Chemistry with Forensic Science BSc(Hons) 2017-18This course also available for 2018-19 entry
Find out more about Forensic Science at Huddersfield
About the course
If you're interested in forensic science as a possible career, but you also enjoy chemistry then this course could be ideal for you. This course includes a focus on forensic science simply defined as the application of science to the law and is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.There's the opportunity for you to spend an optional placement year in industry. This can help you to see your subject in action and also gain relevant real-world experience, which may enhance your employability after you graduate.
You'll have the chance to gain hands-on experience, using scientific instrumentation in our laboratory facilities, in a range of experiments in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. You'll also have the opportunity to see how different instruments operate and can be applied to chemical and forensic analysis.
Watch our Chemistry and Chemical Engineering subject area video to hear how student Jamie has found his course at Huddersfield.
Analytical chemistry, which is central to forensic chemistry, is given equal weighting with organic, inorganic and physical chemistry on this course. In analytical chemistry you'll have the opportunity to learn about the techniques used in the forensic analysis of drugs, body fluids, fibres and paint chips for instance.
The forensic science modules cover everything from the investigation of the crime scene and the collection of evidence, through to which forensic analysis techniques are available and what is the statistical significance of the results, to the presentation of evidence in a court of law. The final year includes advanced topics in chemistry and forensic sciences well as a research project, which may be in any area of chemistry or forensic science.
Inorganic Chemistry 1
This module introduces you to the chemistry of the elements including the earliest events in the universe and the formation of all the elements in stars. The module examines the structure bonding and properties of the elements and simple inorganic materials. You’ll also have the opportunity to investigate the main group elements in more detail. Your learning experience will be augmented by some introductory chemistry practical work, which will involve experimental techniques. Assessment is via practical reports, and MCQ test and a final examination.
Organic Chemistry 1
In organic chemistry, the focus is on the element carbon. The chemistry of carbon compounds is central to all living organisms. However, thousands of nonliving things (such as drugs, plastics and dyes) are also carbon compounds. This module focuses on the fundamental principles of organic chemistry including structure, bonding, functional groups and the basic language of chemical change. You'll have the opportunity to enhance your learning in a designated block of practical exercises (this element of the coursework is worth 20% of the module mark), which also helps you to develop your hands-on practical skills. Assessment is by coursework and exam.
Physical Chemistry 1
This module gives you an introduction to five key areas in physical chemistry: 1. Ideal and real gases and how temperature, pressure and volume affect the properties of individual gas molecules. 2. Energy changes in chemical reactions and physical processes. 3. Aqueous equilibria involving acids, bases, salts and buffer solutions. 4. Factors influencing the rate of a reaction such as reactant concentration, temperature and catalysts. 5. Applications and properties of catalysts. Lectures are backed up by a series of laboratory exercises. Assessment is via a combination of coursework (practical, multiple choice question test and assignment) and an end of module exam.
Analytical Science 1
In this module you’ll be introduced to analytical science. In the first half of the module you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the basic statistical concepts important in analytical science before going on to an introduction to a series of physical and spectroscopic analytical techniques. The second half of the module focuses on the use of various spectroscopic methods for the characterisation of known compounds and for the identification of unknown compounds. You will be assessed by coursework and exam.
Practical Forensic Science 1
This module enables you to gain practical experience in many of the practical techniques used to analyse physical evidence. Techniques covered range from ‘spot tests’ for blood, drugs and firearm residues to the development of latent fingerprints, the identification of glass and paint fragments and the microscopic examination of hairs and fibres. Lectures support the practical work and place it in context. Assessment is by results sheets and an end of year poster.
Data Handling for Forensic Science
The aim of this module is to enable you to gain the basic IT and mathematics skills necessary for a science degree. For the mathematics part you’ll have the opportunity to learn scientific notation, basic algebra experimental functions, logarithms, differential calculations and integration techniques. For the computing part you’ll be encouraged to learn how to use Microsoft Word, Excel. You’ll be assessed on a mixture of coursework based tests.
