BSc (Hons) Forensic Science with Criminology (Including foundation year)

The foundation year is designed for students who do not meet the entry criteria for the BSc (Hons) Forensic Science with Criminology degree. You’ll start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your scientific skills and knowledge.

Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, USW's Forensic Science with Criminology course allows you to explore your interests in the scientific and forensic investigation of crime, while exploring the nature, consequences and prevention of criminal behaviour.

You’ll gain the practical skills and knowledge to examine crime scene evidence and study relationships between professionals in the criminal justice sector, including how forensic scientists work alongside police forensic teams and the wider criminal justice sector to achieve successful prosecutions.


UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
3GC2 Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
3GC2 Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

The Forensic Science with Criminology degree will explore crime scene investigation and the criminal justice sector with analytical and forensic investigations, to provide a full scientific and statistical evaluation of evidence. You will study relationships between professionals in the criminal justice sector, including how forensic scientists work alongside police forensic teams and the wider criminal justice sector to achieve successful prosecutions.

Foundation Year: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree

  • Foundation Biology
    This module will provide the fundamental knowledge of living things, and the processes which enable them to survive and reproduce. Students will gain an appreciation of the evolutionary processes, which lead to the modern diversity of the living world. Areas covered include, basic biochemistry and cell structure, applications of enzymes, nucleic acids, genetics, biodiversity and physiology of body systems, microbiology, metabolism and the nervous system.
  • Key Skills and Professional Development
    This module aims to introduce students to, and allow them to develop, the key kills required to complete a science degree and continue to engage in lifelong learning: such skills include: identifying learning strategies, critical thinking, academic writing/practice, presentation skills, preparation for employment and professional conduct.

  • Introduction to Forensic Science and Criminal Justice
    This module will introduce the student to critical thinking and problem solving specifically in a forensic investigation context, whilst at the same time introducing the roles of experts and the branches of forensics, which may be utilised within an investigation. The student will be introduced to the purpose of criminal justice, key elements of the criminal justice system and the Courts. Students will analyse crime cases with emphasis on investigation, forming logical conclusions based on fact and scientific data.

  • Scientific Data Literacy
    This module looks to provide students with the understanding of and ability to apply simple mathematical tools that will allow them to obtain, interpret, manipulate, present and explain the significance of scientific data and appreciate the role mathematics plays in the sciences. This module is designed to develop and support the student’s application of numerical literacy and data handling set in the broad context of science.
  • Foundation Chemistry
    This module will introduce the student to the fundamental concepts of inorganic and organic chemistry, enabling the student to use the symbolism and calculations involved in qualitative and quantitative descriptions of chemical reactions and gain an understanding of basic functional group chemistry. It will provide an environment that encourages an inquiring, investigative approach.
  • Physical Science
    This module will introduce the student to some fundamental concepts in the physical sciences and provides an environment that encourages an inquiring, investigative approach. Students will be introduced to topics including, units, measurement and errors, heat and temperature, light and spectroscopy, conservation of energy, factors affecting rate of reaction and chemical equilibria.

Year One: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
    This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the technical and practical aspects of selected topics within forensic science. Areas covered include forensic geology; forensic odontology and anthropology; homicide investigation; criminal profiling; forensic entomology; accident investigation; current and anticipated crime trends and legal systems in England and Wales.

  • Introduction to Criminalistics
    The practice of forensic science requires an understanding of a broad range of forensic topics and involves many investigative techniques. This module will provide you with the knowledge, practical understanding and technical ability relating to the investigation of crime. Here you will study introduction to crime scene investigation; documentation; collection and preservation of physical evidence; interpretation of crime scene evidence and crime scene reconstruction.

  • Key Skills for Forensic Practice
    This module will provide you with an appreciation of the principles of safe working in laboratories, accident prevention and the promotion of safety in the workplace and the consequences for health due to exposure to hazards. You will develop an understanding of the information concerning hazards in performing experimental work and in the calculation of the probability of an accident and to estimate risk. Additionally the use of IT for scientific working, accessing journals and referencing skills are provided.

  • Crime Analysis, Criminal Justice and the Courts
    This module aims to provide students with the scientific tools to evaluate crime, its origin and context, prevalence, and effects upon victims and society. The student will gain an overview of the classification of criminal offences and the forensic evidence associated with each. Areas covered include, statistical methods for data analysis, patterns and trends in criminal offences, police recorded crimes, organised and cross-border crimes, victimisation, crime prevention and methods to evaluate a broad range of forensic evidence.

  • Chemical Concepts for the Forensic Sciences
    This module will introduce the student to fundamental concepts in physical and inorganic chemistry that support the forensic sciences, allowing the student to develop problem solving and mathematical skills that will support their application of fundamental chemical concepts. Students will study the following topics, equilibrium, including acid dissociation and the concept of pH, kinetics, thermodynamics, atomic structure, models for bonding, shapes of molecules and an introduction to transition metal and coordination chemistry.
  • Fundamental Chemistry for the Forensic Sciences
    This module will introduce the student to fundamental concepts in organic, biological and analytical chemistry and support the development of further analytical skills in the forensic sciences. Areas covered include, bonding within organic molecules, functional group recognition, structural isomers, stereoisomers, conformers of alkanes, intermolecular forces, fundamental reactions and mechanisms in organic chemistry, steric factors, carbohydrates and amino acids.

