Why study Forensic Science at Liverpool John Moores University?
- Opportunity to undertake a year's industrial placement
- Option to focus on biological or chemical aspects of analysis
- £6 million investment in teaching facilities, including specialist forensic analysis and scene-of-crime labs
- Opens up careers in the police, analytical laboratories, insurance or legal firms, independent forensic laboratories and the teaching sector
- Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
- This degree is available to study following a foundation year
- International Foundation Year course available offering direct progression onto this degree programme - visit LJMU's International Study Centre to find out more
About your course
You will spend a large proportion of your time in the lab, carrying out drug spot tests, analysing fingerprints, processing crime scenes and analysing DNA while studying the BSc (Hons) Forensic Science at Liverpool John Moores University.
Over the past 50 years the analytical methods employed by forensic scientists have become very powerful indeed and have made a significant impact on conviction rates. Forensic science is all about using the power of scientific analysis to resolve legal disputes. It requires a sound knowledge of the analytical methods of biology and chemistry combined with training in crime scene investigation, as well as a basic knowledge of law and how to assess the value of evidence. You will be expected to have an attention to detail that is second to none for the microscopic analysis of hairs and fibres, DNA profiling and drug analysis.
This is a practical, hands-on course in which you will spend a large proportion of your time in the lab, carrying out spot tests for drugs, fingerprint and footwear analysis, crime scene processing, DNA analysis and forensic microscopy.
Throughout this professionally-accredited course you will be supported by our team of experts, with additional input from external speakers from all areas of forensics. There will also be plenty of opportunities for you to gain experience through work-based learning and/or on an optional sandwich placement.
"I enjoy the diversity of the course - one day you could be learning about biology and the next about mobile phone forensics, it's amazing!"
The BSc (Hons) Forensic Science degree is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. Graduates are also eligible for associate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC).
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund study for home and international students
The fees quoted above cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you'll find all of the information you need on our specialist funding pages.
A DBS check is not required for your application, however a DBS may be required for modules where there is a work based learning placement option. Work based learning placements that do not require a DBS check are available.
Once you graduate with a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science, you will be qualified to work in independent forensic analysis.
We have links with local police forces and forensic providers, which may provide work placements for LJMU students. Such connections ensure that the curriculum is constantly updated to meet the needs of employers. Graduates are qualified to work in forensic analysis, such as police scientific laboratories, independent forensic science providers, pharmaceutical companies, the chemical industry and hospital laboratories. You could be based in a variety of locations, such as a laboratory, office, in the field or on crime scenes. Trading standards, working for insurance companies, environmental monitoring and legal firms are other options.
Graduates from this course pursue careers in education at schools, colleges and universities and also progress to postgraduate study. Graduates are highly employable due to the transferable skills they acquire during their studies at LJMU.
Student Futures - Careers, Employability and Enterprise Service
A wide range of opportunities and support is available to you, within and beyond your course, to ensure our students experience a transformation in their career trajectory. Every undergraduate curriculum includes Future Focus during Level 4, an e-learning resource and workshop designed to help you to develop your talents, passion and purpose.
Every student has access to Careers Zone 24/7, LJMU's suite of online Apps, resources and jobs board via the LJMU Student Futures website. There are opportunities for flexible, paid and part-time work through Unitemps, LJMU's in-house recruitment service, and we also offer fully funded Discovery Internships.
One-to-one careers and employability advice is available via our campus-based Careers Zones and we offer a year-round programme of events, including themed careers and employability workshops, employer events and recruitment fairs. Our Start-Up Hub can help you to grow your enterprise skills and to research, plan and start your own business or become a freelancer.
A suite of learning experiences, services and opportunities is available to final year students to help ensure you leave with a great onward plan. You can access LJMU's Careers, Employability and Start-up Services after you graduate and return for one-to-one support for life.
LJMU aims to make international opportunities available to every student. You may be able to study abroad as part of your degree at one of our 100+ partner universities across the world. You could also complete a work placement or apply for one of our prestigious worldwide internship programmes. If you wanted to go abroad for a shorter amount of time, you could attend one of our 1-4 week long summer schools.
Our Go Citizen Scheme can help with costs towards volunteering, individual projects or unpaid placements anywhere in the world. With all of these opportunities at your feet, why wouldn’t you take up the chance to go abroad?
What you will study on this degree
Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.
Further guidance on modules
Modules are designated core or optional in accordance with professional body requirements, as applicable, and LJMU’s Academic Framework Regulations. Whilst you are required to study core modules, optional modules provide you with an element of choice. Their availability may vary and will be subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Where changes to modules are necessary these will be communicated as appropriate.
