Forensic Science BSc (Hons)

Study level: Undergraduate
Students in forensic suits working on a simulated crime scene

The course provides you with a foundation in chemical and biological sciences coupled with forensic science requirements such as crime scene evaluation, collection and preservation of evidence, and legal aspects.

Course option

Year of entry

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich

UCAS codes

F412

Start date

September 2025

The information on this page is for 2024-25 entry and should be used as guidance for 2025-26 entry. Please keep checking back on this course page to see our latest updates.


Course overview

Forensic science is a critical part of the criminal justice system.

A forensic scientist will work in a diverse team to help resolve crimes, and will need to manage crime scenes, analyse evidence and present expert witness statements in court.

  • Through a ‘crime scene to court’ approach, you will be guided through essential concepts such as crime scene evaluation and preservation through to analysis, interpretation and presentation of collected evidence.
  • You will gain a keen theoretical and practical understanding of how science underpin the analysis of forensic materials and how this must withstand legal challenges.
  • You will consider a range of forensic evidence types from toxicology, DNA, anthropology, particulates such as glass, fire and explosive residues.
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Why you should study this course

  • Authentic application using expert knowledge of practitioners in the fields of biology, chemistry, pharmacology, forensic science and forensic investigation who bring research and practical experience into the classroom (staff subject to change).
  • A ‘crime scene to court’ design that guides students from initially securing a scene through to analysing materials and presenting evidence in a court of law. This allows you to understand the entire forensic science process as well as the responsibilities of the people involved.
  • The multi-disciplinary nature of the course means that graduates will be able to apply their knowledge to a range of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities within or outside the forensic science area.
  • Opportunities to examine complex scenes in internal, external and international contexts2 exploring the use of 3D modelling, photography, and anthropology as methods of gathering forensic data4.
  • You will be able to assess simulated crime scenes in our crime scene houses, and other settings, and will then examine evidence in our biological and analytical laboratories applying relevant analytical and evaluation technique4.

Our Award-winning Green Superlab

With space for over 200 students and packed full of industry-standard equipment, the Coventry University Superlab is an amazing place to learn, experiment and discover. Find out what we’re doing in our Superlab to make it greener and reduce our waste and carbon emissions.

More than just a degree

From the integration of practical experiences in our state-of-the-art labs and simulated crime scenes, to the inspiration teaching by a range of subject experts, this course offers a great opportunity to immerse yourself in what it is to be a forensic scientist.

Dr Alan Greenwood, 2022
Two forensic science students using the biological lab

What you'll study

The first year introduces you to the basic scientific principles and practices of chemical and biological analysis. Forensic science theory is introduced as well as criminal law and the role of individuals and crime scene specialists, where you will develop skills in team working, critical thinking and entrepreneurship. Forensic protocols in crime scene examination and collection, preservation and subsequent analysis of both human and physical evidence is explored. You will be supported to become confident, competent and safe in laboratory and crime scene environments, as well as develop your writing, numerical, research and presentation skills in preparation for your subsequent years.

Modules

  • This module aims to provide an introduction to the legal system in England and Wales within an international context. The module will focus on the use of and presentation of evidence in the various court environments. You will be introduced to the procedures surrounding the enactment and interpretation of legislation. The module will identify and provide an understanding of certain criminal offences and explore how these are constructed and how the particular style of drafting can affect the course of an investigation.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of the module is to introduce you to the processes and protocols involved in the examination of a crime scene. This module will cover the roles of those attending crime scenes, crime scene management, as well as the protocols for the recovery of evidential items. You will engage in practical exercises to look at a variety of scenes, from burglaries to major crimes and collect evidence from various simulated settings.The aim of the module is to introduce you to the processes and protocols involved in the examination of a crime scene. This module will cover the roles of those attending crime scenes, crime scene management, as well as the protocols for the recovery of evidential items. You will engage in practical exercises to look at a variety of scenes, from burglaries to major crimes and collect evidence from various simulated settings.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of the module is to introduce you to a range of skills that will help you to become a competent forensic scientist and to provide you with a good foundation that underpins your undergraduate studies and beyond. These skills include both laboratory techniques which are key to performing competent reliable laboratory analysis, and underpinning skills such as report writing, searching and retrieving data, numerical skills and presentation skills both in written and other formats.

    Compulsory

  • This module is designed to introduce you to the basics of anatomy, genetics, biological evidence types and forensic pathology/medico-legal autopsies. You will explore the theory behind the various evidence types, the analysis techniques used and gain practical skills in the complementary laboratory sessions4.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is to provide an overview of the development of forensic science. Through the use of key case studies, you will gain fundamental knowledge of the forensic science process, gaining understanding of the way evidence is taken from the scene of a crime through to use in courtrooms, known as ‘crime scene to court’. You will also look at the different agencies in England and Wales involved in these stages including the forensic science regulator and quality control of forensic science and forensic materials throughout the process. Essential factors that affect the forensic science process such as bias, decision-making and ethics will also be considered and debated.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is to introduce you to the analysis and forensic opportunities afforded by a range of physical evidence types including marks evidence, questioned documents, particulates (e.g. glass, paint and gunshot residue (GSR)), drugs of abuse and other forms of physical evidence such as fire residues. We consider aspects such as transfer and persistence, and you will gain a practical and theoretical understanding of the collection and analysis involved with these evidence types. This module is heavily supported with case studies and practical laboratory sessions4 which help develop your real-world understanding.

    Compulsory

In the second year you will build on your knowledge of forensic science, covering topics such as forensic genetics, analysis of trace, marks and impressions found within complex indoor and outdoor crime scenes. You will use more complex methods of evidence evaluation such as 3D modelling, virtual reality environments and digital photography. To complete your studies you will further explore areas such as toxicology and the examination of drugs, forensic ecology and taphonomy studies.

Modules

  • This module extends the discussion of forensic DNA analysis covered in the first year to consider the analysis and interpretation of more challenging samples such as profiling of degraded and mixed samples, as well as modern advances in forensic analysis.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is to extend your learning of trace, marks and impressions evidence. You will consider the various types of evidence, from glass and soils to drugs and metals, and consider their process of manufacture through to their analysis and interpretation in court.

    Compulsory

  • This module continues from the work on crime scene protocols you undertook in your first year. In this module you will be asked to consider more complex crime scene scenarios and the scene management associated with these. You will consider various aspects such as weather, day/night scenes and other complex scenarios.

    Compulsory

  • This is an assessment only module that integrates learning from three second-year modules: Complex Crime Scenes, Forensic Genetics, and Trace Marks and Impressions. In this assessment, you will gather evidence from a crime scene, analyse the evidence for biological and physical traces and collate the results into a cohesive report.

    Compulsory

  • This module focuses on the application of 3D methods in the criminal justice system, from the crime scene through to courtroom use. You will have practical opportunities to use various 3D scanning and recording techniques such as laser scanning, or photogrammetry4.

    Compulsory

  • This module analyses the interaction between the environment, human bodies, and forensic evidence known as forensic ecology and expands your awareness of wider areas of forensic expertise. The complex ecosystem of decay will be explored through forensic taphonomy to understand how bodies change in different environments, including on the surface, buried or in aquatic environments.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to build upon the introduction to drugs analysis provided in the first year. In this module you will consider these substances from both a legal standpoint, as well as testing regimes for these compounds and the metabolic process involved after use.

    Compulsory

There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.

If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or participating institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.

Modules

  • This module provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement2 undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.

    Optional

  • This module provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement2 undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.

    Optional

The third year will build on your knowledge gained from previous years by exploring the role of forensic science on a global and international scale. Current and future techniques will be considered in relation to a variety of industries to allow you wider opportunities for career development. You will further develop research skills by undertaking a research project and will also produce a prosecution file culminating in a mock trial, thus providing a capstone experience to the course in a 'crime scene to court' module.

Modules

  • In this module, you will prepare for your final year research project. The module will support you through the process of defining your research question, planning your experiments and considering the most appropriate data analysis methods.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is for you to conduct a piece of investigative research, which may be laboratory or non-laboratory-based, in a specialised area of forensic science or biological and forensic sciences. This module follows from Research Design for Biological and Forensic Sciences and you will implement your research proposals in this module.

