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What makes Forensic and Applied Biology at Worcester special?

At Worcester you can study forensic science alongside the biological aspects that underpin it, deepening your understanding and enhancing your employment prospects. With the forensic content you can learn 'what' to do, but with the addition of biology you will also learn 'how' and 'why', thus gaining a more rounded body of knowledge highly valued by employers.

All of the modules are interactive and give you all important experience of applying theory in real world practical sessions. Students are taught and supported in comparatively small groups by experts in their field.



Key features

  • Our Forensic and Applied Biology BSc course is ranked 18th out of all Forensic Science courses across the country
  • Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. The first undergraduate degree in the country to be accredited with them for the Forensic Archaeology Component Standard
  • Excellent facilities including research labs, crime scene simulation house, geophysical equipment for detecting concealed burials and crime scene investigation kits
  • Strong industry links with West Mercia and Warwickshire police, and the Severn Area Rescue Association
  • Highly experienced staff with over 100 years combined experience in the field, giving you access to realistic scenes and real cases
  • Graduates successfully compete for both biological and forensic careers 

Joint 2nd for Student Satisfaction

Our Forensic and Applied Biology Course is Joint 2nd in the UK for Student Satisfaction in the Complete University Guide 2024.

Three Counties Medical School

The Three Counties Medical School opened in September 2023 and is now seeking applications from both UK and International graduates.

At Worcester we have an excellent reputation for educating nurses, midwives, physician associates, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals with an interdisciplinary and inter professional approach. This has been achieved by close collaboration with the NHS and our graduates in these disciplines are highly regarded within the local healthcare community.

We are building on our existing strengths in healthcare education, and our strong links with the NHS, to establish the Three Counties Medical School.

Find out more about the Three Counties Medical School

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.

Student views

"There is a very hands on approach which I find enhances the learning. My personal favourite session was when the on-site crime scene house was set up for us to go and investigate, we managed to link it to a car and then to a ' body dump site' it was amazing!!"

Liz Webb, Forensic and Applied Biology student

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

96 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology and A2 another science, maths or statistics.

104 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology.

Other qualifications, such as BTEC in Applied Science or equivalent, and Access to Higher Education (with at least 15 credits of Biological Sciences gained), will also be considered.

T Levels may be used to meet the entry tariff requirements for this course. Find out more about T levels as UCAS tariff points here.

Don't quite meet the entry requirements or returning to education? Consider studying a Biological Science with Foundation Year.

Other information

International Students – Making an Application

If you are applying as an EU or Non-EU student you are strongly advised to apply online through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

If you are using The Common Application, you can add the University of Worcester to your list of colleges via this link and complete the application there. Further information can be found here “Making an International Application”.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide a language test certificate as evidence of their proficiency and must ensure that it is, or is comparable to, Academic IELTs of 6.0 with a score of at least 5.5 in each component.

Mature Students

We welcome applicants who hold alternative qualifications/experience and mature students who can demonstrate the ability to benefit from the course and show their potential to complete the course successfully. Although recent preparatory study at an appropriate level (e.g. an Access to Higher Education Diploma) is recommended, students may be considered on the basis of prior evidenced professional/work experience and/or other assessment procedures, and the assessment of personal suitability. University Admissions Office staff can offer information, advice and guidance on this process. Further information can also be found here.

Two students looking into their microscopes whilst the lecturer leans over the lab counter to talk to them.

Biological sciences foundation year

If you don't quite meet the entry requirements or you're returning to education then you might consider studying this degree with a foundation year.

Find out more about courses with a foundation year
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Kate Unwin

Forensic Science Team Recognised in Prestigious Awards

The University of Worcester’s Forensic Science team was awarded second place at the HE Innovate Awards, which is open to all universities across the UK, in the most innovative hybrid / blended learning project category. The team created an immersive and interactive crime scene simulation package for its students and was recognised for its innovative work creating virtual crime scenes.

These interactive tasks mock-up incidents that crime scene investigators might be called out to, such as a hit and run, a burglary or murder. The simulation package presented students with a range of images of the ‘scene’ from different angles, and some 360-degree images. Users are given initial information, for example, what has occurred, their role and the requirement for them at the scene. Students then have to look around the scene working out what areas are of importance.

There are a number of “hot spots” within a scene which can include additional documentation and participants put their knowledge and techniques into action, working through a series of questions, prompts and requirements to identify and analyse the evidence and draw conclusions.

You can find out more about this award in our recent press release.

Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1


  • Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Introduction to Forensic Sciences
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences


Year 2


  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Medical Forensic Science
  • Forensic archaeology and anthropology
  • Project and Career Development
  • Molecular Genetics 


Year 3


  • Research Project
  • Interpretation, Evaluation and Reporting of Evidence
  • Law and Order
  • Forensic DNA Analysis


  • Pharmacology
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Parasitology
  • Biochemistry of Cancer
  • Extension Module
  • Terrorism and Extremism
  • Sustainability in Public Health

Second Year Module in Focus: Crime Scene Investigation

This module offers an overview of crime scene processing and is taught by a previously operational Crime Scene Manager. The roles of individuals in association with a crime scene is discussed, specifically the role of the Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). Recording of a crime scene including notes, diagrams and routine still and video photography is considered and practiced in our on-site Crime Scene House, as is the collection, packaging, labelling, storage and reporting of physical evidence.

Both volume and major scene scenes are considered and the module will give you a flavour of whether you wish to consider this role in your future career. The module leader has strong links with West Mercia Police and guest speakers come in to provide further operational context. The assessment takes the form of a major scene and even includes a Senior Investigating Officer from the police.

Classes and experiences

Typical student experiences include investigating a sheep brain in the lab, skeletal detection and recovery field studies and work with local police forces. 
Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

We enable you to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of lectures, practical work, field work, video presentations, group tutorials, discussions, directed reading, and formative assessments. The first year also includes study skills sessions. The course is very practical and offers you the opportunity to undertake an independent project in your third year. The emphasis on the development of 'hands on' practical skills will provide you with useful skills for your future career.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

You have an opportunity to take a work experience module in your second or third year, to engage with an Erasmus scheme and spend a semester abroad, or to become involved in staff research through the Vacation Research Assistantship Scheme.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have at least 12 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of lectures
  • 11 hours of supervised laboratory practicals
  • 1 hour of group workshops
  • 1 hour of Study Skills (first year only)

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 27 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve going over your lecture notes and reading around the topic in order to reinforce the content, completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and online, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. You will mainly be taught by senior academics, but visiting speakers with specialised expertise may deliver some sessions. Technicians support practical sessions.

Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and 93 per cent of course lecturers in the Biological Sciences have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. Twenty per cent also have Teaching Fellowships from the University of Worcester. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include practical reports, presentations, posters, on-line activities, essays and examinations (which may be practical, written, data analysis, seen exams or open book exams).

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1

  • Forensic interpretation exercise
  • 4 x Practical file
  • In class theory test
  • In class practical test
  • Group presentation
  • 3 x Exam
  • Individual and group based VLE tests  

Year 2

  • Portfolio
  • Skills test
  • Research proposal
  • Employability portfolio
  • 3 x Practical handbook
  • Part seen examination
  • Unseen examination 

Year 3

  • Interim review
  • Poster presentation
  • Research project
  • Group presentation and peer evaluation
  • Forensic interpretation exercise
  • Forensic expert testimony exercise
  • Forensic DNA portfolio
  • Exam
  • In class test
  • Poster presentation 


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

Here are a few of the current Forensic tutors and guest speakers. The biological aspects on the course will be taught by our specialist Biology tutors.


Kate Unwin

Kate has been a Forensic Biologist since February 2002 and has worked in this area and role since that time, first with the Forensic Science Service as a Reporting Officer and then with Cellmark Forensic Services (to date). She has worked on hundreds of criminal cases, including offences such as sexual offences, serious assaults, murder, burglary, fraud and hit and run. Throughout Kate's time as a Forensic Scientist she has examined evidence, both within a laboratory environment and at scenes of crimes. Kate has been classified as an expert witness and her areas of expertise include body fluid evidence, damage assessment and DNA profiling. Kate has given evidence in both Crown and Magistrates courts (her first court appearance being at the Old Bailey!).

Kate has worked alongside the Police, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), Defence Scientists, CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) and a wide range of specialists and world leaders in the field of Forensic Science. She is currently involved in training and awareness sessions for three local police forces and has used her extensive case work experience to develop a course which gives students a true insight into the world of Forensic Science. Furthermore, the course is enhanced by the use of real case examples and Kate has a passion for enabling students to carry out as much practical work as possible to enhance the theory delivered on the course and maximize their employability opportunities.

Hannah Allen

Hannah Allen

Since graduating from University Hannah has worked within the policing arena. She started her career as a Crime Analyst with the Metropolitan Police Service but quickly moved into Forensic Services, with her last position before joining the University of Worcester in 2022, being the Crime Scene Investigation Technical Manager for West Mercia Police.

She has worked on thousands of crime scenes – both for volume and major crime investigations. She is a Crime Scene Manager and Crime Scene Co-ordinator. Early in her career Hannah also spent time working for the Forensic Science Service, completing scene examinations nationwide for Serious and Organised Crime Investigations conducted by the then National Crime Squad.

Hannah has attended and given evidence in Court and has expensive practical and theoretical experience of all aspects of Crime Scene Investigation, development of Crime Scene Investigators and the requirements for Accreditation under ISO/IEC 17025 and 17020.

Keith Unwin

Keith Unwin

I first became a Forensic scientist in 2000, shortly after I graduated with honours in Applied Biology from Newcastle University. Since that time I have worked for two of the largest Forensic providers in the country. During my time as a court going Reporting officer, I have been involved in many high profile investigation and scenes. I have also been involved in the training of Forensic scientists and police officers in areas of scene examination and court reporting.

In 2011 I became a lecturer at the University of Worcester alongside my role as a Forensic scientist. I found that enjoyed it and that I got great satisfaction from seeing students develop, learn and grow through the three year course and go on to become scientific professionals in their own rights.

Joe butler

Joe Butler

Joe has worked in the forensic sector for over 7 years. He started his career looking at biological evidence types as an examiner working on many high profile cases. Joe used this experience for his final year project at the University of Worcester and to move laterally into working in the drugs department.

Within the drugs department, Joe was fast tracked to become a reporting officer writing evidential statements, as well as attending scenes and court. Joe now works in compliance to ensure policies are being carried out in the forensic sector. He has started his PhD focusing on DNA on drugs wrappings and paraphernalia.

mike wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler

Dr Mike Wheeler is Course Leader for Medical Sciences and joined the University of Worcester in 2010 after researching in the area of plant molecular genetics. Mike developed a strong background in the biology of cell signalling in plants, with specific research into the mechanisms of self-incompatibility in poppy and the control of polarity in pollen tubes of tobacco.

In addition to his research into plant molecular genetics Mike is also developing means of using molecular biology to solve problems in conservation biology which is a longstanding passion of his. In this area Mike is currently developing eDNA (environmental DNA) techniques to assess the effect of invasive and non-native species on species of conservation concern. Mike is also concerned with projects to help people engage with nature as a means to combatting poor mental health. He leads bird walks around the campus and is involved with projects aimed at increasing birdlife around campus to enrich the environment. He is currently involved in a scheme to improve winter feeding for farmland birds at Lakeside campus in partnership with the local RSPB group. He is a member of the Sustainable Environments Research Group.


Dr Beverley Adams-Groom

Beverley is a leading expert in pollen forecasting, providing the UK with forecasts for all the main airborne allergens in association with the Met Office. Beverley's pollen expertise is also applied to the quality assurance of honeys for the UKs honey companies and analysts. This is a form of forensic work, involving identification of pollen extracted from honey of various countries to ensure the origin and floral composition and check for adulteration.


Dr Kate Ashbrook

Kate's background includes four years of post-doctoral studies at the University of Bath and a period as a field researcher for the Canadian Wildlife Service where she contributed to long-term monitoring of a seabird colony in Nunavut, Canada.

Her research interests focus on using modelling to understand the dynamics of ecological systems and inform conservation management.


Dr Steven J Coles

Steve has introduced several new modules to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences curriculum that align with his expertise, including: Immunology and  Biochemistry of Cancer.

Steve has also helped to establish and lead the Worcester Biomedical Research Group, where the research focuses on Cancer, Neurodegeneration and Cardiovascular Disease.

Dr Amy Cherry

Dr Amy Cherry

Amy’s research focuses on understanding how proteins work at the molecular level and on how one can use knowledge of protein structure to tackle disease. Her PhD was sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and investigated the molecular mechanism of Hepatitis C virus replication and possible inhibition strategies which can be used in drug development. Following this, she was awarded a Career Development Fellowship from the Medical Research Council to study proteins involved in DNA repair. She then moved to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm where she studied molecular details of the Hedgehog signalling pathway.

Since joining us, Amy has continued her research as part of the Worcester Biomedical Research Group, studying proteins involved in leukaemia and neurophysiology.


Dr Rob Herbert

Dr Rob Herbert is the quality co-ordinator for the School of Science and the Environment and a Principal Lecturer in Biology, and has been with the University since 1992.

Rob has a background in plant cell biology, specifically flowering and the plant cell cycle and has, more recently, begun to look at problems with crop plants such as post-harvest storage, senescence and susceptibility to disease. His last three papers covered the expression of cell cycle gene WEE1 from Arabidopsis thaliana in tobacco, an analysis of volatile and molecular markers in melon to identify potential makers for food quality assessment and the effect of post-harvest stress on volatile organic compounds in early post-harvest senescence in salad rocket.




This course provides you with the core biology skills and knowledge to make you suitable candidates for all the biological careers available to those students on the mainstream biology programmes as well as forensic areas. These include:

  • Research
  • Biological testing
  • Teacher training
  • Medical sales
  • Diagnostics testing
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Forensic biology / sciences
  • Civil services
  • The police force
  • Further study - Masters / PhD.

