MSci Forensic Biology

Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, the MSci Forensic Biology course covers all of the core aspects of forensic science, from crime scene to court, but with a focus on the human body in years two and three, and a greater emphasis on analytical toxicology, advanced DNA analysis and the interpretation, evaluation and presentation of simulated casework related evidence in year four. As well as having the opportunity to complete a PRINCE2 Foundation level qualification in project management, the MSci Forensic Biology should make you highly employable within these core but highly specialised fields of forensic science.

Our MSci Forensic Biology degree allows you to combine bachelors and masters level modules into one course. There are many personal benefits in achieving an MSci qualification – fast-tracking your career, a wider range of career pathways, greater financial rewards and a wider range of employability skills to put on your CV including research, project management and instrument maintenance.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C268 Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
C268 Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

By taking the MSci Forensic Biology course, you will have the opportunity to gain a highly valued education from a provider of forensic science degree courses by learning from practitioners and researchers. Designed around Professional Body criteria and quality benchmark requirements, this course will contain all of the core elements required for a good quality forensic science education which is also enriched by the expertise and experience of our staff.

Our MSci Forensic Biology will offer students to specialise in the structure, regulations and biochemical processes that occur in the body naturally and as a result of a crime, with key study strands including human molecular genetics and DNA profiling. Whilst especially designed to allow you to enter careers in the field of forensic biology, the common aspects of the course will allow you to also compete for career opportunities in a vast range of forensic and biological science laboratories and wider criminal justice positions.

In years one to three of the course, you will study the core aspects of within our crime scene investigation, evidence examination and interpretation and courtroom skills, but will specialise in areas including biological and forensic anthropology, pharmacology and clinical biochemistry, endocrinology, medical microbiology, molecular genetics and DNA analysis.

Practical work, method development, quality assurance, instrument maintenance and research skills dominate the year four curriculum. Study a year four module in Project Design, Management and Enterprise leading to a PRINCE2 Foundation Qualification, illustrating not only your project management capabilities but your entrepreneurial side.

Year One: MSci Forensic Biology Degree

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Criminalistics
  • Introduction to Forensic Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Key Skills for Forensic Practice

Year Two: MSci Forensic Biology Degree

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

Year Three: MSci Forensic Biology Degree

  • Human Variation and Forensic Anthropology
  • Applications of Forensic Biology
  • Human Molecular Genetics and Forensic DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Microscopy and X-ray Analysis
  • Toxicology
  • Research Professional Practice and Employability for Forensic Biology

Year Four: MSci Forensic Biology Degree

  • Analytical Toxicology
  • Advanced DNA Profiling and Analysis
  • Project Design, Management and Enterprise
  • Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Casework
  • Laboratory Research Project


Modules in Years One to Three are taught linearly across three academic terms, meaning that you will usually receive a lecture in each module every week, allowing you to build up your knowledge throughout the year. This will also be supplemented by practical work in our Crime Scene House or in our laboratories, and especially in Year One, small group tutorials to offer you extra academic study support. In Years Two and Three, we encourage a greater level of independent directed study, and there is greater time spent developing your analytical skills in our laboratories.

In Year Four, modules are taught through the block-mode approach, meaning study is more intensive, and is focussed upon one module at one time. This allows you to conduct longer, more involved practicals and research-style experiments to gain greater exposure to these higher level skills. The research project is usually taken over the summer in Year Four.


You will be assessed using a broad range of methods which will focus upon your academic knowledge and practical and vocational skills, including written laboratory reports, evidence case files, expert witness style statements, online tests, short essays and in-term and end of year formal examinations and tests.

You will also create a written scientific dissertation in Year Four which is evidence of the outcomes of your research project. Oral presentations and cross-examinations also form part of the assessment methods to encourage you to develop your communication skills for the workplace and the courtroom. You will also complete a PRINCE2 foundation examination in Year Four.


The MSci Forensic Biology degree is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. This means that what you learn meets recognised standards. 


Our Forensic Biology 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.

Our teaching and learning facilities include a dedicated DNA analysis suite with a state-of-the-art genetic analyser, a scanning electron microscopy suite, and dedicated laboratories for chemistry and biology.



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

BBC to include Chemistry and Biology but to exclude General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Grade C and BB at A Level to include Chemistry and Biology but to exclude General Studies

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit in a relevant subject which must include Biology and Chemistry modules

Typical IB Offer

30 points to include 16 points at Higher Level to include Higher Level Biology and Chemistry grade 5

Typical Access to HE Offer

Access to Higher Education Diploma in Science with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits equating to 18 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 3 Passes to include Biology and Chemistry modules

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 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.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £12300 

August 2019 - July 2020 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.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) * £25 - £100
Students are strongly encourged to equip themselves with a suitable cotton laboratory coat suitable for working in a chemical laboratory, and a pair of personal protective laboratory goggles. Students who are successful in securing an industry-based project may be required to purchase additional personal protective equipment as specified by the specific organisation or company for the place of project conduct. There is a potential cost involved in binding both third year and fourth year project dissertations.
Students gain access to specialist laboratory equipment and facilities to conduct their practical work and in year 4 to conduct a major research project. All consumables agreed by the project supervisor as required for the projects are included within the tuition fee for this course. A PRINCE2 foundation course and training materials costs are also included within the normal tuition fees for the MSci. Please note that students who successfully secure a placement in industry to complete their major research project would be expected to pay for their own travel costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary. Some students have also paid for accommodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement. Students are provided with reading lists but are not expected to buy any books, instead students are actively encouraged to make use of the extensive learning resources of the University. Many books are available as e-books. The course uses the many computing facilities of the Glyntaff campus (students are not expected to buy their own computer but having a personal PC will help with their studies).

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

Employment prospects for MSci Forensic Biology graduates are very good. You will have a much increased set of practical skills to offer employers, including skills in research, method development and project management, and therefore this should allow you to apply for positions above entry level.

Analytical Scientists such as forensic scientists have a wealth of career opportunities available to them in the field of forensics and elsewhere. We would anticipate that most graduates will obtain positions as scientists in laboratories with forensic science service providers such as in toxicology or DNA analysis, or related analytical industries where quality assurance and the use of instrumentation for analyte quantification or detection plays a significant part of the process. With experience and employment, graduates should have the scope to aspire to becoming reporting scientists, expert witnesses or laboratory managers. Good analytical scientists have the capacity to work in the area, and in teaching or 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.