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The BSc Criminal Justice and Forensic Science degree helps you kick-start your career in the criminal justice system by developing expertise in criminal justice and the forensic examination of evidence.

This unique degree offers an opportunity to study criminal justice theory, research and policy alongside the forensic science vital to modern investigations. It draws on learning and expertise from two existing and successful degrees (BA Criminal Justice and BSc Forensic Science) and it covers the study of:

  • the concepts, theories, structures, organisations, processes and practices involved with the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime, the workings of the criminal law and criminal court system and the treatment of offenders
  • crime scene examination, drugs, alcohol and evidence interpretation

This degree will prepare you for a career in the criminal justice system in policing, criminology or as a forensic examiner capable of analysing and interpreting evidence from crime scenes. Throughout your studies, you will gradually develop your scientific knowledge and research and inquiry skills applicable to the interface between criminal justice and science.


Our Programme Leaders have recorded Zoom sessions to help you discover all there is to know about our courses. From professional accreditation to programme modules and career opportunities, our Programme Leaders will help answer all your questions. You can find them on our YouTube Channel or by clicking the link below. 

Criminal Justice & Forensic Science Programme Leader

Practical Focus

The course is practical in nature and your learning is re-inforced through site visits, workshops, laboratories, role-play and presentations. Guest lectures from practitioners, case-based projects and an optional 12-month work placement at the end of Year 3 are all designed to increase your employability when you graduate.

Job Prospects

As a BSc (Hons) Criminal Justice and Forensic Science graduate, you’ll have expertise in both criminal justice and science giving you a wide range of career possibilities. Graduates of this programme will be well prepared for careers in areas such as: Crime scene examination / Police and prison services / Courts and restorative justice / Drug and alcohol services / Customs and excise

Further Study

Postgraduate study is an important option for some careers including forensic science, education, alcohol and drug studies or criminology. Our graduates can go on to further academic study in areas such as Forensic Science, Education, Criminology, Alcohol and Drugs and Bioscience at UWS and at other universities.


of all UWS students in work and/or study 6 months after graduating - HESA performance indicator 2016/17

Biotechnology | Scientists working in lab

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need? 

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience.

If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Undergraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Year 1

Scottish Highers: BBBC (102 UCAS Tariff points) including National 5 Chemistry or Biology at minimum grade C

A levels: CCD (88 UCAS Tariff points) including Chemistry

Irish leaving Certificate: H3H3H3H4 including Chemistry

International Baccalaureate: Diploma: 27 points including HL Chemistry or Biology

Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP): Access to STEM (BBB). Other Access awards may be considered.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for most courses

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.0
  • no sub-test less than 5.5

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests
  • PTE Pearson Academic English: An overall score of 54 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5). An overall score 61 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.5 with no element below 6.0)


IELTS Score Exceptions (Research degrees, Nursing & Midwifery degrees with NMC registration, Certificate of Higher Education, etc.)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS or Occupational English Test (OET)*.

For such courses, the IELTS score is as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • score of at least 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking and no less than 6.5 in writing

* Note that the Occupational English Test (OET) will now be accepted in addition to IELTS as proof of a Nurse's English Language Competence (Nursing & Midwifery Council, 2019). 

For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 5.0
  • no sub-test less than 4.5



TOEFL IBT*: 78; no sub-test less than:

  • Reading: 17;
  • Listening: 17;
  • Speaking: 17;
  • Writing: 17

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.


West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE)

West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE) including acceptance of WAEC Scratchcard*

  • C6 or above in English

*UWS will accept a WAEC scratchcard confirming that an applicant has achieved C6 or above as evidence of meeting English language requirement from Nigeria if the student graduated within the last 5 years. After 5 years applicants would be required to provide the WAEC Certificate.


Pre-sessional courses

Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:

    • 10 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.0 with no element below 4.5.
    • 5 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.5 with no element below 5.5.
    • English Language for University Study - entry criteria UKVI IELTS with score of 4.0 in all elements (10 month course), or 4.5 with no score below 4.0 (7 month course).

Find out more about our English lanaguage Courses.

Course details

This programme will provide you with a practical understanding of the techniques used in the forensic examination of evidence, including material from crime scenes, drugs and DNA evidence.

The chance to present evidence in moot court scenarios and group projects will help you develop the presentational, time management and IT skills sought after by employers.

As a graduate of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science from UWS, not only are you equipped with the specific knowledge and skills associated with the criminal justice system and the wider scientific community, but key transferable skills required by employers.

Science @ UWS

Science courses at UWS have been developed in collaboration with industrial, professional and educational partners. Underpinned by research that is internationally leading, our degrees enable students to make a real-world impact.

Our students graduate ready for a successful career or further study in their chosen scientific field.

Year 1

In year 1 you will study the differences between deviant and criminal behaviour, the foundations of criminal law, and the way in which the criminal justice system operates.

