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Forensic Sciences

Forensic science is the application of scientific knowledge and techniques in support of the legal process. Thanks to advances in technology and an increased reliance on forensic techniques by police, this exciting but competitive industry is growing every day.

Next Start Date: September

Degree type: BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code: F410 BSc/FoS

Duration: 4 years (full-time)


Why choose this course?  

  • The course has an experience-led and problem-solving approach to learning, with a focus on contemporary forensic practice, including optional, specific work placements.
  • It is taught by forensic science practitioners who have come directly from industry, and have links with a number of forensic science providers within the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
  • It is professionally accredited and commended by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences;  graduates are eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSoFS) upon graduation.

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 embedded 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.


The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences logo

What you study

What you study

In Year 1, the basics of forensics and the science behind it - biology and chemistry - are studied, alongside laboratory techniques and skills.  

Year 2 builds upon the basics of the science behind forensics, alongside law.  

During Year 3, you are introduced to the specialties of forensice science case work and research, for example, crime scene work, trace evidence and body fluid analysis.  

The Honours year (Year 4) covers detailed forensic science specialties, for example, DNA and substances of abuse. These specialities are covered alongside an intensive forensic science project.

For more information on the course content, download the Programme information - BSc with Honours in Forensic Sciences

How you learn and are assessed 

We offer a broad range of learning environments, including traditional lecture and tutorial format, student-led learning, interactive class sessions, practical and a substantial element of laboratory work.  We encourage independent study, meaning that you take responsibility for your own learning.

Your study is assessed with a variety of methods enabling you to demonstrate progress in different ways.  Coursework typically includes laboratory 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 are individually supported by an experienced research active member of staff.

Exam techniques

Lab reports, essays, oral presentations and exams.
Year 1 is approximately 50% exam and 50% coursework.
Year 4 is approximately 100% exam in some instances - not including final year project, which is coursework based.

Entry routes

Minimum Entrance Requirements

English and Maths: 
All applicants must have passes in English and Maths in any of the following: National 5 grade C or GCSE grade C/4

 BBBB (to include Higher Chemistry and Biology at National 5 Level or better)
A Level: CCC (to include A Level Chemistry and Biology/Combined Science/Applied Science at GCSE Level or better)
Irish Highers: H3H3H3H3 (to include Higher Chemistry and Biology at Ordinary Level C or better)
BTEC Extended Diploma: MMM Applied Science
International Baccalaureate: 28 Points (to include Chemistry at S5 or H4 and Biology at Middle Year Level 4 or better)
AHEAD: successful completion of the relevant stream of our AHEAD programme
SWAP: our Coming from College pages list approved SWAP courses

Advanced Higher: BBB (to include Chemistry and Biology or Human Biology)
A Level: BBB (to include Chemistry and Biology or Human Biology)
BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD Applied Science
HNC/HND: our Coming from College pages list approved HNC/HND courses

Not sure if you are 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 know that some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university and that 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 3 Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have:

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

We encourage you to submit an application.

International Applicants

You must provide certified proof of your English language level (minimum requirements are listed here).  Our British Council accredited International English Foundation Course can help you reach that level or, if you would like further develop your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your full potential.

EU applicants:  Entry requirements can be found on our Europe pages.  Overseas (non-EU) applicants:  We're currently developing your country pages, so please email us details of your entry requirements.

Alternative Entrance Requirements
Please email us if you have other qualifications/experience not listed here.

Fees and scholarships

Fee Category Tuition Fees
Scholarships & Bursaries
Scottish and other EU students

Current fees

Other forms of support
English, Welsh and Northern Irish

Current fees

Bursaries & Scholarships
Overseas (non EU) students

Current fees

Overseas Scholarships

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

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

Further info

Career prospects

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. 

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 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.  Alternatively, students 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

"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

Industry links

Guest speakers from forensic science providers and the legal fraternity.

Want to know more?

Student Recruitment Office
T:  +44 (0) 1382 308080
F:  +44 (0) 1382 308081



"I feel that my experience at Abertay has been extremely valuable in the transition from university to the scientific field."

Douglas, Selkirk

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