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BSc (Hons) Forensic Science

BSc (Hons) 3 years School of Chemistry Lincoln Campus [L] Validated 280 points to include 80 points in Biology or Chemistry. F410

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Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences Logo

This course is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Science.

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Excellent Teaching

90% of students agreed that Forensic Science staff are good at explaining things, and the course is intellectually stimulating, according to the latest NSS survey.

Industry Standard Facilities

Students have access to a 'scene of crime' house, that is also used by Lincolnshire and Humberside police forces, for training in crime scene examination and management.


Forensic scientists apply scientific expertise to provide impartial evidence in criminal investigations. They work not only in laboratories, but at crime scenes and in courtrooms. Their highly detailed work encompasses elements of chemistry and biology applied in areas such as toxicology, DNA analysis and trace evidence.

Forensic Science at Lincoln helps you develop skills including DNA profiling, illegal substance analysis and the identification of human remains. It provides a foundation in laboratory work and
the analysis and interpretation of data.

This degree addresses the growing demand for expertise in forensic science tasks, including crime scene investigation, physical evidence collection, sample analysis and defence of testimony. This academically challenging course combines a broad spectrum of subjects, including advanced chemical and biological analysis, forensic toxicology and crime scene management.


This course has full accreditation from the Forensic Science Society, meaning students are eligible for membership.

Students who undertake a chemistry-based final year research project are also eligible for Associate Membership of the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry upon graduation.

Is This Course Right For Me?

This course if for those who have an interest in experimental science, have the curiosity to acquire scientific knowledge and wish to apply it to the investigation and analysis of evidence.

How You Study

Teaching methods include conventional lectures (which cover the core subject material) practical classes and field visits (which cover the technical and vocational skills of forensic science). These are supported by tutorials and seminars. Students are required to attend all tutorials, seminars and practicals.

How You Are Assessed

Most modules on the course are assessed using a mixture of examinations and coursework.

Coursework forms a significant proportion of the total assessment and includes practical reports, project work, oral presentations and written submissions.

Examinations are used on a range of modules at all three levels of the course.

What We Look For In Your Application

We look for an appropriate background in science subjects together with evidence of motivation and flexibility.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a minimum of 280 UCAS tariff points, to include two A Levels and 80 points in Biology or Chemistry. In addition to the minimum two A Levels, other qualifications such as AS Levels, the Extended Project and the ASDAN CoPE for example, will be counted towards the 280 point requirement.

In addition, applicants must also have at least three GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent), including English Language.

We also accept a wide range of other qualifications including the BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma, the European and International Baccalaureate Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas. You can find tariff values on the UCAS website

The University is a member of the Authorised Validating Agency for Science Access Courses in the region. Completion of a valid Access Course will guarantee a place on the Forensic Science course. Special consideration will be given to mature students who do not have standard entry qualifications and who will be interviewed.

International Students will require English Language at IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each element, or equivalent.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email

Level 1

Cell Biology

This module aims to provide an introduction to the structure, composition and function of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. From this basis the module considers cell specialisation and division and an introduction to microscopy, histological and microbiological techniques which may be used to safely examine and identify cells and tissues.

Crime Scene Investigation

This module is concerned with the skills required to protect, record, process and interpret a crime scene. Emphasis is placed on the role of crime scene investigation in the ‘forensic process’.


This module provides you with an introduction to genetics by discussing the development of genetics as a field of science, from Mendelian genetics through to genetics at the molecular level. This module will provide the knowledge necessary to understand the genetic polymorphisms responsible for drug reactions across different populations.

Human Anatomy & Physiology, with Clinical Correlations 1

This module provides an overview of the anatomical structure and physiology of the brain, central and peripheral nervous systems in the human body. It is intended to explore the role of the nervous system in the physiology of stress and its role in homeostasis. The module will also enable students to identify and understand the function of human bones, muscles and joints and provides an overview of the anatomical structure and physiology of the heart, lung, cardiovascular and respiratory systems in the human body

Integrative Biochemistry

This module is designed to provide a foundation to develop an understanding and appreciation of biochemistry in the context life processes. This module will focus on basic biochemical principles and introduce the fundamental building blocks of life with the inclusion of concepts relating to the structure and functional properties of biological molecules. The importance of cellular and molecular pathways will be covered with a view of highlighting key metabolic pathways required to sustain cellular functions. Basic concepts of biochemical signalling pathways will also be introduced.

Introduction to Analytical Chemistry

The basic principles of analytical chemistry and is directed towards both theoretical and conceptual aspects. Furthermore, students are encouraged to develop the practical skills necessary for all the future chemistry-based practical applications.

Principles of Forensic Science

This module introduces a number of these skills so that students become familiar with concepts such as chain of custody, contemporaneous note taking, standard operating procedures and methodical working in the laboratory, and report writing. This is put into the context of the requirements of the English legal system and an understanding that good forensic science evidence is not only about employing sound scientific methodology but is also dependent on the procedures employed and the reporting of results: the forensic science principles.

