Biological and Forensic Sciences BSc (Hons)


Course Code

UCAS Code: CF94
International Code: HLSU209


Coventry University (Coventry)


Study mode



3 years full-time
4 years sandwich

Start date

September 2022

Course overview

Study level: Undergraduate

This exciting course blends the study of human biology with the rigorous scientific techniques used in forensic laboratories, using our ‘crime scene to court’ approach.

  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB)
  • Well-equipped suite of analytical and biological laboratories where you can gain hands-on experience using industry-standard techniques
  • 1 in the Midlands for career prospects in Biological Sciences in the Times Good University Guide 2021
  • Support applying for placements in laboratory and industrial settings to gain crucial real-world experience
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Global Ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

If you are fascinated with human biology and the scientific investigation of crime, our degree will enable you to learn all about human physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology/genetics, microbiology and the various disciplines within forensic science.

It aims to blend the study of human biology with the techniques used in forensic laboratories, including analysis of blood, fibres, particulates, fingerprints, drugs, documents, DNA, fire/explosives residue and other trace evidence.

In the human biology element of the course, a broad range of subjects are covered, including microbiology, molecular biology, medical genetics, cancer biology, physiology and cell biology. Throughout your degree, you will be taught the details of forensic science, the legal system and investigative practice, demonstrating a capability to maintain auditable records of your investigations.

We offer a range of practical classes, where you will have the opportunity to undertake measurements made on human subjects, such as electrocardiograph measurements on fellow students, identification of genetic markers for predisposition to smoking or sleep patterns and identification of your own DNA profile. These deliver a logical acquisition and development of laboratory skills.

Our experienced staff aim to adopt a ‘Crime Scene to Court’ approach to their teaching, which should help you to understand forensic science, in particular the need to methodically collect samples, analyse them and present the results to the standard required by the courts. You’ll be taught by our experienced staff, many of whom can bring professional or research expertise to their teaching.

You’ll be based in our state-of-the-art Alison Gingell Building, which provides an outstanding learning and research environment, featuring a video-linked ‘crime scene’ house, analytical laboratory facilities and one of the largest Class II containment teaching laboratories in Europe, specifically designed to accommodate microbiology, cell culture, molecular biology/genetics, biochemistry and forensic science.

Laboratory sessions should help to develop the practical skills needed for a career in a variety of biology and forensic roles. You will be taught key experimental techniques and develop essential experimental, data handling, reporting and broader scientific skills, such as literature researching, information technology, bioinformatics, data processing and the use of statistics. You’ll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of a wide range of laboratory techniques.

No. 1

in the Midlands for career prospects in Biological Sciences

Times Good University Guide 2021

Accredited by:

Royal Society of Biology

Royal Society of Biology

This course is accredited by Royal Society of Biology for the 2022/23 intake. If the accreditation of this course change, we would seek to notify applicants and students as soon as possible.

Students are eligible to become Associate Members of the Royal Society of Biology (subject to application and additional costs may apply).

From crime scene to laboratory

Our Biological and Forensic Sciences students use our full-size community houses to simulate crime scenes. Nicoleta talks about the course and how our facilities prepare students for real life situations.

Coventry University is the place where interactive learning and practice combine together to give you the best student experience. The excellent facilities and the amazing tutors provide the best teaching environment and you really feel part of the Coventry University team. My experience here has helped me to achieve my best, developing my skills and knowledge in a large number of fields.

Andrei-Florin Sandu
Male student wearing a white lab suite taking forensic prints

What you'll study

The first-year modules will introduce you to basic scientific principles, such as hypotheses development and testing, laboratory procedures and protocols, health and safety and data presentation and analysis across the range of bioscience disciplines studied. The essential bioscience principles begin from the molecular level building up to cellular processes and extending to organism physiology systems. The first year will also include an introduction to crime scene investigation, evidence recovery and laboratory application.


