BSc (Hons) Forensic Science with Criminology

Would you like to gain an insight into criminal profiling and crime scene investigation, while exploring how and why crimes are committed

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.

You’ll be introduced to many traditional fields of crime scene analysis, including the scientific investigations of fires and homicides, plus a range of approaches from the field of chemistry.

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

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.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
F4M9 Full-time 3 Years September Glyntaff A

The Forensic Science with Criminology course takes you on a journey from crime scene to court, experiencing many traditional and specialist fields of forensic investigation, allowing you become an expert both in the laboratory analysis of evidence using techniques derived from the field of chemistry whilst exploring critical issues in the interdisciplinary field of criminal investigation and criminal behaviour which explores research from a range of scientific and social areas.

It explores crime scene investigation and the criminal justice sector at introductory levels, followed by analytical and forensic investigations of a wide range of evidence types, leading to you acquiring an ability to provide a full scientific and statistical evaluation of evidence.

You will also study the various relationships between professionals in the criminal justice sector, including how forensic scientists work along with the police forensic team and the wider criminal justice sector to achieve successful prosecutions.

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
    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 Examination
    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 and Laboratory Examination
    Through studying this module you will understand the role, duties and limitations of expert witnesses within forensic science provisions. In addition to this, you will develop competence in search, recovery, examination and analysis. This module will develop the your ability to document and report on a range of trace evidence types, including fibres, glass, blood, DNA and questioned document evidence.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


The Forensic Science with Criminology programme is taught through a combination of lectures, discussion based or practical seminars, tutorials and laboratory classes.

A typical week involves six lectures, up to eight hours of practical work, and some small group tutorials. Self-directed study also plays a part in each module.


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 skills embedded within them including independent learning, working as part of a team, numeracy, planning, organisation and communication skills.


The BSc (Hons) Forensic Science with Criminology degree is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


To increase your employability, you may be able to spend a year working in industry mid-way through the course, which is an excellent way to expand your range of skills.


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 in the use of key state-of-the-art instrumentation found in modern forensic analysis laboratories, plus gain a comprehensive training in the protocols involved in crime scene investigation by conducting casework-based experiments and processing simulated scenes in our crime scene house.



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.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include Chemistry and another Science but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include Chemistry and another Science but to exclude General Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Science Requirements

Applicants taking Science A levels in England will need to pass the practical element alongside achieving the requested

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject to include Chemistry modules (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including a score of 5 in Biology and Chemistry at Higher Level. You will also need to obtain a score of 5 or above in English at standard level.


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 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. 

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 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13800 

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

Our Forensic Science with Criminology degree provides broad-based scientific training which does not restrict graduates when they choose their career. You will gain an excellent portfolio of practical skills that are in demand by employers, including research and report writing skills, the ability to analyse a range of evidence types and present evidence in court. You will also 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 forensic science and criminology graduates are highly desirable. Career opportunities for our forensic science graduates have been very good, gaining posts all over the world in forensic laboratories, crime scene investigation teams, toxicology, police forces, biomedical and environmental laboratories, fingerprint bureaus, insurance investigation and health and safety.

A Forensic Science with Criminology degree is also an excellent foundation for a broad range of criminal justice careers where forensic awareness plays a key role. Popular career routes for Criminology students include the Crown Prosecution Service, police force, prison, probation, protection and victim support services and social work. This degree is relevant for new careers such as intelligence analysis and crime reduction officers. Many of our graduates also progress to postgraduate study and research.

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.