Next start date: September 2015
Degree type: BSc (Hons)
UCAS Code: F410 BSc/FoS
Duration: 4 years (full-time)
Why choose this course?
Forensic Science is the application of scientific knowledge and techniques in support of the legal process. This exciting course includes the following three main study areas: forensic science, chemistry and biology with the addition of supporting topics such as law and statistics. The Forensic Sciences degree covers a full range of topics including; crime scene investigation, body fluid analysis, DNA profiling, trace evidence analysis (including fibres, glass and paint), fingerprinting and substances of abuse to name but a few.
What you study
In year 1 the basics of forensics and the science behind it (biology & chemistry) are studied, alongside laboratory techniques and skills. Year 2 builds upon the basics of the science behind forensics alongside crime scene work with the addition of law and statistics relevant to forensic science. During year 3 you are introduced to the specialties of forensic science case work and research e.g. trace evidence and body fluid analysis. The Honours year (year 4) covers detailed forensic science specialties (DNA and substances of abuse) alongside a case exercise and forensic science project.
“Whilst working in Tayside I was able to apply the knowledge I had gained from my studies to many different types of crime scenes. I attended many house break-ins and vandalism scenes. At these I was able to utilise fingerprinting techniques and gain more experience using the appropriate camera equipment.” Rebecca, Dundee
“A forensic level of recording is implemented into many current laboratories to ensure good lab practice so that an experiment I perform can be carried out using the exact same validated method 2, 5, 10 years down the line. I feel that my experience at Abertay has been extremely valuable in the transition from university to the scientific field.” Douglas, Selkirk
How you learn
A varied lecture programme is supported by tutorials, case studies/exercises and seminars, the use of practical laboratory exercises and our special scenes of crime facility. The scene of crime area includes an office/bank complex, a house, photographic studio and a special glass area where break-ins can be simulated. External input from legal and forensic practitioners is an important part of the course, as is the opportunity to visit fire scenes, and the chance to see explosive devices detonated. After the third year there are opportunities to work on placement in a number of scientific laboratories. There have also been vacation placements that have become available in the scenes of crime sections of local police forces.
How you are assessed
Assessment on this course is carried out via a combination of coursework assignments, class tests, practical tests, presentations and closed-book examinations. A range of methods is used including short-answer tests, problem solving exercises, formal reports (oral, written or posters), and laboratory assignments. In the later years of the course formal examinations are a feature of most modules along with a group case exercise which involves the major forensic investigation of a crime, where you will hone your team-building and interpersonal skills.
Minimum Entrance Requirements
Higher BBBB; A Level CCD; ILC (H) BBBB; BTEC Extended Diploma MMM
Essential subjects: Chemistry. Biology preferred as additional science.
English and Maths: All applicants must have passes in English and Maths in any of the following: SQA Standard Grade 1-2, National 5 grade A-B, Intermediate 2 grade A-B, GCSE grade A-C.
Please note that the A Level (AS/A2) award in Applied Science is not considered a suitable science subject for entry to this course.
Although you will not be in contact with potential sources of Hepatitis in your studies, the forensic agencies that the programme liaises with during your course and future employers are likely to require inoculation against Hepatitis. Students are therefore expected to have been vaccinated before starting the course.
Advanced entry (year 2)
Advanced Higher/A Level: BBB (chemistry and biology).
Advanced entry (year 3)
HND in a relevant subject (15 SCQF credits: level 8, graded unit: B).
All applicants are required to provide certified proof of competence in English Language and the University's minimum requirements are listed here
Applications are generally assessed on the basis of standard school leaving qualifications such as SQA Highers or GCE A Levels. For those with alternative qualifications, consideration is given to professional qualifications or other forms of formal academic learning as well as experience gained that could provide evidence of ability to benefit from a particular course.
The successful completion of approved access courses such as the University's AHEAD programme, or those offered by further education colleges (such as those offered by Dundee College in association with the universities of Abertay, Dundee and St Andrews) provides significant evidence of ability to benefit from study at Abertay.
For further advice please use our Ask a Question section.
Graduates can go into careers such as forensic scientists (either as part of the civil service or the private sector) and related areas such as scenes of crime investigation or police officer, and a number of our graduates have successfully obtained these highly competitive jobs. The course also provides you with the skills and abilities to pursue alternative interesting and fulfilling career paths. For example, the development of diagnostics in the biotechnology industries, quality assurance, problem solving in the public utilities and the development of protocols and procedures in the armed forces or government agencies. Students may wish to pursue a career in teaching and several of our graduates have trained as science teachers, or you may want to undertake higher research (at MSc/PhD level). Transferable skills can also be used in a range of other careers such as management/business, law, accountancy and disciplines unrelated to science.
“Studying at Abertay has had a huge, and positive, impact on my life. The subject matter combined with the lecturers’ sheer enthusiasm really makes all the difference between a good course and a great course. Post Abertay I moved from Dundee to London to be a DNA analyst for one of the most competitive forensic companies in the UK. DNA analysis was a subject of extreme interest to me at uni; mainly because of the supremacy of such evidence, but also because of how fast DNA technology has progressed.” Debbie, South Lanarkshire
Want to know more?
Programme Tutor: Mr Darren Phillips
Admissions Tutor: Dr Graham Wightman
Tel: +44(0) 1382 308600
Text: +44 (0) 7800 002195
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