  • This module is about human physiology - the science that attempts to explain the structure and functions of the human body and the way it adapts to its environment. It places emphasis on the relationship between structure and function, and on cause-and-effect mechanisms, integrating comparisons between healthy and disease states. You will also be required to explore the concept of metabolic and development control. You will be introduced to laboratory-based techniques for the measurement of physiological variables (e.g. metabolic rate, heart rate, blood pressure and spirometry) and investigation of cellular physiology. The module aims to provide you with a sound foundation of human physiology relevant to biology-based courses.


    Assessment: Test and presentation

  • This module aims to provides you with an introduction to the living world; the origins of life; the cellular basis of life and the diversity of living organisms from single celled prokaryotes to multicellular eukaryotes. You will consider the structure of biological molecules and their functional properties within the cell and discuss the action of enzymes including the basic principles of enzyme kinetics. The module also provides you with an introduction to microbiology, including aspects of bacterial cell structure and growth.


    Assessment: Tests

  • This module aims to achieve an understanding of the structure and functions of mammalian cells, and the metabolic processes that occur within them. The module covers cell division mechanisms, energy metabolism, and cell communication. There is an introduction to genetic inheritance patterns linked to understanding of DNA replication, transcription and translation, and a consideration of evolution and natural selection mechanisms.


    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • This module is designed to introduce you to specialist areas of forensic science including crime scene protocols, processing and management, quality assurance and control, plus forensic biology and chemistry based analytical techniques. During the module you will also discuss legal aspects of forensics, explore a range of forensic scenarios and conduct an investigation into a simulated crime scene.


    Assessment: Coursework and test

  • The aim of this module is to facilitate the development of key skills that are essential for successful undergraduate study and also future employability. As part of this module, you will be introduced to, and will be required to demonstrate, skills that are fundamental to your course. These include effective scientific communication in both written and oral formats, identifying, interpreting and utilising relevant scientific literature, quantitative skills, teamwork, experimental design and safe and appropriate laboratory practical work. The concepts of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and appropriate record keeping in the laboratory are considered.


    Assessment: Test and portfolio

  • The focus on preparing students for successful futures helps to set Coventry apart as a university.

    The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students’ knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


In year 2 you will be required to continue building upon the core biology relating to Forensic Science (Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology) as well as studying key forensic science methodologies and techniques. You also have the option of either following a Physiology or Microbiology theme as appropriate for your intended career destination. The associated practical skills programme delivers a logical acquisition and development of laboratory skills.


  • This module aims to extends the study of both the DNA based biochemistry and the basic understanding of genetics you should have developed in Year 1 to the study of human genetic disorders (chromosomal and molecular abnormalities) and the techniques and theoretical knowledge which has made the recent great strides forward in our understanding of our genes and genome. You will also have the opportunity to explore the applications and implications of such knowledge. This module provides an integrated programme of laboratory work that continues and expands upon the first year programme in covering the principles, practice and applications of a variety of techniques. The aim of this part of the module is to provide you with appropriate experimental support and to continue the laboratory training initiated in Year 1, so that you are adequately prepared for further experimental study including the Professional Training Year and final year project.


    Assessment: Tests and coursework

  • This module aims to focus on fundamental features and activities of eukaryotic cells such as control of cell division and differentiation, cell communication and interaction with other cells and with the external environment. The module also investigates cellular organisation from cells to tissues to organs from the early stages of development to the whole body system. Much of our current knowledge of normal cellular processes has come from detailed study of disease states, and this is integrated throughout this module. Modern advances in cell biology and genetics which aim to aid diagnosis or therapy are also discussed, with consideration of the uses of adult and embryonic stem cells. The importance of cell signalling pathways is covered with their involvement in a number of diseases and their therapeutic applications and potential. This module will also cover areas such as tissue remodelling, regeneration, ageing and the role of cell death in body patterning.


    Assessment: Tests and coursework

  • The aim of this module is to expand your knowledge and skills in different aspects of forensic science. It is designed to enable you to learn in detail about forensic laboratory protocols and the techniques used to analyse evidence. Analytical techniques for the examination of biological and chemical evidence will be studied, including their application and interpretation within forensic scenarios. You will also be introduced to the detection of drugs and poisons.


