Forensic Science with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (4 years)

Cambridge

September 2016

Intermediate awards: CertHE, DipHE

code: F41F

Available in Clearing 01245 686868


Overview

If you’re fascinated by forensic science but don’t meet the full entry requirements for our three year course, our extended four-year option is for you. It's accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences and, when you graduate, you’ll have the skills to follow a career in forensic science.

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Full description

Careers

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Our course focuses on developing your practical skills, which will make you attractive to potential employers. We’ll encourage you to find work placements with local law enforcement organisations during the summer breaks, to add to your practical experience.

By choosing certain modules, you’ll become an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC).

While our course prepares you for a career in forensic science, you’ll also develop the skills to follow other careers in areas like teaching, research, insurance and the law.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses including MSc Forensic Science.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Biological Principles
    This module will provide you with an introduction to key processes operating within living organisms; including energy provision, transport, control and co-ordination.
  • Developing Academic Skills 1
    This module seeks to identify and develop the basic individual skills needed for effective study in science degrees. It emphasises the need for self-motivation and goal setting in providing an individual drive and energy to sustain the work of study at degree level.
  • Developing Academic Skills 2
    You’ll build on the areas studied in Developing Academic Skills 1 by moving to the area of computer skills and applications, with special emphasis on those skills especially relevant to a science student. Word processing and data recording and handling, display and analysis will be dealt with and some related basic statistics will be studied.
  • Chemical Principles 1
    This module is for you, if you've little or no experience of the subject. You'll get an introduction to chemical science, discuss the study of materials and the undergoing chemical changes, and investigate them through laboratory sessions, tutorials and lectures.
  • Chemical Principles 2
    Building on your learning from 'Chemical Principles I', you'll learn about quantitative chemical analysis, including; colorimetry and UV/Vis spectrophotometry, chemical equilibria, pH, pKa, buffers; inorganic and organic chemistry.
  • Foundation Biology
    You’ll develop your scientific skills and gain an understanding of some key biological principles. The fundamental themes of the structure and function of biological molecules and their importance to cell structure and function are core to our module.
  • Foundation Mathematics
    This module is designed for students on the Science Foundation Course who are daunted by mathematics but who need enough skills to comprehend mathematics to facilitate their chosen science degree. Fundamental topics of algebra, geometry/trigonometry and probability theory will be covered solving problems related to science and technology. The students will learn how to solve fundamental algebraic equations, express solutions to desired accuracy, and will become familiar with classes of functions (exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric). This module will be assessed by coursework.

Year two, core modules

  • Introduction to Biology and Forensic Chemistry
    You'll develop understanding of basic chemical and biological principles with a particular emphasis on the forensic sciences and will underpin the understanding of the chemistry and biology encountered in later study of forensic science. The module will include a practical element where students gain competence and confidence in performing basic laboratory techniques.
  • Introduction to Forensic Methodologies
    You'll cover key aspects ranging from the management of crime scenes and the appropriate recovery of items found within them, to the interpretation of results obtained from laboratory-based analyses. A range of the most common types of evidence will be introduced, along with the techniques used to examine them. Particular emphasis is placed on the various microscopy methods available, including polarised light and fluorescence microscopy, and the physical principles behind them.
  • Introduction to Police and Forensic Photography
    You'll be introduced to the use of photographic evidence and other image recording methods used in the documentation of police and forensic evidence. You'll conduct practical work on simulated cases in addition to attending conventional lectures and tutorials using photographic equipment available within our department. You'll be assessed through a written assignment/portfolio.
  • Physical and Quantitative Chemistry for Forensic Scientists
    This module introduces the fundamental concepts of physical chemistry and a basic introduction to chemical analysis. Examples will be drawn from throughout the forensic sciences. The main areas covered include: chemical equilibria, thermodynamic, thermochemistry and kinetics. These topics are of great importance in acquiring an understanding of why chemical changes occur and gives a good understanding of concepts needed to progress onto a number of modules on our forensic science course. The module will introduce basic chemical analysis and emphasis is placed on the acquisition of good laboratory practice and basic calculations applicable to quantitative analytical techniques.
  • United Kingdom Legal Systems and Law for Forensic Scientists
    Gain knowledge of the different legal systems and requirements within the United Kingdom. Examine the development of law in the English, Scottish and Northern Ireland legal systems and the Jury system. You’ll closely explore the powers relevant to the Scene of Crime Officer and Forensic Scientist, as well as the laws of evidence as they relate to the S.O.C.O./Forensic Scientist. Finally, you’ll look at the codes of practice of the Crown Prosecution Service.
  • Physical Criminalistics
    The examination of most physical (as opposed to chemical or biological) forensic evidence requires a broad knowledge of the characteristics of a wide range of materials The forensic scientist has no way of predicting what evidential types will be available or significant when an investigation begins and so all criminalists require a basic knowledge of the main evidence types. You'll deal with the physical properties of the commonest types of evidence encountered, but this must be tempered with the professionalism to seek more highly qualified or expert advice when necessary ("if in doubt then do no harm"). The focus will be on the evidence, though some new methodologies (e.g. the scanning electron microscope and x-ray diffraction) will also be introduced.