Organic Chemistry 2
The module builds on the fundamental principles explored in the Organic Chemistry 1 module. The knowledge and ability to form carbon-carbon bonds under controlled conditions is an essential skill that all aspiring organic chemists should possess, and this is a major focus that you’ll have the opportunity to explore in this module. You’ll also delve into other aspects of synthetic chemistry, such as the use of a wide range of inorganic compounds that provide a valuable resource to the organic chemist. The skill of designing logical processes to synthesise target molecules is also introduced. A short series of related assessed practical exercises take place in term two. At the end of term one, a written assignment will be set. The module assessment culminates in a final exam.
Analytical Science 2
This module builds on your knowledge of molecular and atomic spectroscopy techniques. You’ll have the opportunity to develop more in-depth interpretation skills for spectroscopic data and be introduced to a range of separation techniques. You’ll also examine the principles and applications of a range of instrumental methods such as differential scanning calorimetry, atomic absorbance spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence and polarography. The application of advanced statistical analysis to analytical data will also be introduced. The module is assessed on a mixture of coursework and a final exam.
Inorganic Chemistry 2
This module builds on your knowledge developed in the Inorganic Chemistry 1 module and introduces the chemistry of the transition metals (d-block). You’ll be introduced to how the d-block metals react to form complexes and how their bonding can explain the optical and magnetic properties observed, in addition to the stability of compounds. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about more advanced types of solid state structure and how to classify solids as semiconductors, metals or insulators. The lecture material is supported by laboratory practical sessions, which reinforce and aid understanding of the theory delivered in lectures. The module is assessed by coursework and formal exam.
Physical Chemistry 2
Building on Physical Chemistry I, you’ll study the behaviour of electrolyte solutions. This is followed by both equilibrium and dynamic electrochemistry and electrochemical processes. The second law of thermodynamics will be applied to chemical systems, describing the driving forces for reactions and the factors controlling chemical equilibria and phase equilibria. Colligative properties of solutions will be covered, as will the properties of colloidal systems. A major practical component is included to illustrate these topics. The module is assessed by exam (and coursework.
Practical Forensic Science 2
This module enables you to extend your practical skills in the analysis of physical evidence to include instrumental methods such as chromatography (gas, liquid and ion), spectroscopy (UV-Vis, IR, fluorescence and mass) and microscopy (optical and electron). Physical evidence types ranging from accelerants used in arson cases to explosive residues, poisons, inks, drugs and soils will be analysed. Other experiments include ballistics, bloodstain pattern analysis and gel electrophoresis of proteins. Assessment is by results sheets.
Crime Scene Investigation
This module introduces you to the principles of crime scene examination (such as anti-contamination and quality procedures), and you'll learn about a wide range of different evidence types within the crime scene context including fire investigation and crime scene photography. In addition to this, you'll have the opportunity to learn how to produce written reports and to defend them orally. This is assessed by a written exam, a practical crime scene exercise and a practical mock court room exercise.
Year 3 - optional placement year
Supervised Work Experience
This optional placement year gives you the opportunity to experience employment within an organisation related to your chosen course. The placement is usually 48 weeks in duration. Placements may be available both within the UK and abroad.
Chemistry Project - Experimental Design
The project module involves you developing an independent research programme. Academic supervisors will outline the aims of the project and direct you to the most recent literature. You’ll plan your project in light of the current state of the field of research and spend one day per week undertaking the research. There's a wide range of different projects available, from developing light-harvesting devices to the synthesis of new antibiotics. There may also be an opportunity to work within companies based at the University. The module is assessed by continual assessment, project dissertation and an oral presentation.
Advanced Chemistry Practical
This module is designed to provide practical support for your final year modules. You’ll be required to undertake extended experiments related to physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. The practical classes will provide an opportunity for you to undertake sophisticated contemporary experimental techniques and to be involved in experimental design. In these extended practical you’ll be assessed through a combination of continuous observation of your laboratory work and through the submission of practical reports.
Organic Chemistry 3
This module draws together the basic concepts of synthesis and reaction mechanisms in the context of providing methods for designing synthetic routes to target compounds. You’ll be able to learn how to differentiate between competing reaction mechanisms. You’ll also be introduced to contemporary preparative methods for the synthesis of organic compounds. The module will be assessed via coursework and an examination.