    Assessment: Tests and coursework

  • On successful completion of this module, you will have advanced your understanding and practise of biomolecular and forensic science research and data analysis including using SPSS for statistical evaluation. The value and use of biological databases (bioinformatics) and the importance and application of this discipline in genomics as applied to course specific topics will be explored. You will continue to review and extend your skills in scientific literature review and written presentation, plus reference management systems. The module also further explores careers opportunities, professional training placement and/or employment preparation. This will include consideration of employment selection practices and professional skills, knowledge and attributes that will contribute to successful employment, both in forensic industries or in wider career fields, including entrepreneurial activities and self-employment.


    Assessment: Tests and coursework

  • On this module you will practise and develop your research skills through the planning, execution, analysis and reporting of a group based mini project. You will utilise and extend your understanding of quantitative and qualitative experimental design, research ethics and risk assessment, and data analysis and presentation. These skills will prepare you for your final year individual research project.


    Assessment: Coursework and portfolio

  • The focus on preparing students for successful futures helps to set Coventry apart as a university.

    The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students’ knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


  • Systemic Physiology (20 credits)

    This module is about systemic human physiology and associated disorders affecting specific systems (e.g. nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular) - the science that attempts to explain the structure and functions of the human body and the way it adapts to its environment and disease. Within this module the laboratory skills you obtained in Year 1 will be further enhanced in the measurement of physiological variables (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure and spirometry). It aims to further the study of physiology and pharmacology and enable you to discuss and analyse the area of systemic physiology.

    Assessment: coursework and test

    Infection and Immunity (20 credits)

    The aims of this module are to focus on the biology of medically important micro-organisms and the role they play in health and disease and to explore the structure and function of the defence mechanisms of hosts, specifically the immune responses that are targeted against pathogens. The micro-organisms you will be asked to study include bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, and in this module you will investigate their structure, replication, their diagnosis and associated clinical disease. Prevention and control of disease is explored and starts with physical and chemical host barriers, complement, inflammation and with innate and adaptive immunity. The development of the cells involved in immune responses is explained along with antigen processing and presentation as well as the effector mechanisms. You will also discuss treatment of clinical infections using drugs. Finally, how we can prevent infection through development of effective vaccines and appropriate immunisation strategies, based on epidemiological understanding, is considered. You will be required to undertake a programme of laboratory work covering the principles, practice and applications of a variety of techniques in microbiology, diagnosis of microbial infection and immunology.

    Assessment: coursework and test



Optional Enhancement Year


  • Professional Experience Sandwich Year
  • Study Abroad


The final stage of the course introduces an ‘applied biology’ focus. The investigative project is applied in nature and you have the opportunity to apply your learning to a simulated case. You can also study a genetic identification module that applies molecular biology techniques previously encountered, to the identification of people (or other species in the case of wildlife crime). Depending upon your year 2 module choice, you will continue to study either Physiology or Microbiology as well as having the flexibility to enhance your portfolio of understanding by choosing to study either Cancer Biology or Applied Human Genetics.

You will have the opportunity to build on the professional skills developed including scientific communication (written and oral), study skills, research methods, information retrieval, IT, data processing and presentation and career development. You are also encouraged to consider your employability and/or entrepreneurial development using these skills and knowledge. As well as enhancing employability, the transferable skills programme is intended to prepare you for the development and delivery of your final year investigative project.


  • This module aims to equip you with the skills necessary to design a piece of research in a specific area of Biological and Forensic Sciences. You will consider ethical issues associated with your research design and any health and safety implications. Through a series of lectures, workshops, group and individual meetings, you will design a hypothesis driven research project considering current literature, appropriate methodology and data analysis. After successful completion of this module you will progress on to conduct the designed research project.


    Assessment: coursework

  • The aim of this module is to enable you to conduct a piece of investigative research, which may be laboratory or non-laboratory based, in a specialised area of Biological and Forensic Sciences. This module follows from Research Design and you implement your research proposals in this module. You are expected to demonstrate increasing independence, organisational and time management skills, technical skills and awareness of ethical and health and safety issues, all of which are required when working in the area.


