Forensic and Applied Biology BSc (Hons)
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.
- 100% overall student satisfaction for Forensic and Applied Biology (NSS 2018)
- According to the complete university guide, Our Forensic and Applied Biology BSc course is ranked 14th out of all Forensic Science courses across the country
- Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. The only 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
"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
This course received 100% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2018)
Chloe, Joe and Becci share their experiences of the course.
What qualifications will you need?
96 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology and A2 another science, maths or statistics.
104 UCAS Tariff points MUST include A2 Biology.
Non-standard entry via the exploratory essay route is available.
The University will consider each application on its individual merits and will recognise a range of qualifications not currently included in the Tariff, including pre-2002 qualifications such as GNVQ.
If your qualifications are not listed, please contact the Admissions Office for advice on 01905 855111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from http://www.ucas.com
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What will you study?
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.
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
How will you be taught?
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.
In a typical week you will have around 16 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)
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.
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:
1 Forensic statement
2 Practical tests
2 Practical files
2 forensic case notes and statements
2 in class tests
3 practical reports
3 exams of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 portfolio of evidence
1 data exercise
1 research proposal
1 CV and practice job interview
1 Independent study report
1 poster presentation
3 examinations of 1.5 or 2 hours duration
1 court room assessment
1 in class tests
3 forensic case notes / witness statement
1 online activity
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.
Meet the team
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 is the course lead for the Forensic and Applied Biology course. She has been a forensic Biologist since 2002 and throughout her time as an expert witness has worked on a full range of cases from violent crimes to sexual offences and murders. This wealth of first hand case work experience informs her teaching and allows her to set up real case examples are learning aids for her students. She is involved in training for local police forces (which her students are usually invited to get involved in) and delivering an exciting and valuable course. Over the years Kate has worked with a large number of experts for a range of forensic disciplines and this means the course always has a number of guest speakers and extracurricular opportunities. Her areas of expertise include Blood Pattern Analysis, forensic DNA profiling, damage assessments, scene work, courts and body fluids. Kate is a practitioner in the field as a consultant forensic biologist.
Bev is a leading expert in pollen forecasting and provides the UK and Ireland with forecasts for all the main airborne allergens, aided by colleagues in the pollen forecast team, and working in association with the UK Met Office. Bev is also involved in the field of palynology, which is the study of microscopic biological particles (mainly pollen and spore identification). She applies this in the quality assurance of honeys for the UK’s 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. Beverley has also worked extensively on crime cases, applying palynology to produce evidence of links between suspect and crime scene.
Keith became a Forensic scientist in 2000, shortly after graduating with honours in Applied Biology from Newcastle University. Since that time Keith has worked for two of the largest Forensic providers in the country.
During his time as a court going Reporting officer, Keith has been involved in many high profile investigation and scenes. He has also been involved in the training of Forensic scientists and police officers in areas of scene examination and court reporting.
Having spent nearly 30 years as a Crime Scene Investigator, latterly dealing only with major crime, Tristram Elmhirst brings these skills to the Crime Scene Investigation elements of the course. The students are taken through a range of evidence types from fingerprints, DNA, footwear, fibres and other trace evidence types. Tristram also covers how specific crime scenes are investigated, for example arson scenes or murder scenes and he gives real case studies to illustrate concepts and methodology. The theories are then backed up with practicals based on forensic recovery and mocked up crime scene - based on real life scenarios.
Since completing his degree at the University of Worcester Joe Butler now works as Reporting Officer at LGC Forensic. He has specialised as in the analysis of drugs and related materials under government legislation. He writes scientific findings in the form of court reports on a daily basis and can be asked to present evidence in court as an expert witness. Joe is a guest speaker / lecturer to students on the Forensic & Applied biology course offering insight into current practices in the industry as well as career advice on moving from university to employment in forensic science.
Rebecca Woolridge graduated from the University of Worcester in 2015 with a degree in Forensic and Applied Biology. She began her career working as a Forensic DNA Analyst for one of the UK's leading private forensic providers, Cellmark. There she developed a keen interest in the analysis of data, which lead her to peruse a career within this field.
Rebecca now works for West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police, where she interrogates crime and incident data as part of a continuous improvement process.
Dr Oliver Dalby is a reporting scientist at Cellmark Forensic Services, where he has worked since 2012. Oliver’s specialism is gunshot residue (GSR). As a reporting scientist his role encompasses; assessing cases, producing examination strategies, examining items for GSR, writing reports and statement and presenting evidence in court as an expert witness. Oliver has a B.Sc. in forensic science and a Doctorate in analytical chemistry with ballistic applications.
Where could it take you?
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:
- Biological testing
- Teacher training
- Medical sales
- Diagnostics testing
- Crime scene investigation
- Forensic science
- 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 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.
Request or download a prospectusRequest now
How much will it cost?
Full-time tuition fees
UK and EU students
The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £9,250 per year.
For more details, please visit our course fees page.
The standard tuition fee for full-time international (non-EU) students registering in the academic year 2019/20 will be £12,400 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 registering on this course in the academic year 2019/20 will be £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module and £2,313 per 30-credit module.
For more details, please visit our course fees page.
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 a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.
Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.
We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 prices).
For full details visit our accommodation page.
"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 do you apply?
Applying through UCAS
Forensic and Applied Biology BSc (Single Honours) FC41 BSc/FSAB
UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.