Physical Chemistry 3
This module has three strands: 1. Synthesis, characterisation and structure property relationships of a series of inorganic and metallic materials. 2. Adsorption at the gas solid interface including theoretical models and surface science characterisation techniques. 3. Synthesis and characterisation of polymeric material. You’ll be assessed by coursework and an examination.
Advanced Forensic Biology and Toxicology
In this module, you’ll be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained in the first two years and you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to utilise the principles of forensic interpretation, which bridges the gap between the analytical results and the presentation of evidence in a court of law. This module focuses predominantly upon the biological evidence types, including body fluid examination, DNA analysis and interpretation, including the analysis of DNA mixtures. There are substantial additional lectures on forensic toxicology and forensic entomology. This module is assessed by coursework and by a written examination.
Forensic Science and the Law
This module covers criminal law and the requirements of the Criminal Justice System and how forensic scientists fit in to this system. In the first term you’ll be required to sit in on a real case at Crown Court and produce a piece of coursework, critically discussing how forensic science could help in this case. The second term focuses on the presentation of evidence and the role of an expert witness. You’ll produce an expert witness statement as a piece of coursework.
We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.
We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.
We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.
Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.
When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.
The course offers an optional one-year (48 weeks) work placement after the second year, in the UK or abroad. We encourage you to gain this real-world experience as it may help to enhance your employability after graduation. We also provide advice and guidance to help you secure a placement.
Previous students from the subject area of Forensic Science have attended supervised, salaried placements in a wide variety of chemistry related organisations, pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturers, food companies, hospital laboratories and research organisations, both in the UK and abroad.
Recently students from the subject area of Forensic Science have completed placements, in either forensic science or analytical science, in organisations such as Scientific Analysis Laboratories and West Yorkshire Analytical Services.
85-94% of graduates from courses in this subject area go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating.
Previous graduates from courses in this subject area of Forensic Science have gone on to work in research and development, management, production and process control, marketing, technical writing and teaching.
Recent graduates from the subject area of Forensic Science have been employed in companies such a BASF and Christeyns UK Ltd.*
- Source: LinkedIn
Professional links and accreditations
This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Teaching and assessment
33% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, tutorials, practicals/workshops etc.
You will be taught through a series of lectures, tutorials and practicals/workshops. Assessment will include written exams, problem solving exercises, assessment of laboratory skills, multiple choice questions (mainly in your first year), oral and poster presentations and written reports.
Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.
Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results.Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.
Huddersfield is the UK's only university where 100% of the permanent teaching staff are fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*
*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching
How much will it cost me?
In 2017/18, the tuition fee for UK and EU students at the University of Huddersfield will be £9,250.
Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).
If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.
Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.
You may have the opportunity during the course to attend an optional 5 day study visit to the Romanian Institute of Legal Medicine. The study visit is open to all students of any year of the degree course. If you choose to attend you'll need to cover the costs, which in recent years have been approximately £450 per student, (this includes airport transfers, flights, accommodation and the study course costs, but does not include subsistence).
Optional short field trips eg. one day, are sometimes also arranged. Previous field trips have included the Wellcome Trust Forensic Exhibition and Bart's Pathology Museum in London. The costs of these field trips must be covered by students and vary dependent on the trip. Previous trip costs have ranged from £10 to £100 per student but are dependent on location.
We know that sometimes students perform better at University than they did at A Level (or equivalent). If you start on the Chemistry with Forensic Science BSc(Hons) course but would really like to be on the Chemistry MChem or Chemistry with with Industrial Experience MChem degree, you'll be able to transfer to the MChem after the first two years, provided that you achieve a minimum academic standard of an overall average mark of 60%.
Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies. There may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this.
Upon successful completion of your undergraduate studies, you may also be interested in training to become a secondary school teacher by taking a PGCE. Look at further details and entry requirements for Science with Chemistry.
If you're an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC). You can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.
If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree course. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.
How to apply
We hope you are interested in what you have seen and want to apply to join us.
Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.
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Here's what student Sohrab has to say about his course in the subject area of Forensic Science.