You will also cover core forensic science, data analysis and biomolecular science. Forensic topics introduced include drink driving, drugs, fingerprint development, explosions and crime scene investigation.

Laboratory work is an important part of your studies, practical exercises include microscopy, biochemical tests, forensic anthropology, fingerprint development and CSI.

Other activities will develop transferable skills, these include writing a report on a high-profile case, making a poster presentation, participating in a mock court and giving a presentation on a crime scene.

Learning and teaching will involve scheduled lectures, workshops, laboratory classes as well as independent study. Extensive use is made of the virtual learning environment Moodle, to deliver teaching materials and complete assessments.

Year 2

In Year 2 the theoretical underpinnings for understanding policing and contemporary perspectives on crime are studied.

Science study will build your knowledge of topics important to forensic science such as statistical evaluation of DNA evidence, drug analysis and pharmacology. Laboratory and crime scene skills are also developed.  Practical skills are key for careers in forensic science and they are further developed with a range of practical activities that reflect the diverse work of forensic scientists.

Year 3

In year 3 crime scene expertise is developed with topics such as contamination prevention, trace evidence recovery and presumptive tests for blood and drugs. Laboratory classes will focus on trace evidence identification and drug analysis.

Criminal justice studies include policing communities and prisons and penology.

Normal teaching schedules are supplemented by a variety of activities such as group work, guest speakers from industry and employability activities.

Following-on from your Year 3 studies, there is the option to undertake a 12-month, paid, work experience placement.


Optional 12-month Work Placement

After Year 3 you will also have the option to undertake a 12-month paid work experience as part of the Honours sandwich programme.

This is could be spent working in a laboratory or in a criminal justice related setting.

Year 4

In year 4 specialist modules will deepen your understanding how physical and biological evidence is recovered and examined. You will carry out a major crime scene investigation activity and present the results in a mock court. The effect of crime on society and victims is studied and there are options to study topics such as global security.

A major part of your studies will be a supervised research project relating to forensic science and/or criminal justice in a topic of your choice. To assist our students in their research they have access to excellent computing facilities with the latest software for crime scene investigation, statistical analysis of evidence and research literature searching.

Teaching and Assessment

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops. 

You will also have the opportunity to take part in group work and independent learning to develop your transferable skills such as research, presentation, communication and working as part of a team. 

Extensive use is made of the Moodle virtual learning environment as well as the latest software packages.

This degree is assessed using a variety of assessment methods including: 

  • Written examinations 
  • Coursework 
  • Practical assessment

Learn a language (Optional)

This course also gives you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover multiple language.

Course structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

Criminal Justice and Forensic Science course structure

Undergraduate Tuition Fees

Undergraduate fees for this course 2020/21

Scottish & EU

£1,820 cost per year of study (paid by the Scottish Government via SAAS*)

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 Cost per year of study for four years but not more than £27,750

International (Non-EU)

£13,000 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

2021/22 Undergraduate Tuition Fees - Full-time


£1,820 Cost per year of study (usually paid by the Scottish Government via SAAS)

Rest of UK (English, Northern Irish, Welsh)

£9,250 Cost per year of study (for four years but you will not pay more than £27,750)

Republic of Ireland

£9,250 Cost per year of study (for four years but you will not pay more than £27,750)

International (including EU)

£16,400 Cost per year of study

Check Your Tuition Fee Status

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.
In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.
Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses

The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.
You can also find additional information in our Undergraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees* & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as an undergraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at undergraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at undergraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at undergraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.

How to apply

Full-time (domestic & EU/EEA)

All UK and EU applicants for undergraduate study, not applying through an agent or partner, should apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)

The on-time application deadline for 2021/22 entry is 29 January 2021, 18:00 (UK time). For some courses it may still be possible to apply beyond this period, subject to suitable vacancies remaining. The final deadline for late applications via UCAS is 30 June 2021, 18:00 (UK time). Beyond this deadline, you may be able to apply via ‘UCAS Clearing’ if the course you are interested in has remaining places.

Please refer to our Undergraduate Application Guide for domestic & EU/EEA to find more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS.

Apply on UCAS

Full-time (non-EU/non-EEA), Part-time & Online (all students), Erasmus & International Exchange

Students from non-EU/non-EEA countries can apply directly to UWS via our dedicated online application system. The latest we can process your application is 6 weeks before the course start date to allow for visa processing times. For more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS please refer to our International Undergraduate Application Guide.

For part-time & online study, you should apply directly to the University through our online application system, not through UCAS. Please select the part-time mode of study when submitting your application. Before you begin your application, it is important to read the part-time application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.

To come to UWS as a visiting student on a study abroad or exchange programme, you must apply entirely through our online system.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Get in touch

Do you have a question about applying for this course? Get in touch. We are here to help!

UWS Undergraduate students studying at Ayr Campus

Life at UWS

Going to university is about much more than getting a qualification, it’s also the chance to enjoy an exciting social life, gain some independence and make the most of the new opportunities available.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.