    Assessment: coursework

  • This module is designed to enable you, with the aid of specific case studies, to critically analyse and evaluate forensic evidence obtained from a range of sources.  The module builds upon the forensic analysis techniques previously learned and concentrates on the appropriate application of these techniques to a range of offence types including homicides, sexual offences, other violent crimes (such as assaults and woundings), volume crimes (such as burglary, car crime and fraud) and drugs offences.  The module also addresses the principles of forensic quality and statistical (probabilistic) evaluation of evidence and the presentation of evidence to a criminal court.


    Assessment: Coursework and oral presentation

  • This module extends the discussion of forensic DNA analysis to consider the analysis and interpretation of more challenging samples such as low copy number and mixed samples, as well as modern advances in forensic analysis. These include novel multiplex PCRs for STRs, SNP analysis and prediction of phenotype, and mitochondrial DNA analysis. The application of RNA analysis in the determination of body fluid identity and in estimation of postmortem interval is also covered. You will also have the opportunity to review other forensic identification applications such as foot-in-shoe, facial recognition and gait analysis, and considers their use in both suspect identification and crime prevention.


    Assessment: coursework

  • The focus on preparing students for successful futures helps to set Coventry apart as a university.

    The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students’ knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


  • Clinical Physiology (20 credits)

    Clinical Physiology is concerned with the application of physiological principles to explain the body's reaction and adaptation to disease, injury and stress. This module aims to enable you to critically analyse the diagnosis, management, and treatment of disorders affecting primary systems e.g. cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous. You will use a problem-based learning approach to research and reorganise information relating to the pathophysiology of selected disorders, and present this in an informed manner.

    Assessment: presentation and coursework


    Medical Microbiology (20 credits)

    This Medical Microbiology module involves the study of interactions between microbes and hosts or communities during the course of human disease. You can consider the pathogenic mechanisms, related host responses, consequent stages in progression and human epidemiology of microbial infection.

    Assessment: coursework


    Choose one from the following:


    Cancer Biology (20 credits)

    This module enables you to explore cancer from a clinical, biological and epidemiological perspective, examining the cellular and genetic changes that occur during transformation and discussing how inherited susceptibilities can predispose individuals to develop certain cancers. It aims to investigate molecular methods for the early detection, monitoring and treatment of various cancers as well as preventative measures.

    Assessment: case study and coursework


    Applied Human Genetics (20 credits)

    In this module you can investigate human heredity, exploring both monogenetic and complex, multifactorial genetic conditions and their effect on human health, development and reproduction. It aims to demonstrate the genetic diversity that exists within human populations, the effects of such variation on susceptibility to both infectious and non-infectious diseases and how this information can be exploited in genetic screening, in diagnosis of disease and in therapeutic interventions. You will investigate the mathematical analysis of human populations and discuss the social and ethical implications of emerging genetic knowledge and its use in the medical arena.

    Assessment: coursework and case study


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory work, workshops, textbooks, module webs, journals (hard copies and electronic) within theory and laboratory-based modules.

Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 6 hours of workshops/online tutorials each week.

  • Medium group teaching: 6 hours of workshops or seminars each week
  • Large group teaching: 6 hours of lectures each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 18 hours of self-directed study each week.

The university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via emerging online technologies and methods across all courses. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2020/2021 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.

Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to Covid-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include court room assessment, coursework, tests, essays, practical or project work, formal examinations, presentations and posters and group work.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes. Assessments may include exams, individual assignments or group work elements.

Job ready

This course is available as a full-time three-year or optional four-year sandwich course, the latter incorporating a work placement or study year in a related field.* You will be required to present work based on your experiences during the sandwich year. Previous students have spent a year working as Forensic Intelligence Operators for Maryland Police in the USA.

Progression through the Professional Skills modules develops knowledge and skills including scientific communication (written and oral), study skills, research methods, information retrieval, IT, data processing and presentation and career development. We will also encourage you to consider your employability and/or entrepreneurial development through these modules.