    Compulsory

  • The module aims to explore current and international issues as well as advanced developments in forensic research, analysis, ethics and legislation. You will critically appraise real life cold cases, in light of new developments and techniques in forensic science, to examine the previous limitations and what new investigative leads could be generated. This module will also enable you to appreciate the complexity of cases crossing international borders, in terms of differences in accreditation, standards of evidence and forensic procedures.

    Compulsory

  • This module seeks to provide an overview of research and novel techniques used for identification employed within the biological field. Taught material will cover massive parallel sequencing techniques including single-cell sequencing, nanopore sequencing and CRISPR-Cas9, targeted fragmentation and selective sequencing for identification purposes. You will also cover advanced microbiological techniques, including post-mortem studies, to identify evidence such as unexpected infections causing sudden death, determination of agents used in bioterrorism and epidemiology in community-based infections.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to broaden your understanding of analytical techniques more commonly associated with analysis outside of forensic science – including the environmental, food and pharmaceutical industries. This module will include coverage of sample preparation and analysis techniques, as well as interpretation of spectra and chromatograms.

    Compulsory

  • This module is the culmination of the forensic science teaching on this course and aims to bring together your learning in a fully integrated ‘crime scene to courtroom’ structure. 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, sex offences and drugs offences. This culminates in an assessment structure where you will be required to defend your interpretation of a professional evidential reporting statement (case report) in a mock courtroom in a traditional adversarial style.

    Compulsory

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.

We are proud to teach the latest techniques and explore real world challenges with a global outlook.

Dr Rachael Carew, 2022
Two students working in a simulated crime scene.

How you'll learn

In addition, you will have laboratory sessions in Coventry University’s state-of-the-art SuperLab+, where over 200 students can study at once, alongside our experienced teaching team4. Here you will learn to carry out a range of experimental techniques, so that you could start a graduate job having already confidently used the very same equipment used in many commercial, police and research laboratories.

Forensic laboratory sessions take place in the immersive crime scene simulation houses, outdoor search and decomposition facilities, as well as a realistic mock courtroom4, where you will gain first-hand experience in collecting, preserving, analysing and presenting forensic evidence. You will also be supported by a variety of online resources and the virtual learning environment.


Teaching contact hours

As a full-time undergraduate student, you will study modules totalling 120 credits each academic year. A typical 20 credit module requires a total of 200 hours study. This is made up of teaching contact hours, guided and independent study.

Teaching hours:

Teaching hours vary each semester, year of study and due to module selection. During your first year you can expect 15-18 teaching hours each week. You will also have the option to attend optional sessions including time with a progress coach or to meet with staff for advice and feedback. As you progress through your studies, teaching hours may reduce.

Guided and Independent study:

Throughout your studies, you will be expected to spend time in guided and independent study to make up the required study hours per module. You'll be digging deeper into topics, review what you've learnt and complete assignments. This can be completed around your personal commitments. As you progress through your studies, you'll spend more time in independent study.

Online learning:

As an innovative university, we use different teaching methods including online tools and emerging technologies. So, some of your teaching hours and assessments may be delivered online.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods may include:

  • tests
  • essays
  • group work
  • presentations
  • reports
  • projects
  • coursework
  • individual assignments
  • laboratory competency tests
  • portfolios.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


International experience opportunities

Using case studies, the course aims to be as authentic as possible whilst considering both current and future developments within forensic science in the UK and in a global context. The global outlook and extensive (and universally recognised) science-based content provides students with core knowledge that can be applied to a variety of forensic fields and should give students the confidence and skills to work both in the UK and abroad.

The course provides many opportunities to enhance your study experience. There are options to take part in field trips, improve transferable skills and competencies and to explore careers. The course also includes the opportunity for a year of study abroad, taken between years two and three. You may also be able to interact with students at overseas institutions through Collaborative Online International Learning projects or via international co-creation events hosted at European universities2. Recent examples have included collaboration at Universities in Spain and Czech Republic.

This course will provide students with a journey of discovery into the different areas of forensic science, from investigating simulated crime scenes to analysing evidence and then presenting it in court. Students will benefit from a highly practical course that will encourage team working and problem solving, challenging students to demonstrate the scientific knowledge through a range of methods from novel lab-based research to courtroom assessments.

