MSci Forensic Science

Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, the four-year MSci Forensic Science course is an opportunity to enhance your career prospects. It focuses on further skills in DNA and toxicological analysis, research skills, employability and project management.

The MSci Forensic Science course has a strong focus on employability and you’ll study the entire process from crime scene to court. You will be trained in standard practices and techniques used in crime scene investigation, as well as laboratory analysis of evidence and its interpretation.

You’ll study specialist branches of forensic science including criminalistics, anthropology, fire investigation, toxicology and the chemistry and biological analytical techniques employed in forensic investigations. You can obtain a PRINCE2 Foundation qualification in project management and conduct an industry related laboratory research project.

An MSci course combines Bachelors and Masters' level modules into one fully integrated package. There are many personal benefits to this including 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.

2022/23 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 Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during 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. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, 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
4H3W Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
4H3W Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

By taking the MSci Forensic Science 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 Science course will offer students the opportunities to engage in a broad spectrum of analytical and forensic sciences, studying almost all aspects of forensic science from chemistry to biology, earth science, anthropology, major scene investigation and toxicology. Our Forensic Science course has a very strong scientific base, which means you will be employable in a number of scientific sectors. 

In years one to three of the course, you will have the opportunity to specialise in areas such as digital forensics, analytical chemistry, microscopy, toxicology, and forensic and molecular genetics. You will also study the core aspects within our forensic science courses which includes crime scene investigation, evidence examination and courtroom skills.

Following successful completion of a common first year curriculum covering criminalistics, forensic chemistry and forensic biology, students choose to study modules that follow either an “Analytical” or a “Biology” Forensic Science pathway depending upon their personal preference during their second and subsequent third year.

The second year of your forensic science will enhance your practical skills and theoretical knowledge through forensic evidence and crime scene examination. You will develop your skills in applying analytical techniques and your understanding of either analytical chemistry or biological science within forensic investigation depending upon the pathway chosen.

In the third year you will study advanced modules, critically analysing forensic case studies as well as developing advanced skills in either the analytical chemistry or biological science depending upon the pathway chosen as well as taking the Research, Employability and Professional Skills module.

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 Science Degree

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Introduction to Criminalistics
  • Introduction to Forensic Biology
  • Fundamental Concepts for the Forensic Sciences
  • Chemical Concepts for the Forensic Sciences
  • Key Skills for Forensic Practice

Year Two: MSci Forensic Science Degree

Analytical Pathway

  • Forensic Evidence and Laboratory Analysis
  • Volume Crime Scene Examination
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Human Molecular Genetics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Digital Forensics 

Biology Pathway

  • Forensic Evidence and Laboratory Analysis
  • Volume Crime Scene Examination
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Human Molecular Genetics
  • Forensic Analysis of Human Remains
  • Medical Microbiology

Year Three: MSci Forensic Science Degree

Analytical Pathway

  • Major Scene Investigation
  • Advanced Analytical Chemistry
  • Forensic Genetics and DNA Analysis 
  • Forensic Microscopy and X-ray Analysis
  • Toxicology
  • Research, Employability and Professional Skills

Biology Pathway

  • Applications of Forensic Biology
  • Human Variation and Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Genetics and DNA Analysis
  • Forensic Microscopy and X-ray Microanalysis
  • Toxicology
  • Research, Employability and Professional Skills

Year Four: MSci Forensic Science Degree

  • Analytical Toxicology
  • Biological Evidence and DNA Analysis
  • Project Management and Techniques
  • Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Casework
  • Laboratory Research Project

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


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 Training Facility 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.

Research-informed teaching

Lecturers are members of our applied science research group which comprises biologists, chemists, ecologists, earth, environmental and forensic scientists. Broadly our research falls into two areas - Biological Science and Analytical and Physical Science. Our research includes both fundamental science and very applied science working alongside industrial partners. We have an international outlook with research projects and collaborations world-wide. Our research is supported through excellent dedicated research facilities.


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 Science course is accredited by The Forensic Science Society.


All of our year four research projects will be related in some way to projects and research conducted by industry. There may be opportunities to liaise with or work alongside industry to complete final laboratory research projects. 


The MSci Forensic Science course focuses on practical investigative skills in the forensic laboratory. You’ll benefit from industry standard instruments, providing you with skills in a wide range of evidence examination techniques.

Our excellent facilities include a multi-room Crime Scene Training Facility, dedicated instrument laboratories and a DNA analysis suite. This gives you experience in crime scene examination and chain of custody processes, as well as potential issues at crime scenes.


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.

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.

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

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 to include Chemistry and Biology modules

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 30 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

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.

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 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International:  £14000 

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Full-time UK: 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 / Equipment
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.
Placement *
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.

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

Employment prospects for MSci Forensic Science 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. 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. 

Graduates with a MSci Forensic Science degree will 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.

You could also progress to a PhD or research degree.

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.