Year three, core modules

  • Introduction to Analytical Chemistry and Laboratory Quality Management
    This module will give you the knowledge and experience of analysing "real" forensic science samples by using a variety of chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques. You’ll gain an understanding of the underlying quality management principles that are involved in such analyses and look the choice of analytical method, the results generated, and the interpretation of these results by using examples drawn from the forensic sciences.
  • Project Preparation
    We’ll prepare you to carry out a major project in your final year, including skills in selecting a suitable project, using relevant sources of published information, literature surveys, writing a literature review and creating a project plan. During this self-managed module you’ll plan your project and regularly meet with your supervisor, who will give you advise and review your progress. You’ll also gain experience of projects by having the opportunity to listen to the project presentations by final year students.
  • Scene and Laboratory Investigation
    Undertake practical work in the recovery of evidence at various scenes and highlight the problems that different types of scenes can bring. You’ll build on knowledge you gained in previous modules in relation to contamination issues and also issues in the chain of continuity of evidence. You’ll build your practical skills with various laboratory instrumentation, which you’ll then use to undertake various analytical experiments on evidence recovered from the scene.
  • Spectroscopic Techniques for Forensic Science
    A practising Forensic Scientist’s work involves the determination and quantitative analysis of many substances, such as drugs, explosives, fibres and paint pigments. Many samples for analysis are extremely small, such as a few grains of gun-shot residue or the ink on a forged bank note, and it is important to use techniques which minimalise sample destruction. Here, you’ll learn about the analytical methods of spectroscopic, techniques that examine the way the sample interacts with electromagnetic radiation. These techniques include Raman spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, UV/Vis spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction. You’ll use our specialist equipment in a practical learning environment as you build your knowledge and confidence in these methods of testing.
  • The Forensic Analysis of DNA and Biological Material
    Discover DNA structure, replication and manipulation within a forensic science context, and gain the practical foundations for more specific applications. You’ll cover DNA analysis available to forensic biologists, such as STR profiling. You’ll also examine the statistical interpretation of DNA evidence in a court of law, as well as the types of biological material encountered within forensic science and their subsequent identification and confirmation within a crime scene / forensic laboratory environment. You’ll also look at early forms of forensic individualisation, such as serotyping (e.g. ABO blood grouping) as a prelude to the current DNA methodologies, as well as the patterns formed by body fluids, in particular blood and the resulting information that can be gained from their examination.