There is a good employability rate for this course upon successful completion with our graduates going on to enjoy a variety of opportunities from Forensic toxicology, Forensic DNA analysis, Science based laboratory positions and further studies which include Phd/MSc/MRes in a number of areas such as Genetics / Molecular studies, Forensic Anthropology and teaching qualifications.

This course prepares you for a range of careers in different fields and services, including the police force, fire service, local government and planning, laboratory and environmental research, Civil Service or teaching and all biology careers available to those on a traditional biology degree course (due to the unique combination of forensic and core biology course content).

You will have opportunities to develop a wide range of intellectual, practical and social skills. These include primary research using both quantitative and qualitative techniques, data collection and analysis, oral and verbal communication, critical evaluation and laboratory techniques.

In addition to transferable academic skills, you will develop skills and the confidence to operate in both the forensic area and a wide variety of other work environments.

For example, Biologists who can look at evidence and make measured and reasoned arguments are not only required in scientific fields but also in the media, retailing and finance to ensure there is a balanced view relating to new technology and the estimation of risk.

There is also a need for people to be able to explain these scientific arguments in 'lay' terms, not only in teaching but also in a wide range of other vocations.

Two students are walking next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential

Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard fee for full-time home and EU undergraduate students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £16,200 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the academic year 2024/25 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20-credit module, £2,312 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

Caitlin Dunne

Caitlin Dunne

Caitlin Dunne secured a job as a DNA Interpretation Scientist ad Cellmark Forensic Services in Oxford, one of only three forensic analysis sites in the UK.

“I feel excited and relieved to be able to finally pursue my dream career, though filled with nervous energy with changing careers and cities within the same month as finishing university,” she said. “I feel incredibly proud of my journey, but also very humbled to have achieved this opportunity considering the competitiveness of the field.”

Caitlin is also shortly to start a Master’s degree in Forensic Anthropology and Genocide Investigation at Staffordshire University.

Read Caitlin’s full case study here.

Drew Wiggins

Drew Wiggins

The 21-year-old, who has graduated with a degree in Forensic Science and Applied Biology, is soon to start a graduate entry programme with West Mercia Police as a police constable. “I am sad that my university experience is now behind me, however I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life and starting a career,” she said.

Drew’s aim is to eventually become a detective. She added: “Even though this isn’t a forensic role within the police, many of the skills I have learnt throughout my course will be very valuable. When studying forensic science we also learn about the input from other roles within the police, which is what initially sparked my interest in becoming a police constable.”

Although all three years of her university experience were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Drew said the amount of support from lecturers made it a lot less stressful than it could have been. “Frequent video calls and emails from personal academic tutors allowed me to get help on anything I was struggling with."

Laura Owen

Laura Owen

Laura Owen has completed a BSc (Hons) in Forensic and Applied Biology, having returned to higher education later in life.

“Before studying at the University of Worcester, I had spent a 17-year career in childcare where I had been fortunate enough to work both here and abroad including Egypt and Portugal,” said Laura. “I decided it was time for a career change, an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and face completely new challenges.”

“I found myself rather anxious about returning to education in my mid 30s but soon realised how supportive fellow students are of each other, along with tutors, who realise how dedicated and passionate mature students are towards their studies,” she said. “Studying at the University of Worcester was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

During her degree, Laura volunteered for two years with West Mercia Police within their Forensic Enhancement Laboratory, and after completing her studies secured the role of Forensic Scene Investigator with West Midlands Police.

Joe Butler

Joe Butler

"I owe a great deal of gratitude to the University of Worcester, my time spent studying on the Forensic & Applied biology course was well spent. A week after my last assignment and before I had even been to my own graduation ceremony I was employed by the UK’s largest forensic science provider.

The education I received in Worcester was the impetus that got my foot in the door.  I started my career working in the biology casework department working on a huge variety of cases. This spanned from simple cases to high profile murder cases. I then made a lateral move into the drugs department where I am now a court reporting officer. I wrote my dissertation project on the commercially notorious ‘legal highs’ that have been proliferated by the media. Now these new psychoactive substances form a large amount of the work I see on a daily basis.

During my studies I did a lot of extracurricular activities such as co-founding the student run forensic society, facilitated the training of crime scene investigators, worked on a validation project for police DNA lab, work placement in a morgue. I volunteered with victim support and then went on to become a police support volunteer helping to look for missing persons. I now come back to Worcester to lecture and discuss my expertise."

I am not surprised that the Introduction to Forensic Science module has just won a student's choice award, my first year has been extremely exciting learning all about the different types of evidence that can be detected, collected and interpreted.

Liz Webb, Forensic and Applied Biology student

How to apply

How to apply

Applying through UCAS

Forensic and Applied Biology BSc (Single Honours) - FC41

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.


Kate Unwin

Award Leader

Professional Administrative Service (School of Science and the Environment)