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Division of Science

Head of Division: Dr Ben Jones

Our programmes are innovative, industrially relevant, challenging, and draw on the professional and research expertise of our staff.

The Division of Science houses staff with expertise across biology, chemistry, medicine and physics and their applications. It focuses this expertise on to a range of investigative subjects such as biomedical science and forensic science. The programmes focus on the scientific principles, application and project management to equip our graduates with key skills to meet contemporary challenges.

The life sciences sector in Scotland is one of the most rapidly growing in Europe. It is worth in excess of £3 billion to the Scottish economy. Within Dundee, the sector accounts for 16% of the local economy, with strong growth forecast over the next few years. To sustain growth, a supply of highly qualified graduates able to operate within both the public and private sectors are required.

The relevance of the life sciences courses is ensured by our research and our close links with industry, the life sciences sector, local NHS hospitals and the wider healthcare community. Students often have the opportunity to take placements in industry, and relevant, often paid, supervised work experience.

Our forensics students make extensive use of specialised crime scene simulation areas - Rankin House suite, and a Bank of Scotland branch - our microscopy suite and our range of analytical laboratories. These facilitate students’ education and first-hand experience of scientific analysis, and enable the application of this within a criminal/civil investigation context.

Our Programmes

The Division of Science offers BSc (Hons) Forensic Sciences, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science/BSc (Hons) Applied Biomedical Science and BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and Technology undergraduate degree programmes.

These are accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSFS) and the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS), and approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). An IBMS accredited BMS degree is required for employment as a trainee biomedical scientist in the NHS, and leads to the position of becoming a Biomedical Scientist.

A feature of our programmes is the high degree of engagement with the professional world, through laboratory and project work, work placements, field visits and programme input from industry professionals.  Our crime scene scenarios have been designed by former police and government officers.


Research in the Division stems from fundamental science and its applications. Research is frequently collaborative across the University, with, for example, microbiology, ecology and physiology links to Food, Engineering and Sport.  This is reflected with our strong contributions to the University’s overarching themes of Environment, Society and Security and to the recent national Research Excellence Framework assessment, making Abertay the most research intensive modern university in Scotland, according to a Times Higher Education analysis of the REF2014 results. 

The division pioneers novel use of 3D and 4D visualisation techniques, from macro to nanoscale, including X-Ray Computed Tomography and Atomic Force Microscopy for applications including cancer research. Our forensics staff are a strong force in fingerprint research, including working with police forces and the Home Office and contributing to government, policing and research best practice guides.  Recent forensics work includes tracing illicit drugs, detecting fingerprints on polymer banknotes and holistic approach to crime scenes, linking into the University’s Security theme.

For more details of staff research output please see the University research pages.