Research Methods for Life Scientists 1

This module aims to introduce the skills and knowledge necessary to assimilate and judge scientific knowledge. You will be introduced to the tools required to search and evaluate the scientific literature relevant to their studies, and some of the key philosophical constructs around which scientific knowledge is based. You will be taught about hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, basic mathematical and statistical concepts and data presentation, and be shown how these methods are put into practice through a series of research seminars.

Level 2

Advanced Analytical Chemistry

This module covers the most advanced techniques in analytical chemistry and their use in Forensic Science. This module also provides with advanced knowledge required to support level 3 units such as Forensic Toxicology, Fire and Explosion Investigation, Bioanalytical Techniques, Biotechnology and drugs of abuse. Furthermore, students are encouraged to develop the practical skills and independent thinking necessary for all the future chemistry-based practical applications.

Advanced Crime Scene Investigation

Students will explore a wide range of complex evidence types and the latest techniques used to examine them. As part of the module students will undertake the examination of a complex crime scene where they will be required to collect, analyse and interpret a range of evidence types.

Analytical Techniques

This module provides an introduction to the theoretical principles, instrumentation, automation and application of the most important laboratory instrumental techniques applied in Forensic and Biomedical Science. The module provides the background in analytical methods necessary to support other modules in both degrees. It also provides students with the basic analytical skills necessary to pursue their Independent Study with confidence.

Forensic Archaeological Science

This unit introduces students to the basic concepts of forensic archaeological science and will aim to address the underlying principles of forensic archaeological recovery of human remains in a variety of contexts, including criminal, war crimes and mass disaster cases. It will cover practical aspects such as the search and recovery of human remains, and examine current practices in the forensic assessment of skeletal remains within surface deposition and buried environments. Theoretical considerations will be given to the processes of human decomposition and aspects of forensic taphonomy will also be examined.

Fundamentals of Pharmacology & Toxicology

This module is concerned with the study of the mechanisms by which drugs interact with biochemical, cellular and physiological systems.

The module aims to:

  • Give an introduction to pharmacology principles
  • Provide a detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of actions of selected drugs
  • Develop a critical appreciation of the importance and relevance of pharmacology in the treatment of selected diseases
  • Understand the basic principles of toxicology and drug overdose therapies.

Molecular Biology

Molecular biology is of critical importance when understanding biological systems. This module is designed to provide students with an insight into the techniques used and applied by molecular biologists in a number of specific contexts.

Research Methods for Life Scientists 2

The module introduces the principles of experimental design and various methods of collection of quantitative and qualitative data. It describes statistical significance tests for comparing data and enables students to practise where and how to use each statistical test. The module will allow students to critically assess published work with regard to design of experiment and analysis of data. It will provide students with skills required to design and analyse a research project generally, and specifically that undertaken in year three of their course.

Trace Evidence

This module is designed to develop an understanding of the importance of trace materials, such as hair, fibres, glass and latent fingerprints, as evidence, their detection, recovery, analysis and the interpretation of results gained from these. The issues of transfer and persistence of such materials is also highlighted and the need to consider this throughout the above processes. Students will be introduced to microscopy and analytical procedures and techniques relevant to the analysis of trace evidence.

Level 3

Conservation Biology (Option)

This module provides a critical insight into the application of the principles of conservation biology. It will give an overview of the nature, value and complex threats to biodiversity and will detail the biological problems faced by small populations of animals, in particular. The module will also deal with the practice of population conservation and management, including methods to assess population size, survival rates and how to use this information to assess the viability of populations.

Current Issues in Life Sciences (Option)

This module aims to give students the skills to interpret, scrutinise and critique scientific research, through the critical evaluation of published papers and reports, attendance at external research seminars and scientific discussions with world-leading academics and industry professionals. This will enable students to increase their depth of understanding of the latest research topics and methodologies from across the Life Sciences.

Drugs of Abuse (Option)

This module focuses on the area of drugs of abuse (controlled substances) and practical forensic applications. The module covers the legislation of controlled substances and precursor chemicals and the different types and classes of drugs. Students will learn about the laboratory analysis of drug samples for the purpose of identification, quantification and profiling and will undertake the role of a forensic drug chemist in an investigative laboratory practical. The synthesis of illicit drugs will be explored to gain an understanding of how this knowledge can be used in drug profiling.

Fire and Explosion Investigation

This module covers the techniques used to investigate origin and cause at fire and explosion scenes. Emphasis is placed on understanding the physics and chemistry of fire and explosion, scene investigation, sampling of scene debris and laboratory analysis.

Forensic Anthropology

Forensic anthropology is the application of the study of the human skeleton applied to a forensic context. The identification of human remains and the cause of death is the key to many medico legal investigations. This module will cover the methods used to establish a biological profile and how human remains can be identified. The human skeleton will be examined in depth for indications of pathological conditions, occupational stress markers and taphonomical conditions. Distinguishing antemortem, perimortem and postmortem trauma will be an important part of this module. Finally the application of forensic anthropology to a variety of criminal and humanitarian contexts will be presented.