Forensic Science Research Methods 1
The aim of the module is to enable you to develop a range of academic, research and transferable skills such as: data handling, IT, laboratory techniques and skills related to Forensic Science.
Crime Scene Investigation
This module introduces you to crime scene investigation so you can develop skills such as: analysis and problem solving, written communication and team work. The basic crime scene skills of photography, note taking, and sketching are taught along with the concept of recovery, enhancement and comparison of fingerprints.
The aim of this module is to provide a basic knowledge of chemistry and chemical analysis important in forensic science. The course aims to provide core material in chemistry relevant to forensic analysis.
The aim of this module is to introduce you to a wide range of scientific areas and methods used in forensic science.
Molecular Bioscience for Forensic Sciences
This module will introduce you to biomolecular science providing the building blocks for further study in this area.
Forensic Field Skills
Within this module, you will be introduced to basic legal concepts, rules of evidence handling, basic archaeological techniques and outdoor crime scene protocols.
Forensic Science Research Methods 2
The aim of this module is to provide you with tutorial and Personal Development Profile support, theoretical knowledge and practical experience of some key laboratory techniques and will prepare you for the Biomolecular Science Project at level 6 by the study and practice of essential research skills.
Trace Evidence Analysis
This module will provide you with a thorough knowledge of the use of microscopy in trace evidence analysis examining methodologies employed in the laboratory.
Analytical Forensic Science
The aims of this module are to build on the theory, and provide further practical experience of the forensic analytical techniques taught in the forensic chemistry module at level 4. In addition to this, the module aims to provide more experience of interpreting different types of chromatograms and spectra and further analytical chemistry knowledge to provide background information for the chemistry based modules offered at level 6.
The module focuses primarily on DNA techniques and their impact on forensic science. Skills developed during this module include: analysing and solving problems, teamwork, initiative, creativity, written and oral communication, numerical reasoning, personal planning and organisation, information and communication technology, as well as subject-specific skills.
This module develops practical skills in crime scene investigation and extends the knowledge of forensic analysis and concepts introduced at Level 4. You will also develop knowledge of the court system and the legal context of the discipline.
The module aims to develop your understanding of the legislative and policy framework which sets out the parameters for the investigation of criminal offences and provide the opportunity for you to demonstrate and explain investigative procedures through the use of case studies and crime scene practical's. It will also provide an opportunity to critically explore the range of regulatory processes and professional values which inform practice, theories of team work, communication, issues of professional status and power and working across organisational boundaries.
Study Year Abroad - Forensic Science
The aim is to provide students with an additional year of study at an approved overseas partner that will complement their programme at LJMU. This is an additional year of full-time study at an approved higher education institution. The modules to be studied must be agreed in advance, and must be appropriate for the student's programme of study. Assuming successful completion of this year, mark-bearing credit will be awarded by the Faculty Recognition Group. The grade conversion scale to be used will be made available in advance of the year abroad.
Sandwich Year - Forensic Science
The aim is to provide students with an extended period of work experience at an approved partner that will complement their programme of study at LJMU. This will give students the opportunity to develop professional skills relevant to their programme of study as well as the attitude and behaviours necessary for employment in a diverse and changing environment. This extended placement forms a key part of a sandwich degree. There is an expectation that a minimum of 1200 hours will be spent in the workplace.
Forensic Human Identification
Within this module, you will examine the causes and extent of genetic and phenotypic variation in modern human populations and also examine the methods used to reconstruct life patterns and individual identification from skeletal remains.
Advanced Forensic Methods
The aim of this module is to provide you with thorough knowledge of advanced types of crime scene investigation and to introduce new and novel research in forensic science and to be able to use advanced statistical methods for evaluating forensic evidence.
This module looks at forensic science and related professions and the role of the expert witness. The aim of this module is to develop knowledge and practical experience of the role of an expert witness within the context of Forensic Science.
Forensic Science Research Project
This module is for students to investigate a research topic and then present their findings both in writing and orally.
Drug Analysis and Toxicology
Within this module, you will develop knowledge and practical experience of toxicological and controlled drug analysis within the context of forensic science.
Modern Technology in Forensic Science
The aim of this module is to provide technical and theoretical knowledge and the practical skills relating to state of the art modern technologies as applied to forensic science. Typical content will include current and emerging forensic technologies such as photography, audio, cybercrime, and drone surveillance.
Within this module, you will learn about the applications of biological techniques in forensic science and be able to review how biological evidence can contribute to a wide range of forensic investigations.
Forensic Anthropological Genetics
This module will explore the uses of genetic techniques in the field of forensic science and anthropology from a theoretical and practical perspective. It also focuses on DNA techniques in the fields of Forensic Science and Forensic Anthropology.
