Course Information

BSc (Hons)

Forensic Science at Lincoln

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3 years (4 years if taken with the optional sandwich year) School of Chemistry Lincoln Campus [L] Validated BCC (or equivalent qualifications) F410


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.

The BSc (Hons) Forensic Science degree is designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge required by forensic scientists to work in laboratories, at crime scenes and in courtrooms, in order to apply scientific expertise in criminal investigations.

This degree aims to develop skills and knowledge in a range of 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 programme has full accreditation from the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, meaning students are eligible for membership.

Students undertaking 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 is 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.

In years one and two, students are introduced to the principles of forensic science and crime scene investigation alongside key aspects of biology and analytical sciences. The final year offers students the chance to develop their own specialisms, with areas of study including forensic toxicology, global security and bioterrorism.

Contact Hours and Independent Study

Contact hours may vary for each year of your degree. However, remember that you are engaging in a full-time degree; so, at the very least, you should expect to undertake a minimum of 37 hours of study each week during term time and you may undertake assignments outside of term time. The composition and delivery for the course breaks down differently for each module and may include lectures, seminars, workshops, independent study, practicals, work placements, research and one-to-one learning.

University-level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to spend two - three hours in independent study.

Please see the Unistats data, using the link at the bottom of this page, for specific information relating to this course in terms of course composition and delivery, contact hours and student satisfaction.

How You Are Assessed

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

Coursework includes practical reports, project work, oral presentations and written submissions.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date (unless stated differently above).

Methods of Assessment

The way you will be assessed on this course will vary for each module. It could include coursework, such as a dissertation or essay, written and practical exams, portfolio development, group work or presentations to name some examples.

For a breakdown of assessment methods used on this course and student satisfaction, please visit the Unistats website, using the link at the bottom of this page.

What We Look For In Your Application

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


Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may be supported in their learning by other students.

For a comprehensive list of teaching staff, please see our School of Chemistry Staff Pages.

Entry Requirements 2017-18

GCE Advanced Levels: BCC, including grade C from A Level Biology or Chemistry.

International Baccalaureate: 28 points overall, with Higher Level Grade 4 in Biology or Chemistry.

BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science/Forensic Science accepted, depending on modules studied: Distinction, Merit, Merit

Access to Higher Education Diploma in a Science subject accepted: A minimum of 45 level 3 credits at merit or above will be required.

We will also consider extensive, relevant work experience; please email with full details for further advice.

In addition, applicants must have at least 3 GCSEs at grade C or above in English and Maths. Level 2 equivalent qualifications such as BTEC First Certificates and Level 2 Functional Skills will be considered.

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 aims to provide students 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.

Human Anatomy & Physiology, with Clinical Correlations 1

This module aims to provide 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 also aims to 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

This module explores the basic principles of analytical chemistry and is directed towards both theoretical and conceptual aspects. Students are encouraged to develop the practical skills necessary for all the future chemistry-based practical applications.

Principles of Forensic Science

This module aims to introduce a number of 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.

Research Methods for Life Scientists 1

This module aims to introduce the skills and knowledge necessary to assimilate and judge scientific knowledge. Students will have the opportunity to be introduced to the tools required to search and evaluate the scientific literature relevant to study, and some of the key philosophical constructs around which scientific knowledge is based.

Students can be taught about hypothesis testing, experimental design, data collection, basic mathematical and statistical concepts and data presentation, and how these methods are put into practice.

Level 2

Advanced Analytical Chemistry

This module covers the most advanced techniques in analytical chemistry and their use in Forensic Science. This module also aims to provide advanced knowledge required to support level three units such as Forensic Toxicology, Fire and Explosion Investigation, Bioanalytical Techniques, Biotechnology and drugs of abuse. 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 can explore a wide range of complex evidence types and the latest techniques used to examine them. As part of the module students may undertake the examination of a complex crime scene where they will be expected to collect, analyse and interpret a range of evidence types.

Analytical Techniques

This module aims to provide an introduction to the theoretical principles, instrumentation, automation and application of the most important laboratory instrumental techniques applied in Forensic and Biomedical Science.

This module provides the background in analytical methods necessary to support other modules in both degrees. It also aims to provide 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

This module aims to introduce the principles of experimental design and various methods of collection of quantitative and qualitative data. It describes statistical significance tests for comparing data and aims to enable students to practise where and how to use each statistical test.

The module will give students the opportunity to critically assess published work with regard to design of experiment and analysis of data. It will aim to 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 have the opportunity to be introduced to microscopy and analytical procedures and techniques relevant to the analysis of trace evidence.