International experience opportunities

Our sandwich degree option allows a full year work placement, which can be taken abroad, or you can undertake a study year abroad.* Previous students in our department have been successful in securing places to study in Spain, France, Canada and the US.

The Biological and Forensic Sciences course attracts many international students, providing a diverse learning experience. This enhances the discussion of issues such as genetic inheritance, criminal justice and biomedical interventions and provides all students with a global perspective of developments in both human biology and forensic science.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2022 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
A Level BBC to include Biology. Excludes General Studies.
BTEC DMM in the BTEC Level 3 Extended National Diploma in a Biological Science subject.
IB Diploma 30 points to include a minimum of 5 points in Biology at Higher Level.
GCSE requirement 5 GCSEs at grade 4 / C or above to include English, Mathematics and two Sciences.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

Chat with UK admissions

Typical offer for 2022 entry.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

If you do not have the typical entry requirements, you may want to consider studying this course with an international foundation year. Upon successful completion our International Foundation Year - Biosciences will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to progress onto this undergraduate degree.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area)

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

Chat with International admissions

Fees and funding

2022/23 Tuition fees

Student Full time Part time
UK £9,250 per year Not available
International £16,650 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.


The multi-million-pound Alison Gingell Building is home to microbiology, cell culture, molecular biology/genetics, biochemistry and forensic science laboratories, allowing you to work in a professional environment from day one.

Forensic crime scene tape over an open door

Community houses

Immersive crime scene simulation houses, outdoor search and decomposition facilities.




superlab facilities


The Alison Gingell building contains a state-of-the-art SuperLab. The lab's facilities include equipment for microscopy, DNA analysis and forensic testing.


Female in a white lab coat holding a plastic beaker, with a male and female standing behind wearing lab coats

Analytical Chemistry suite

The Analytical Chemistry Suite is a dedicated space for chemistry-based teaching. Students can complete ‘wet’ chemistry and preparatory work, complemented by a comprehensive suite of analytical equipment which includes ICP-OES, uHPLC, HPLC, Fluorescence Spectrometers, UV Spectrometers, GC, and GC-MS.

Careers and opportunities

This degree provides students with the opportunity to take up roles in private sector forensic laboratory service providers or as police Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs), although further training maybe provided within the police. Alternatively, you could pursue roles in fraud, customs and excise or as private investigators.

The biological modules also provide the opportunity to access non-forensic careers, including pharmaceutical or food quality testing laboratories, medical and laboratory equipment sales and in more general scientific writing and/or teaching professions. This is an important element of our course design, as employment opportunities in forensics are limited and students need to be well-prepared for a wide range of employment options.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The university's Talent Team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

Where our graduates work

Previous graduates of this course have secured laboratory positions with forensic providers in both Government and private sector organisations, while others have secured posts in biology labs with companies such as The Binding Site and Severn Trent Water.

Graduates not wishing to work in laboratory-based occupations have previously secured posts in scientific equipment and medical sales, where they can apply their scientific training to real-world problem solving. A number have also gone on to work in managerial positions where their numeracy and analytical skills have been of benefit, for example, as a workflow planning manager for a building supplies company in Cambridgeshire or team leader of the DNA reference samples team of Key Forensic Services Ltd.

How to apply

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  • Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2021/22 Contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

    Tuition fees

    The tuition fee for the course that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For UK and EU students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, EU students should be aware that there may be a change to UK laws following the UK’s exit, this may change their student status, their eligibility to study part time, and/or their eligibility for student finance. We will act in accordance with the UK’s laws in force in relation to student tuition fees and finance from time to time.

    For International students the tuition fee that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For international students, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation.


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery. 


    Facilities mentioned on this page may not be relevant for every course. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Placements and study abroad opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any placement or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (e.g. travel, visas and accommodation etc.), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the requirements in this regard, please contact the International Office for further details if you are an EU or International student.

    Additional costs

    This course may incur additional costs associated with any field trips, placements or work experience, study abroad opportunities or any other opportunity (whether required or optional), which could include (but is not limited to), equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas).