Forensic Sciences | Abertay University

Forensic Sciences
BSc (Hons)

Go beyond the police tape and learn in state-of-the-art facilities with this fascinating and highly-practical Forensic Sciences degree

Course detail

Start Date



4 years (full-time)

Degree Classification

BSc (Hons)



Why Study Forensic Sciences?

Go beyond the police tape with this fascinating and highly-practical Forensic Sciences degree. Learn the techniques that underpin the recognition, identification, recovery, analysis and evaluation of information which can be used as evidence in a court of law.

Are you literate, numerate and analytical? Do you like to solve problems for fun? Are you naturally inquisitive with a passion for chemistry and biology? Put these traits to work during a Forensic Sciences degree that equips you with the knowledge required to help support the legal process.

It’s a hands-on degree, which allows you to analyse a variety of scenes in our purpose-built facilities, and learn the following physical and chemical analysis techniques in our state-of-the-art laboratories:

  • Crime scene investigation
  • Body fluid analysis
  • DNA profiling
  • Forensic chromatography and spectroscopy
  • Fingerprinting
  • Substances of abuse

This highly vocational programme is broken down into three main study areas – forensic science, chemistry and biology – and dovetails modules from the Division of Law to prepare you for a variety of workplace situations.

Your Journey Starts Here

Keen to learn more about body fluid investigation, crime scene investigation, and fingerprint enhancement, as well as a number of different techniques relevant for police investigation and the criminal justice system? Forensic Sciences is the programme for you.

Entry Requirements

Please note:  All applicants must have passes in English and Maths in any of the following - National 5 grade C or GCSE grade C/4. Lifeskill Maths is not accepted in lieu of Maths.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Qualification TypeGrade RequirementsEssential Subjects
HigherBBBBTo include Chemistry at Higher and National 5 Biology at C
A-LevelCCCTo include Chemistry at A Level and GCSE Biology or Combined Science or Applied Science at C/4 or better
Irish HighersH3H3H3H3To include Chemistry at Higher Level and Biology or Ordinary Level at C or better
International Baccalaureate28 PointsChemistry and Biology at Middle Year at 4 or equivalent
BTEC Extended DiplomaMMMApplied Science (all pathways)
AHEAD-Successful completion of the relevant stream of our AHEAD programme
SWAPBBBAccess to: Life Sciences, Health & Life Sciences, Science, Biological Sciences, Biological & Biomedical Sciences
Qualification TypeGrade RequirementsEssential Subjects
Advanced HigherBBBTo include Chemistry and Biology or Human Biology
A-LevelBBBTo include Chemistry and Biology or Human Biology
BTEC Extended DiplomaDDDApplied Science
HNC/HND-Our Entry from College pages list approved HNC/HND courses

Information for International Applicants

Please provide certified proof of your English language level. Our accredited International English Foundation Course can help. To further enhance your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your potential.

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English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

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English Language Courses

Discover the range of English language courses on offer at Abertay University.

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Key Modules (2017/18)

Biology 1: Biology Principles and Practice (LSC101)

This module aims to provide a broad introduction of the theory and practice of biology.

Foundations of Chemistry 1 (FOR101)

This module introduces and considers the application of basic chemical concepts of relevance to a wi

Introduction to Forensic Science, Practice and Techniques (FOR103)

This module introduces the concepts of scientific literacy skills and a broad overview of some of th

Human Physiology (LSC102)

This module provides students with fundamental knowledge of the main physiological processes necessa

Foundations of Chemistry 2 (FOR102)

This module develops knowledge of chemical properties relating to chemical and biological systems su

Cell Biology & Immunology (LSC202)

This module provides an integrative study of how cells in the body function to defend against injury

Advanced Chemical Processes (FOR201)

This module further develops knowledge of chemical properties and principles relating to chemical an

Criminal Law and Evidence (LAW253)

This module allows students to develop, broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of t

Molecular Biology and Genetics (LSC201)

This module provides an introduction to both Medical and Forensic genetics and uses specific example

Investigative Analytical Science (FOR212)

A module designed to teach basic analytical skills and the theory behind these techniques, and to re

Special Topics in Forensic Biology (FOR301)

This module provides an introduction to the identification and confirmation of body fluids in forens

Forensic Chromatography and Spectroscopy (FOR303)

To further understand the theoretical basis for chromatography and to use spectroscopic techniques t

Forensic Material Investigation (FOR305)

Examines the investigation, evaluation & interpretation of evidence from fires & explosions. It exam

Forensic Trace Evidence (FOR304)

This module examines the value and limitations of selected trace evidence types in criminal investig

Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology (FOR310)

This module is designed to promote a detailed appreciation of the effects of toxins and drugs on hum

Scene Examination and Management (FOR312)

This module explores some of the advanced principles of and techniques used in Forensic Science as w

Forensic Applications of DNA (FOR401)

This module involves the review of various techniques and research used in a forensic DNA laboratory

Substances of Abuse (FOR402)

This module examines a selection of different commonly abused drug substances. It will study their c

Project Research Methods (FOR410)

This module provides the student with the theoretical underpinning skills required to pursue a detai

Interpretation & Presentation of Evidence (FOR403)

This module takes an integrative and holistic approach to the application of forensic science to com

Honours Project (4) (FOR411)

This module enables the student to utilise and develop further their forensic science and transferab

How the Course Works


Our Forensic Sciences degree is professionally accredited and commended by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSoFS), which means you’re eligible to apply for associate membership upon graduating. This programme is taught by practitioners who’ve come directly from the industry, as well as forensic researchers at the cutting edge of their fields.

Learning and Assessment

You’ll learn via traditional lectures and tutorials, student-led learning, interactive class sessions, practical work and a substantial element of laboratory work. We encourage you to be self-motivated and to study independently, which means you will take responsibility for your own learning.

Assessment is by a variety of methods, enabling you to demonstrate progress in different ways.

Coursework typically includes lab reports, essays and oral presentations.

Formal exams typically include questions that require either short answers or essays, coupled with problem-solving of forensic-related challenges.

In your final dissertation, you’re individually supported by an experienced research-active member of staff.

Year 1 is approximately 50% exam and 50% coursework.

Year 4 is approximately 80% exam in some instances. This does not include your final year project, which is coursework based.

For more information on the course content, please download the Programme Information - BSc (Honours) Forensic Sciences

About Your Modules

The module information shown here describes the modules our students are taking this year. The modules do change over time to keep our programmes up-to-date and relevant. This means the exact modules you take could be different. If you receive an offer to study with us, you will receive a Programme Information document that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay degree programme.

Please note: As well as Key Modules outlined above, you may also be required to choose Elective Modules.


Rest of UK Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

International Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from international countries (outside of the EU) to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

In addition, we offer a range of corporate/philanthropic scholarships shown below, which are available to all students to support your studies with us.

The Lothian Family

A £5,000 award for undergraduate students with financial or social difficulties which may prevent them from studying at Abertay.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £500 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Programme Fees for 2018

Scottish & EU students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

Additional Costs

Students must purchase a laboratory coat (cost is around £15) and a laboratory notebook.

English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

Additional Costs

Students must purchase a laboratory coat (cost is around £15) and a laboratory notebook.

International Students


Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

Additional Costs

Students must purchase a laboratory coat (cost is around £15) and a laboratory notebook.


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. A number of our graduates have successfully obtained these highly competitive jobs.

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Choose Your Path

The course also provides you with the skills and abilities to pursue alternative, interesting and fulfilling career paths. For example:

  • Developing diagnostics in the biotechnology industries
  • Quality assurance
  • Problem solving in public utilities
  • Developing protocols and procedures in the armed forces or government agencies

You may also wish to pursue a career in teaching – many of our graduates have trained as science teachers. Alternatively, you may want to undertake higher research at MSc/PhD level.

The transferable skills gained during this degree can also be used in a range of other careers, such as management/business, law, accountancy and disciplines unrelated to science.

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Industry Links

We enjoy excellent relationships with a number of forensic laboratories.

Throughout the programme, you’ll hear guest lectures from representatives of organisations like the Scottish Police Authority, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), James Hutton Institute, and Forensic Access.

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Forensic Sciences Graduates

Meet Mel Smith and Simon Patterson, Forensic Sciences graduates from Abertay, who have gone on to enjoy successful careers in very different industries.

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Mel Smith

Meet Mel Smith, a Forensics graduate from Abertay, and employee at the Marrow Donor Programme in Singapore.

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Simon Patterson

Meet Simon Patterson, a Forensic Sciences graduate from Abertay, and sports reporter for the world's largest motorcycling magazine.

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Programme Leader - Forensic Sciences

Mr Darren Phillips

Mr Darren Phillips

School of Science, Engineering and Technology | Lecturer

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Explore our Dundee Campus

Abertay is conveniently located on a city centre campus, with all of its buildings within a quarter of a mile of each other. Shops, recreational facilities and the main bus and train stations are a short walk away.

Our Campus

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Why Abertay?

We're proud of our students and graduates, and we believe there's no better place to study if you're looking for a degree that helps you stand out as an exceptional candidate in an increasingly competitive job market.

Why Abertay?

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Come to an Open Day

An Open Day is your chance to get an up close experience of the University and the city. You’ll come away with all the information you need about us and the courses you’re interested in. 

Open Days

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Living in Dundee

Dundee is a city of contrasts. It's vibrant and cosmopolitan, but also friendly, compact and affordable. The first UK city to be awarded UNESCO City of Design status, Dundee has a rich history of innovation and creativity, and, in recent years, has become a hub for the digital industries.

Living in Dundee & Scotland

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Unistats collates 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 Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).

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