Year three, optional modules

  • Chemical Criminalistics
    This module will give you an introduction to the chemical aspects of criminalistics, involving a number of chemical evidence types including greasy marks and stains, oily materials (shoe polish and lipsticks, for example) and evidence which is left by everyday materials. We'll explore how these materials are analysed and how reports are generated from the data. You'll also get a basic guide to the chemistry of arson accelerants and explosives and their chemical natures, while exploring the methods used for fire debris analysis.

Year four, core modules

  • Advanced Forensic Methodologies
    This module will provide you with an appreciation of the diverse evidence available in a crime scene, and how to operate as an ‘expert witness’. You’ll develop your understanding of the nature and types of evidence, how it can be obtained and used. You’ll get experience in providing your own assessment of ‘raw’ evidence, and critique methodologies. You’ll learn the importance of impartiality and experience how evidence can be tested in court. Role playing scenarios will give you a realistic experience of a courtroom situation, preparing you for employment.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    You’ll create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could chose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you’re specifically interested in. You’ll identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artefacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year four, optional modules

  • Advanced Fire and Explosive Investigation
    Following on from our Chemical Criminalistics module, this module will give you a more detailed insight into the factors involved in the initiation and propagation of fires, starting with gases, liquid vapors and solids and the various states of combustion, progressing through a full compartment fire. You'll consider various types of initiation of fires and explosions, and discuss calculations and the modeling of fire dynamics. Explosive analysis is explored as well as requirements of specialist facilities for this type of forensic analysis. In addition, the analysis of fire debris is investigated. You’ll get practical experience on the analysis of explosives and ILR and heat transfer. At the end of the module we’ll assess your learning through a laboratory notebook and an examination.
  • Forensic Analysis of Drugs and Poisons
    Drug trafficking, use and addiction are responsible for much of the crime which occurs in our society. Forensic Scientists therefore have an important role to play both in the determination of drugs in seizures and the analysis of drugs in body fluids. Our module provides you with a link between these two important disciplines. Many of the techniques used for quantitative analysis of street drugs and toxicological specimens are identical. In both cases the definitive results arise from mass spectrometric determination. There are however essential differences in the actual procedures which you'll learn. Forensic toxicology essentially combines the specialist areas of analytical chemistry and pathology. In general, a forensic toxicologist detects and identifies foreign chemicals (toxins) in the body. In order to accurately interpret toxicological findings it is essential that the toxicologist also has an understanding of the pharmacology of that substance and the pathological effects it has on the body. You’ll learn the processes used in street drug identification and profiling. The materials that can be used and the processes themselves will be discussed and methodologies critically evaluated. The data generated is discussed and the interpretation of such data critically appraised. The presentation of both toxicological and drug profiling date in court will also be reflected upon. Learning resources will include the digital library and suitable websites which will be identified during the module. You’ll be assessed through coursework and an examination.
  • Forensic Pathology and Sexual Offence Investigation
    You’ll develop your knowledge in forensic pathology and sexual offences and look at the relationship between these two areas. Examination of the law in relation to both the rights of victim and confidentiality issues, procedures involved in the forensic examination of the scene, victim and suspect is explored. You’ll examine various cases involving the medico-legal examination of sexual offences and unnatural deaths and be introduced to forensic pathology which covers the role of forensic pathologist in fulfilling the key functions of the medico-legal autopsy, determination of cause of death and estimation of time since death.

Assessment

We’ll use a range of assessment methods to measure your progress. Our course has a hands-on approach, so a lot of your assessment will be through practical work. You’ll also do exams, essays, portfolios, role plays and presentations.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of the largest of five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full- or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, to a BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate. 

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)

£9,000

International students, 2016/17 (per year)

£11,000

Additional costs

Please note, the estimated additional costs for this course are as follows: scientific calculator - £15; Nikon memory card - £8.

Fees statement 

Tuition fees for UK/EU students 2017/18 are currently set at £9,000. These fees are regulated by the UK government and may increase in line with government policy. There is a possible increase for the 2017/18 intake of 2.8% which would put the fees at £9,250.


How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

Entry requirements are for September 2016. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

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