Dr Alan Greenwood, 2022
Man in paper suit with glasses dusts a glass for prints using a big brush

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2025/26 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
UCAS points 112
A level BBC to include Biology and/or Chemistry. Excludes General Studies
BTEC DMM in the BTEC Level 3 Extended National Diploma in a Biological or Chemical Science subject. Excludes Health and Social Care
IB Diploma 30 points to include 5 points in Biology or Chemistry at Higher level
GCSE 5 GCSEs at grade 4 / C or above (or equivalent) to include English, Mathematics and two sciences
Access to HE Diploma To include 30 level 3 credits above Merit of which 15 must be Distinction in Biology or Chemistry units. Plus GCSE English and Mathematics at grade 4 / C or above

Other qualifications and experience

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds, each with a unique story. We recognise a breadth of qualifications. If your qualifications differ from the above, contact our Admissions Team who will be happy to discuss your qualifications and routes into your chosen course.

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Contextual offers and Fair Access Scheme

If you meet the criteria for our Fair Access Scheme, you could automatically receive a contextual offer that may be up to 24 UCAS points lower than our standard entry requirements. View the criteria for our Fair Access Scheme.

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.

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.

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Not got the required grades? We offer this degree with an integrated foundation year.


Fees and funding

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man 2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £9,250 per year
Not available
EU 2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £18,300 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International 2025/26 fees TBC
2024/25 fees - £18,300 per year
Not available

If you choose to study this course with a professional placement2 or study abroad year, you will need to pay a tuition fee3 of £1,250 to cover your academic support throughout your placement year.

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.

The university will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The university will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permits an increase in tuition fees, the university 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.

For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the university reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

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.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

Find out what's included in your tuition costs.

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Facilities

This course is taught predominantly in the Alison Gingell building at the Coventry University main campus where you will benefit from using its state-of-the-art SuperLab+4. Here you'll learn to carry out a range of experimental techniques using the same equipment found in many hospital, commercial, police and research laboratories.

Forensic sessions take place in the immersive crime scene simulation houses, outdoor search and decomposition facilities, as well as a realistic mock courtroom, where students gain first-hand experience analysing and presenting forensic evidence4.

Laboratory with people wearing white coats taking samples

SuperLab

Our state-of-the-art SuperLab+ can hold up to 200 students at one time and has facilities for cell culture and equipment for microscopy and growing microorganisms aerobically and anaerobically, DNA, RNA and protein extraction and analysis, and forensic testing.

 
Blonde lady wearing a lab white suite looking into a dish

Analytical Chemistry Suite

In the analytical chemistry suite you will be able to apply your practical and theoretical knowledge to examine and analyse crime scene evidence. We use new generation chromatography and spectrometric techniques to analyse a range of materials ranging from pharmaceutical agents to cosmetics, soils, drinks and toxins.

criminology-and-forensic-investigation

Crime Scene Houses

In our onsite crime scene houses you will be able to evaluate simulated crime scenes and work as a team to collect and appraise evidence ready for further laboratory analysis.
 
 

 


Careers and opportunities

This course focuses on developing graduates with the professional attributes to seek employment in forensic science roles such as a DNA analyst, toxicologist, ballistics, fire investigator and particulate analyst. Many of the skills needed in forensic science such as sterile technique, the importance of good record-keeping, teamwork, digital fluency, ethical integrity, professionalism and problem-solving are valued by employers.

This coupled with the multi-disciplinary science focus of the course means that on successful completion of this course, graduates will also have the key skills needed to seek employment opportunities in areas outside forensic science in laboratory or non-laboratory-based roles. You are encouraged from the start of your course to be career-aware and employment-ready and will be supported to develop the skills needed for placement and job applications. The course team has strong links with the Talent Team, to promote appropriate skills development, careers awareness and work experience opportunities2.

You can expect to be equipped to pursue a range of careers. The extensive science content supports employment in research and industry, and provides you with core knowledge that can be applied to a variety of forensic fields, from police scientific support roles such as Crime Scene Investigators or Fingerprint Examiners, to laboratory Forensic Scientists, as well as wider-scientific fields post-graduation, for example, in the environmental, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and food analysis industries. The course also prepares graduates for a range of careers, such as teaching, sales, financial services, data analysis, scientific writing and postgraduate study.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.

    1Accreditations

    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.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University 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.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    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 current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website for information purposes however the 2025/2026 contract will apply for the 2025/2026 intake. 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.


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