Year Two: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree

  • Volume Crime Scene Investigation
    Within this module you will gain practical digital imaging, crime scene photography and video experience recording a variety of crime scenes scenarios. This will involve studying the theoretical aspects of photography, and equipment: Films and film speeds, camera formats, focal length, aperture and depth of field, lighting techniques and flash. In addition to this, you will gain practical training in core skills for the crime scene investigator within a series of simulated volume crime scenes including vehicle examination.

  • Forensic Evidence
    Through studying this module you will understand the role, duties and limitations of expert witnesses within forensic science provision. In addition to this, you will develop competence in analysing; summarising, presenting, organising and reporting on trace evidence types and receive instruction on the retrieval and evaluation of data and information from accident scenes.

  • Investigative Approaches
    This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the reactive and proactive approaches to criminal investigations and the capacity to appreciate the complex nature of offender motivation and consequences for the crime scene. The student will be introduced to the complex field of forensic psychology, to understand its role and uses in the criminal investigation procedure, police investigative approaches and investigative interviewing.

  • Sentencing, the Penal System and Rehabilitation
    This module aims to provide students with a comprehensive overview of sentencing and the penal system, and their roles in offender management. Students will gain an insight into various approaches utilised in the process of offender rehabilitation, including, sentencing in England and Wales, the penal system, probation, prison and imprisonment, rehabilitation and restorative justice.

  • Spectroscopy
    The module aims to broaden and deepen the students’ knowledge of the principles and applications of molecular spectroscopy and apply spectroscopic techniques and data to solve chemical based questions. Students will learn the concepts and classification of spectroscopic techniques, electronic spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy, emission spectroscopy, uses of spectroscopy in organic chemistry experiments and NMR spectroscopy.

  • Analytical Chemistry
    This module introduces the principles and applications of modern analytical chromatographic methods, sample preparation and instrumentation, with a particular emphasis upon their applications in forensic, toxicological, pharmaceutical and environmental analysis. The student will acquire an understanding of the criteria in the selection of analytical techniques and learn to develop a capacity for the critical appraisal of the quality and significance of analytical data, and instil Good Laboratory Practice.

Year Three: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree

  • Research, Employability and Professional Skills
    This will involve the scientific evaluation of cases and evidence and statistical evaluation of forensic evidence and professional ethics and standards. Cases will include forensic pathology, homicide, suicide and accidental death amongst others. In addition to this, you will be introduced to the courtroom processes and the role of the expert witness, barristers, cross-examination and evidence in chief. As part of this module, you will conduct a literature review, which will involve a critical evaluation of primary information and data on a selected topic within forensic science.

  • Specialist Subjects in Crime Investigation
    This module aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of a wide range of specialist and serious offences including the study of their origins, offender motivation, and traceability including a focus on evidence, and the associated legal frameworks and penalties. Areas covered, include, drugs, new psychoactive substances and alcohol, environmental crime, organised corporate crime, extremism, radicalisation and terrorism.

  • Case Management and Review
    This module aims to provide students with evaluation and interpretation skills concerning forensic case management. Students will gain the knowledge of current quality and standards requirements and procedures embedded within Forensic Casework and associated pre- and post-examination processes. This is a largely independent study module, whereby students will produce a review of a major case, or a compilation of smaller cases, to evaluate forensic evidence integrity, continuity and storage of exhibits, policing, court processes and case management.

  • Fire and Explosion Investigation
    This module provides an in-depth and detailed overview of fire science, fire scene investigation, fatal fire investigation, vehicle fire investigation, explosives and explosion scene investigation.

  • Forensic Microscopy
    You will develop an understanding of the optic principles involved in microscopy and appreciate the microscope as an instrument to examine and analyse specimens, which are applicable to forensic science. In addition to this, you will develop a capacity to interpret images and draw conclusions from these observations. Samples may include textiles, fibres, food and drugs, soil, pollen and tissue samples. In addition to this, you will gain an understanding in, and hands on experience of using the Scanning Electron Microscope.

  • Advanced Analytical Chemistry
    This module will broaden the student’s knowledge of analytical chemistry and practical skills through the study of modern instrumental methods of analysis. Students will develop the ability to critically assess the relative merits of named analytical techniques and analytical data.

This downloadable guide allows you to compare modules across all our Forensic courses.


You will learn through a combination of lectures, discussion based or practical seminars, tutorials and laboratory classes.


Students are assessed using a variety of different approaches including end of year examinations, in-term tests, practical and laboratory skills assessments, written essay-style coursework, online short answer assessments, laboratory reports, simulated case work files, preparation of witness statements, data analysis exercises, mock court sessions and oral presentations.

Many of the tasks and assessments you will complete have transferable and employability skills deeply embedded within them including independent learning, working as part of a team, numeracy, planning, organisation and communication skills, as well as allowing you to develop highly desirable skills for employment.


This Forensic Science with Criminology degree is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


You will train in our Forensic Science facilities where you will learn key skills in our purpose-built laboratories and in our scenes of crime house.

You will gain practical experience using state-of-the-art instrumentation scenarios found in modern forensic analysis laboratories, plus comprehensive training in crime scene investigation protocols by conducting casework-based experiments and processing simulated scenarios in our Crime Scene Training Facility on campus.



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

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points from Higher Levels to include Science or Maths.

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass an Access to HE Diploma in Science and obtain a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C/Grade 4 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.

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.

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £12600 

August 2020 - July 2021 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 can expect to be employed in laboratory-based positions in the forensic science sector, such as forensic technicians or highly skilled analysts.

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.