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Forensic essays



Become a highly skilled and confident forensic scientist, fully prepared to investigate crime scenes, analyse evidence and present findings in court.

  • If you have the ability to study for a degree, but don’t have the necessary formal qualifications to enter directly on to the honours degree programme, you can choose to start at foundation year stage
  • Work alongside forensic scientists, fingerprint experts, police officers, lawyers and judges to gain real insights into all aspects of the profession
  • Hone your skills in authentic environments including our high-specification forensic laboratories and courtrooms
  • Gain hands-on experience of mock investigations with our Forensic Training Facility and crime scene cars
  • You will have the opportunity to undertake a year-long placement in a forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories with our partner East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU)
  • Choose optional modules in chemistry and become eligible for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry

This course is available to international students

Separate the facts from the fiction on this dynamic course. We will fuel your passion for a forensic science career in a way that TV shows like CSI cannot match.

Studying Forensic Science with a foundation year is for you if you have the ability to study for a degree, but don’t have the necessary formal qualifications to enter directly on to the honours degree programme.

It provides you with a firm grounding in the skills and knowledge you need and introduces you to the subject of Forensic Science, enabling you to achieve your full honours degree in four years.

Harnessing our exceptional facilities, you’ll be guided through the full range of forensic practices and processes – from crime scene analysis to presenting evidence in court.

You’ll investigate mock crime scenes including break-ins, arson, assaults, road traffic accidents, drug and computer crime. This will help you prepare for the diverse scenarios that you are likely to encounter throughout your career.

Using latest biological and analytical equipment, you’ll develop high-level skills in areas such as fingerprint, human tissue, DNA and blood pattern analysis. You’ll also explore how entomology and tissue decay can assist the forensic scientist and there is the opportunity to observe a post mortem.

Our course even includes practice in delivering evidence in court: you’ll present your findings in our newly refurbished courtroom and will be cross-examined by barristers just as you would be in the world of work.

Forensic science is a hands-on discipline so we provide a stimulating learning environment for you to develop key practical skills and techniques.

Our custom-built Forensic Training Facility. which opened in 2015, is used to create scenarios in different domestic and commercial settings, including a bedroom, bathroom, garage, office, store and Pharmacy. It also features a blood pattern analysis room.

The house is fitted with state-of-the-art digital surveillance including panoramic CCTV recording and equipment for two-way audio feedback. You’ll be able to work on crime scenarios independently while tutors monitor your progress in real time from a control room.

The building was designed to such a precise specification that it is regularly used by external clients such as the emergency services for their own staff training. We also have two crime scene cars donated by Toyota Manufacturing UK.

This is an applied science course based on subjects such as organic chemistry and molecular biology, so it teaches you to be highly analytical.

We boast dedicated forensic, biological and chemical laboratories featuring modern instrumentation where you can put your theoretical knowledge into practice.

We hold a Class A drugs licence and firearms collection. If you choose our Forensic Anthropology module, you will also work with a variety of archaeological specimens including Anglo Saxon skeletons loaned to us by Derby Museum.

We work in close partnership with Derbyshire Constabulary, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and the East Midlands Scientific Operations Unit (EMSOU). These collaborations open up exciting opportunities for you and help make your learning experience as realistic as possible.

You’ll benefit, for instance, from the expertise of visiting police forensic trainers on projects in our crime scene house and you’ll take part in interactive fire demonstrations at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Training Station.

We also offer the opportunity for you to undertake a placement with EMSOU in their forensic imaging unit, footwear unit or forensic analytical service laboratories.

Our staff are supportive, approachable and passionate about their subjects. In addition to their academic expertise, they have nearly 30 years of commercial forensic experience between them.

You’ll be taught by active researchers conducting important studies into fields such as forensic handwriting and document analysis, forensic entomology, forensic photography, fingerprint detection and enhancement techniques, blood pattern analysis and fire investigations.

Visiting speakers will share their experiences with you and help you learn more about latest developments in forensics. There are opportunities to hear from other criminal justice professionals too, such as police officers, lawyers and judges.

For your final-year research project, you will have the chance to focus on the area which interests you most. Our students have undertaken fascinating investigations into everything from ballistics and trace detection of explosives to forensic photography and document analysis.

We support you to share your research through high-profile conferences or forensic journals. Each year our students attend the East Midlands Forensics Institute Research Network (FIRN) conference to showcase their findings and network with other professionals. Such activities can raise your profile as a talent of the future, helping you to stand out in a highly competitive job market.

Our students and graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards from organisations like FIRN and the Fingerprint Society or to present innovative projects at the Houses of Parliament.

  • English
  • Maths
  • Study Skills in Science
  • Research Methods and Data Handling
  • Foundation in Forensic Science
  • Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Principles of Cellular Biology
  • Principles of Chemistry

If you already have level 2 English and Maths, you will not be required to take English and Maths core modules.

  • Induction Module
  • Genetics‌
  • Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation
  • Introduction to Forensic Chemistry‌
  • Introduction to Forensic Science‌
  • Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice for Forensic Science‌
  • Chemistry of Life
  • Crime Scene to Court‌
  • Molecular Biology
  • Forensic Analysis‌
  • Trace Evidence‌
  • Analytical Chemistry‌
  • Forensic Anthropology‌
  • Forensic Imaging‌
  • The Cell‌
  • Serious and Organised Crime
  • Independent Studies for Forensic Science
  • Professional Practice‌
  • Applied Entomology‌
  • Medical Forensics‌
  • Toxicology and Drugs of Abuse‌
  • The Human Genome‌
  • Vocational Module

Between stages two and three, you can apply to work in industry for a period of extended professional experience. This will give you a great opportunity to use your theoretical and practical skills. Placements commence in the summer and last for a period of approximately 36 weeks. You'll also be able to select optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree to your future career aspirations, and keep a continuous personal development portfolio which will help prepare you for life after university.

Each module has a minimum of four hours of contact time per week in each semester. A typical student takes three modules per semester and would therefore have 12 hours of contact time per week. Students are expected to additionally undertake 16 hours of directed study per week, per module.

For students starting their course in 2017/18, the full-time undergraduate fees will be £9,250 per year for all courses (or £1,155 per module if a part-time option is available).

Further information for 2017/18 fees will be released January 2017.

Our course provides a variety of learning experiences to engage you, including crime scene training, fieldtrips, lectures, and practical sessions. We hold licences for drugs and firearms to provide a realistic forensics training environment. You’ll also have the opportunity to observe a post-mortem.

You’ll be assessed through a range of mediums, including formal witness statements and expert testimony, as well as case studies, essays, laboratory reports, portfolios, examinations and presentations.

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will be communicated after enrolment on your course.

Forensics at Derby gives you a solid foundation for success in a challenging and pioneering profession. You could pursue your career in the forensic science sector, criminal justice system or any industry where a good science degree is invaluable. Alternatively you could secure employment with law firms or insurance companies.

Our graduates now work in roles such as scenes of crimes officers, analytical chemists, forensic laboratory technicians, forensic intelligence analysts, microbiologists and PCR analysts. They are employed by police forces as well as companies like Scientifics, Rolls-Royce and LGC Forensics.

The degree also provides a firm foundation for postgraduate level learning. Because it is an applied science course, it equips you to progress to qualifications in medicine and can pave the way to MSc, MPhil or PhD study. Some students also go on to teaching careers within secondary or further education after studying our PGCE Post-14 (Education and Training) Qualification.

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