Level 3

Conservation Biology (Option)

This module is designed to provide a critical insight into the application of the principles of conservation biology.

It provides 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 this information might be used to assess the viability of populations.

Current Issues in Life Sciences (Option)

This module gives students the opportunity to learn 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 module aims to 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 have the opportunity to 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 the 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 aims to provide a context for the chemical, physiological and analytical content introduced at levels one and two. 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 these. 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 notebook. We currently offer projects in the laboratory or field, or projects that involve mathematical modelling, systematic reviews or meta-analysis of pre-collected data. 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.

The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Special Features

The philosophy of the School of Chemistry is to combine fundamental research with a strong focus on industry relevance, working with companies to address real needs. From your first week, our programmes provide a hands-on approach, which we call ‘Student as Producer’. This initiative, at the centre of our teaching and learning, provides students with the chance to develop the professional skills required for their future career. The theoretical basis of chemistry is twinned with practical laboratory experience, whilst we also develop key industry skills including communications, problem solving and project management.

Our academic community provides a supportive and nurturing teaching environment. There is close interdepartmental collaboration with scientists in the other Schools within the College of Science, including Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Engineering. As a student here, you will have the opportunity to engage in real research and professional problem solving. Our research informs our teaching right from the start of your programme to enhance your learning experience.

Links with Industry

The School has close working relationships with police forces around the country. We have links with private sector forensic science providers and consultants who contribute to the course and inform the curriculum.

Included in your fees

Specialist materials that are required for laboratory practicals are paid for by the school, these include: laboratory coat, safety glasses and laboratory notebook.


Placement Year

When you are on an optional placement in the UK or overseas or studying abroad, you will be required to cover your own transport and accommodation and meals costs. Placements can range from a few weeks to a full year if students choose to undertake an optional sandwich year in industry.

Students are encouraged to obtain placements in industry independently. Tutors may provide support and advice to students who require it during this process.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a model of teaching and learning that encourages academics and undergraduate students to collaborate on research activities. It is a programme committed to learning through doing.

The Student as Producer initiative was commended by the QAA in our 2012 review and is one of the teaching and learning features that makes the Lincoln experience unique.


Our £14 million Science and Innovation Park and our purpose-built Science Building provide specialist 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.

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our undergraduates. Whatever your area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which you may need in your future career.

View our campus pages [] to learn more about our teaching and learning facilities.

Career Opportunities

Graduates may go on to roles in law enforcement organisations, including police forces, customs and excise, environmental health, private sector investigatory agencies, in laboratories in the forensic, pharmaceutical and food sectors, due to their high-level practical and analytical skills.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.

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. []

Additional Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on your course. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and your meals may be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional you will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay your own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost. Where there may be exceptions to this general rule, information will be displayed in a section titled Other Costs below.

Related Courses

Chemistry plays a key role in tackling global challenges such as energy production, food, and health and wellbeing. The programme aims to develop the analytical and practical skills required to prepare students for a wide range of science-related careers.
Chemistry plays a vital role in tackling global challenges such as energy production and health and wellbeing. The analytical and practical skills that can be developed on this course will aim to prepare students for a wide range of science-related careers.
Our BA (Hons) Criminology degree has been designed to enable students to develop an understanding of the complex nature of crime, punishment and justice. Alternative solutions to crime prevention are examined and there is the opportunity to investigate the impact of crime on society.
Forensic chemistry is the application of scientific knowledge and investigation to law enforcement. From identifying substances to analysing crime scenes, the skills of a forensic chemist often play a vital role in criminal investigations.
A comprehensive study of chemistry is integrated with forensic specialisms, including DNA analysis, fire debris analysis or forensic toxicology, so students can develop an in-depth understanding of
forensic chemistry and fundamental science.
The BSc (Hons) Psychology with Forensic Psychology degree at Lincoln aims to provide students with a level of specialised knowledge in Forensic Psychology, as well as an understanding of key concepts and practices in Psychology in general.

Tuition Fees

Full-time £9,250 per level £14,500 per level
Part-time £77.09 per credit point  
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

The University undergraduate tuition fee may increase year on year in line with government policy. This will enable us to continue to provide the best possible educational facilities and student experience.

In 2017/18, subject to final confirmation from government, there will be an inflationary adjustment to fees to £9,250 for new and returning UK/EU students. In 2018/19 there may be an increase in fees in line with inflation.

We will update this information when fees for 2017/18 are finalised.

Please note that not all courses are available as a part-time option.

For more 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, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions. []