-up your Foundation Degree to a full Honours degree in Analytical and Forensic Sciences? The knowledge and practical skills of forensic scientists are highly desirable in a variety of industries.

Completion of this one-year BSc (Hons) Analytical and Forensic Science (Top Up) degree will enable you to compete for graduate positions based in forensic laboratories, crime scene investigation teams, toxicology, biomedical and environmental laboratories, police forces, fingerprint bureaus and more.

Our Analytical and Forensic Science degree will introduce you to advanced analytical and forensic techniques and the practical use of a wide range of industry-standard instrumentation.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
4T3W Full-time 1 Year September Glyntaff A

The BSc (Hons) Analytical and Forensic Science (Top Up) is designed to enhance and complement your foundation degree studies. You will study 120 credits at Level 6. The Modules will each be worth 20 credits and include:

Forensic Microscopy
In this module you will be introduced to the physical principles and practical application of scanning electron microscopy and x-ray analysis in aspects of forensic science. You will also appreciate the light microscope as an instrument to examine and analyse specimens using techniques including fluorescence microscopy and immunofluorescence: excitation filters and barrier filters, fluorescent microscope for transmitted light and fluorescent microscope for incident light.

Major Scene Investigation
The module will introduce you to the roles within a Major Investigation Team, Crime Scene Management and Coordination. Students will apply their learned skills and knowledge to a range of specialist and serious offences including, fire and explosion investigation, firearms and ballistics investigation, kidnap, blackmail, drug offences and unexplained deaths. The module aims to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the medico-legal investigation and the role of the coroner

This module augments the analytical toxicological methods studied in your foundation degree by introducing you to the biochemical, mechanistic and clinical aspects of toxicology. Areas studied include toxicodynamics and toxicokinetics, acute and chronic toxicity, the toxicity of natural products and illicit compounds and dose-response relationships.

Research, Employability and Professional Skills
This module will provide you with the necessary professional skills required for working in the forensic sciences, including the interpretation of and use of evidence, the application of scientific and statistical methods to data and information analysis. You will learn communication, cross-examination skills, the process of the courtroom and the role of the expert witness. You will also undertake literature research on a chosen topic and give a presentation of your findings, thereby enhancing communication and critical reflection skills. You will also participate in an employability conference, which is aimed at improving your employability potential and will include CV evaluations and mock interviews.

Advanced Analytical Chemistry
In this module you will broaden your knowledge of analytical chemistry and practical skills through the study of modern instrumental methods of analysis. The instruments will include ICP-OES, FTIR-ATR, Raman, LC-MS/MS, GC-MS, NMR. You will also undertake a series of practicals which focus upon use of HPLC with fluorescence detection, UPLC-MS/MS, GC-MS and deconvolution of spectra, ATR spectroscopy, and ICP-OES. Some practicals have an interpretation and method development focus.

Human Variation and Forensic Anthropology
In this module you will learn how to understand the evolution of biological variation and its role for modern human populations. This will include an overview of human evolution, considering the molecular, anatomical, physiological, social and cultural strands. You will also understand the basis for forensic anthropological identifications and the limitations of these methods.


You will be taught through lectures, tutorials and practical work. A typical week involves six lectures, ten to twelve hours of practical work, plus some small group tutorials. Some of the delivery may be provided by guest speakers. Self-directed study plays a part in all modules and is supported by the University’s virtual learning environment. The proportion of self-directed study depends on the module and can range from 50% to 80%. Overall, this is 22% timetabled activities, 78% self-directed study.


You will be assessed using a variety of methods including formal end of year examinations, in-class timed assessments, practical reports, simulated case files, and oral presentations.

The overall assessment is composed of the following components – written exam 51%; coursework 11% and practical 38%.

Field Trips

There may be additional costs associated with this course


The Chemistry/Analytical suite of laboratories comprise of:

  • A dedicated Organic (wet) chemistry laboratory
  • A combined Inorganic/Physical chemistry laboratory
  • Two very large general instrument laboratories that house analytical equipment such as High-performance Liquid Chromatography and various types of spectrometer.
  • Two specialised laboratories for performing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy.

The general Biology laboratories include a variety of light microscopes, extensive human anatomical models and a range of skeletons for vertebrate zoology.

The Crime Scene House contains a dedicated fire scene room and a firebox exercise is run where a representation of a bedroom is set fire and investigated for evidence after the fire is extinguished.


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

The BSc (Hons) Analytical and Forensic Science (Top Up) degree is Year 3 entry only. A pass in the Foundation Degree in Analytical and Forensic Science or Foundation Degree in Forensic Sciences at one of the University of South Wales’ Partner Colleges is required. Applicants with Foundation Degrees in similar subject areas will be considered on an individual basis.

Please note that whilst this course does not require a DBS Check for entry, some professions will not consider candidates who have certain types of criminal convictions.   

Therefore, if you have a criminal conviction and you are considering a particular career path we would recommend that you check with the relevant professional body or refer to their recruitment policy to make sure that your conviction will not disadvantage you.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £14400 

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK 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 and EU students

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

Admissions statement

Students on the Analytical and Forensic Science course will gain an excellent portfolio of practical skills that are in demand by employers, plus you will be trained using the same instruments and techniques as practising forensic scientists, which will give you an advantage when applying for graduate positions.

The skills and knowledge of our graduates are highly desirable and can be used in other scientific areas such as the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, or in postgraduate study such as Masters, Doctorate and fast-track medicine.

Career opportunities for our graduates are great, gaining posts all over the world in forensic laboratories, crime scene investigation teams, toxicology, biomedical and environmental laboratories, police forces, fingerprint bureaus, insurance investigation, and health and safety. Our network of employers includes analytical laboratories and forensic science providers, such as Cansford Laboratories, Synergy Health, Lextox, Alere Toxicology, Markes International, fire investigators and CSI teams.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW Forensics 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.