Our Forensic Investigation degree allows students without a traditional science background, or those with a specific interest in this field, to acquire knowledge relating to the use of forensic techniques in a wide range of criminal investigations.
Investigations could include sport and competition drugs testing, consumer protection and authenticity, DNA analysis in food testing, wildlife crime, and toxicological investigations linked to chemical and biological terrorism.
You’ll gain practical skills in volume crime scene examination, analysis of forensic evidence, and courtroom simulations. The Forensic Investigation degree will also teach you about the structure and processes that regulate the criminal justice system, and the law associated with criminal investigation.
You’ll undertake simulated investigations in our multi-room Crime Scene Training Facility, ranging from domestic burglaries and vehicle examinations to more complex scenes such as arson and homicide. You’ll study several cases and learn about the forensic techniques used to solve the crime, and be able to critically appraise and evaluate forensic approaches.
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
You will study a diverse range of subject areas relevant to forensic investigation, including crime scene investigation, collection and analysis of evidence, the structure and processes which regulate the criminal justice system and laws associated with criminal investigation.
During the first year, you will receive an introduction to the various disciplines within the forensic science field and this will be complimented with practical experience gained through the examination of realistic simulated crime scenes from domestic burglaries to homicide within our suite of forensic laboratories and bespoke crime scene house. Other subject areas such as Policing, Health and Safety, Introductory Science and Mathematics will also be studied. Modules include:
In this module you will learn about the scientific and statistical tools used to evaluate crime along with its origin and context, prevalence, and effects upon victims and society. You will be given an overview of the classification of criminal offences and links to intelligence and evidence.
During the second year of study, you will further enhance your skills through the analysis of evidence in the laboratory, learning about the various chemical and biological analyses that are used within forensic laboratories. Specialist disciplines such as photography, Forensic Earth Science, Computer Forensics and microscopy are introduced here. Modules studied include:
You will be introduced to more complex Forensic Investigation areas such as Fire and Explosion and Specialist areas of Forensic Investigation. Emphasis will still be placed on the Policing strand of the course and the importance of crime scene processing, and evidence handling in the laboratory. You will also undertake an independent literature review research project. Modules studied include:
The Forensic Investigation course will be delivered through a series of lectures, tutorials and practical classes. In addition to this, students are expected to undertake both directed and independent learning, reading around the subject area.
On an average week, students may be expected to attend the following:
The timetable may be spread over all five days of the taught week (Monday to Friday inclusive) or it may for example, allow students half a day or a full day free from contact classes. This is subject to change on a weekly basis depending upon when individual activities for modules are timetabled.
Guest lecturers are invited to speak to students on a range of topics. Previous topics have included fire investigation, ballistics cases and identification of bodies from mass graves.
Students will be assessed by various means, including written examinations, in class tests, essays, reports, practical exercises, presentations, assessed tutorials and computer assignments. Some modules will be continually assessed and others may have an end of year examination.
Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
Our laboratories are of a standard you would expect to find in industry. If you choose to study Forensic Investigation, you will make full use of the George Knox laboratories and gain hands-on experience using extensive analytical equipment. This will allow you to develop a portfolio of highly desirable practical skills that you can add to your CV. In particular, when using the more specialised equipment and facilities, you will find yourself working in groups of up to just four or five students.
Our laboratory facilities include a dedicated organic chemistry laboratory; a combined inorganic/physical chemistry laboratory; two large general instrument laboratories that house analytical instruments such as UV/visible spectrometers, infrared spectrometers, fluorescence spectrometers, optical emission spectrometers, and gas and liquid chromatographs; a dedicated student research laboratory and two specialist laboratories for performing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy In addition, students have access to the laboratories and instrumentation in the University’s Sustainable Environment Research Centre (SERC) which include ultra-high performance liquid chromatograph tandem mass spectrometers, ion chromatographs and headspace gas chromatographs. View our Forensic Science facilities.
You will be taught by staff in our analytical and forensic science team which consist of specialist forensic science practitioners, experts in DNA analysis and bloodstain pattern analysis, experts in forensic toxicology, crime scene investigators and chartered chemists.
We also employ several specialists within the forensic field to deliver training on this course to enhance your study.
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.
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.
BCC - CDD (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level
Pass the Access to HE Diploma and obtain a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances.
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
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.
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.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.
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.
Students who successfully secure a placement in industry to complete their major research project would be expected to pay their own travel costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement.
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Students are encouraged to equip themselves with a suitable cotton laboratory coat, suitable for working in a chemical laboratory, and a pair of personal protective laboratory goggles, although the School does provide these items. Students who are successful in securing an industry-based project may, in a small number of cases, be required to purchase additional personal protective equipment as specified by the specific organisation or company.
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.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
The BSc Forensic Investigation degree will help you develop the academic, vocational and personal skills needed to pursue a variety of careers. These include roles in crime scene and forensic investigation units, and in the wider criminal justice sector. The course is designed to also develop transferrable skills that you can apply to a range of occupations requiring a scientific analytical background.
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.