Forensic Biology

This module applies the knowledge gained in previous modules to the forensic analysis of biological materials and molecules of biological origin in selected contexts. Advanced genetic techniques for identification are also considered. Students will have opportunity to discuss how the information gained from such analyses should be handled in an appropriate and ethical manner, in relation to its use in national databases and in courts of law by expert witnesses.

Forensic Toxicology

This module provides a context for the chemical, physiological and analytical content introduced at levels 1 and 2. The module explores poisons with an emphasis on drugs, relates dose to physiological effect and considers appropriate samples and laboratory techniques used in forensic toxicology. The unit also covers best practice in presenting evidence in documentary, visual and oral forms including mock-courts.

Global Security: Nuclear Forensics and Bioterrorism (Option)

This module considers the various aspects of both biological and nuclear terrorism, in the context of global security. The underpinning science and the forensic investigation of biological and nuclear materials for intelligence building is discussed.

Life Sciences Research Project

In this module students undertake an independent programme of research under supervision from a member of staff. It provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate original and critical thought, as well as to build practical and project-management skills. A wide range of subject expertise exists within the School, and students are expected to select a project that is relevant to their programme of study. Under the guidance of a supervisor, students will review the literature, identify a hypothesis or hypotheses and design a programme of research to test their hypotheses. They will be expected to manage the project, including obtaining relevant ethical approval and conducting a risk assessment. They will collect and analyse data, recording their activities in a lab notebook. Projects can be conducted in the laboratory or field, as appropriate for their field of study, use mathematical modelling or use pre-collected data to test hypotheses via meta-analysis. Students may work individually or in groups addressing similar questions, but must write up individually. The project will be written up in the format of a scientific paper following closely the style of a key journal relevant to their area of study, or as a thesis.

Overseas Field Course (Option)

An overseas field course gives students the opportunity to investigate biological phenomena in the field. They will be encouraged to view the ecosystem within the wider context of the anthropogenic impacts being imposed on it, and students will work in groups, guided by staff, to develop and test hypotheses allowing them to understand more about biological processes operating within the study area.

Special Features & Research Highlights

Links with Industry

The School has close working relationships with police forces around the country, offering students unique access to training and real-world case studies. We have links with private sector forensic science providers and consultants who contribute to the course and inform the curriculum.

Skillsmark Recognition

The Department has been awarded Skillsmark recognition status and is a recognised provider of education and training for the justice sector.


The course does not include a formally assessed placement year. However students are encouraged to gain as much work-place experience as possible during vacations or in an optional year out.

The University has close working relationships with a number of police forces, giving students unique access to training and case studies provided by Scenes of Crime Officers and fingerprint experts.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a development of the University of Lincoln's policy of research-informed teaching to research-engaged teaching. Research-engaged teaching involves more research and research-like activities at the core of the undergraduate curriculum. A significant amount of teaching at the University of Lincoln is already research-engaged.

Student as Producer will make research-engaged teaching an institutional priority, across all colleges and subject areas. In this way students become part of the academic project of the University and collaborators with academics in the production of knowledge and meaning. Research-engaged teaching is grounded in the intellectual history and tradition of the modern university.

Please visit the Student as Producer website for further information. []


Our £14 million Science and Innovation Park and our purpose-built Science Building provide state-of-the-art laboratories with industry-standard equipment for your learning and research.

A ‘scene of crime’ house provides opportunities to practise your investigative skills and is used for training exercises by Lincolnshire and Humberside police forces. Rooms can be configured to mimic a range of domestic incidents, including burglaries and drugs raids, which students analyse while being assessed by academics via CCTV.

Career Opportunities

There is significant demand for forensic science skills in law enforcement organisations, including police forces, customs and excise, environmental health and investigatory agencies in the private sector. Our graduates gain employment in laboratories such as those in the forensic, pharmaceutical and food sectors, due to their high-level practical and analytical skills.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offers qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University and once you graduate.

This service includes one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities. Having achieved new knowledge and skills, you will be fully supported to fulfil your career ambitions.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information. []

What's Included?

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus to provide the best learning environment for our students. You can study in style and comfort in our well-resourced library or complete group work and exchange ideas in innovative learning spaces across the campus. There is access to the latest equipment and cutting-edge laboratories for studies in the sciences and social sciences. There are modern studios and well-equipped workshops for practice in the arts, and industry-standard production facilities for a range of media. On some courses, students will need additional, specialist resources or equipment to enable them to pursue their courses. Where appropriate these will be provided by the relevant School.


2015 Entry UK/EUInternational
Full-time £9,000 per level £14,522 per level
Part-time £75 per credit point £121 per credit point
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

For further information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [] []

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages. Occasionally provision may be altered in order to meet changing circumstances or to keep courses up to date with trends and developments in subject areas. Specific programme queries should be directed to the teaching department. Fees for all our courses may increase each year in line with government regulations and are subject to change.

Always check our website for the latest information about entry tariffs, fees & funding before making your application to the University.