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The UWS Forensic Science degree course will prepare you for a career in a vital role in the UK and international criminal justice system through recent advances in analytical sciences and genetics.  

This degree will help to prepare you for a career as a Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO), a civilian forensic support role which assists the police / law enforcement to investigate serious crimes and obtain vital fingerprint or DNA evidence which is used to secure conviction at trial.   

Our well-equipped laboratories enable hands-on experience in applied techniques including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and gel electrophoresis. Our crime scene laboratory enables you to investigate simulated crime scene scenarios in a realistic manner. Other teaching methods include site visits, workshops, role-play and presentations. 

This is one of our most popular courses, which received a 100% satisfaction rating from students who have graduated from this course. 



More Information

Placement Opportunities 

This degree also offers paid placement opportunities which will equip you with the real-life knowledge and skills in biological and chemical sciences that will help you to be successful in your career.  

In year 3 you will also have the option to undertake a year’s paid work experience between years 3 and 4 as part of the Honours sandwich programme.

Professional Approval and Accreditation 

Upon completion you will automatically fulfil the academic requirements for admission as an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC).


of students were satisfied with the quality of this course


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of students were in work or further study six months after completing this course.

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.

Accelerated Entry 

Entry into year 2 and 3 is possible.

Year 1

  • Scottish Highers: BBBC including Chemistry or 102 UCAS Tariff points 
  • A levels: CCD including Chemistry or 88 UCAS Tariff points 
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: H3 H3 H3 H4 including Chemistry
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 27 points including Chemistry
  • Scottish Wider Access Programme: Access to Science BBB including Chemistry or Access to Medicine BBB

Year 2

  • Scottish Advanced Highers: BBC including Chemistry and Biology or Human Biology or 136 UCAS Tariff points
  • A levels: BBC including Chemistry and Biology or Human Biology or 112 UCAS Tariff points 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 30 points including Chemistry and Biology or Human Biology at Higher Level plus 3 subjects at Higher Level
  • SQA HNC / BTEC Level 4 HNC: Applied Science or science subject

Year 3

  • Applications to Year 3 considered on an individual basis

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


IELTS Score Exceptions (DBA, Certificate of Higher Education, PhD, 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 score as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0

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


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).

Course details

Forensic Science is the gathering and analysis of evidence that is impartial, expert and based on a solid scientific basis. Forensic evidence is regularly presented by the prosecution and defence lawyers during criminal trials in courts of law. Many convictions in serious criminal cases are based on forensic evidence including fingerprints, the presence of fibres and DNA evidence 

Advances in technology and science are assisting the development of new techniques such as DNA fingerprinting and helping to solve criminal cases.  

The BSc (Hons) Forensic Science will equip you with the practical and transferable skills for a rewarding career as a forensic scientist in Scotland or abroad.  

Year 1

In year 1 you will be introduced to concepts of forensic science including fingerprint development and reviews of relevant high-profile cases.  

Learning and teaching: 

  • Scheduled learning: 25% 
  • Independent study: 75% 



  • Written exams: 16% 
  • Practical: 12% 
  • Coursework: 72%

Year 2

In year 2 you will complete modules on classical and molecular genetics and analytical science. You will also complete modules in crime scene investigation and forensic probability. 

Learning and teaching: 

  • Scheduled learning: 28% 
  • Independent study: 72% 



  • Written exams: 43 
  • Practical: 14% 
  • Coursework: 43%

Year 3

In year 3 you will begin to specialise in the treatment and analysis of evidence through modules which include extensive hands-on experience of instrumental techniques used routinely in forensic science investigations. This includes the study of arson (fires and explosions), fibre analysis, DNA profiling, chemical and biochemical analysis, toxicology and drugs.  

In year 3 you will also have the option to undertake a year’s paid work experience between years 3 and 4 as part of the Honours sandwich programme. 

Learning and teaching: 

  • Scheduled learning: 27% 
  • Independent study: 73% 



  • Written exams: 48% 
  • Practical: 4% 
  • Coursework: 48%

Year 4

In year 4 specialist modules will deepen your understanding of analytical sciences, toxicology, criminalistics and physical evidence.  

You will complete modules in forensic examination including forensic biology, toxicology and forensic evidence and advanced analytical chemistry.  

You will also complete a supervised research dissertation in a subject area of your choice. 

Learning and teaching: 

  • Scheduled learning: 22% 
  • Independent study: 78% 



  • Written exams: 54% 
  • Practical: 8% 
  • Coursework: 38%

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. 

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

  • Written examinations 
  • Coursework 
  • Practical assessmen

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 ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level. View the language modules on offer.

Course Structure

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

Course Structure (17/18)

Career prospects


The BSc (Hons) Forensic Science offers an excellent foundation for a rewarding career in a support services function with the following law enforcement and national security agencies: 

  • Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO) with Police Scotland / UK police forces 
  • HM Customs and Excise 
  • UK Border Force / Passport Control 


The transferable skills gained also make graduates attractive to many employers in the biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical industries: 

  • environmental protection 
  • accident investigation 
  • drug research 
  • chemical industry and  
  • biomedical sciences 

Further Study

Some graduates choose to continue their studies in forensic science on taught MSc programmes and in postgraduate research.

Undergraduate Tuition Fees 2017/2018

Scottish campuses non-lab-based 2017/18

Scottish & EU

£1,820 per year of study

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£9,250 per year of study

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£9,250 per year of study

International (Non-EU)

£12,300 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

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.


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

UCAS codes for UWS

  • Institution name: UWS
  • Institution code: U40


If you are applying from a non-EU/EEA country for entry to one of our Bachelor’s degree courses in September, and have not applied already via UCAS, or have not applied to another UK university, then you may apply via our dedicated online application system.

For more information on when and how to apply to study at UWS please refer to our Undergraduate Application Guide.

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


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Course Leader

Dr Ciaran Ewins



Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

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.