Teaching and work-related learning
Excellent facilities and learning resources
We adopt an active blended learning approach, meaning you will experience a combination of face-to-face and online learning during your time at LJMU. This enables you to experience a rich and diverse learning experience and engage fully with your studies. Our approach ensures that you can easily access support from your personal tutor, either by meeting them on-campus or via a video call to suit your needs.
Teaching is via a combination of lectures, interactive workshops, fieldwork, laboratory sessions, online activities and small-group tutorials; the amount of time you spend in each varies according to the module and the level of study.
You are expected to do additional research around lecture subjects in your own time using the University Libraries and virtual learning environment, Canvas. As the course progresses, the amount of practical and independent work increases, allowing you to develop workplace and research techniques and complete a research project.
We have links with local police forces and forensic providers, who may provide work placement opportunities. With the support of a placement tutor, you may be given the opportunity to do paid work with one of our local police force or forensics lab contacts where you will put into practice skills and knowledge gained in your first two years of study.
As well as giving you a chance to develop personal skills and take a break from formal study, this experience will add real value to your CV and significantly boost your employability prospects.
Support and guidance
Dedicated personal tutor, plus study skills support
You will be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of your studies at LJMU. They will hold small tutorials so you can discuss course material with fellow students. In Level 6, an academic supervisor will advise and guide you through your research project.
Should you opt to spend a year on placement, a placement tutor will liaise between you and potential employers and help you to find a suitable post. Once you are settled in your placement, you will have regular support from an academic staff member who will visit you in your workplace to check on progress.
The school is fully committed to promoting a learning environment that supports a culture of equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) and has a Disability Support Coordinator, an EDI Coordinator and a School EDI Working Group. Personal Tutors also play a vital role in promoting awareness of support services for students.
Assessment varies depending on the modules you choose, but will usually include a combination of exams and coursework.
We acknowledge that all students perform differently depending on the way they are assessed. This is why we use a range of assessment methods and a combination of exams and coursework for each module, though some practical modules are assessed by coursework only.
- Exams may include multiple choice, short answer, interpretative, problem-based learning and essay questions
- Coursework may be in the form of phase tests, fieldwork/practical reports, data handling, oral presentations, poster presentations, podcasts, online or real-time group discussions, essays or practical skills evaluations
Some assignments are done in groups. Your final year research project will be assessed by literature review and scientific report plus an oral presentation.
Feedback is normally provided within three weeks of submission and may be via Canvas, face-to-face or as written comments. This is a vital part of the assessment process, as it gives you a chance to identify your successes and areas that may need further attention.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Dr Helen Burrell
Dr Helen Burrell
Dr Burrell has worked at LJMU since 2007 and is involved in all aspects of the programme, including module leadership, level tutoring and programme leadership. Her PhD is in Cell Biology and she has also completed postdoctoral work on cardiomyocytes, as well as stem cells. She has written a number of book chapters within the Biochemistry area. Dr Burrell's research interests are in ATP signalling - particularly in the skin and how it controls proliferation, differentiation and cell death. Her other focus in the forensic world is on the implementation of new technology in forensic science, such as how to un-smudge fingerprints.
Teaching is highly rewarding for me, particularly when a student has that 'lightbulb' moment when they suddenly realise they can do it with a little hard work and perseverance
Where you will study
What you can expect from your School
You will study at the Byrom Street site in the university's City Campus in the heart of Liverpool. Our state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching spaces will ensure you enjoy a first-class study environment. The Avril Robarts library is within easy walking distance and here you'll find all the information you need to support your studies.
Please choose your qualifications below to view requirements
Grades/points required from qualifications: BBC-ABB (112-128)
GCSEs and equivalents
Grade 4 or grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics/ Numeracy.
GCSE Equivalences accepted:
• Key Skills Level 2 in English/Maths
• NVQ Level 2 Functional skills in Maths and English Writing and or Reading
• Skills for Life Level 2 in Numeracy/English
• Higher Diploma in Maths/English
• Northern Ireland Essential Skills Level 2 in Communication or Application of Number
• Wales Essential Skills Level 2 in Communication or Application of Number
BBC-ABB Minimum Number of A Levels: 2
Maximum AS UCAS Points: 20
Studying Chemistry and/or Biology at A Level or equivalent.
Extended Diploma: DMM-DDM
Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications
Pass overall with a minimum of 112 points
Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications From a relevant subject
OCR Cambridge Technical
Extended Diploma: DMM-DDM
Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications From a relevant subject
Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications.
You need to obtain the required UCAS points from a related subject area.
6.0 overall with no component below 5.5, taken within two years of the course start date.
Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check.
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
UCAS is the official application route for our full-time undergraduate courses. Further information on the UCAS application process can be found here https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/undergraduate-students/how-to-apply.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.
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