is designed for students who do not meet the requirements for
direct entry to Stage 1 of our degree courses, and is an excellent
conversion course for applicants who have shown academic ability in non-science
We create simulated crime scenes and conduct major incident exercises where you react in real time to an unfolding event. You can even prepare a case for court and present it at a simulated trial in a realistic court environment. You’ll see how forensic skills can also be applied within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Reasons to study Forensic Science with a Foundation Year at Kent
Our foundation year offers you the flexibility to progress to degrees across our Division of Natural Sciences. You many choose a degree in Forensic Science, but equally you could opt for a degree within Biosciences, Chemistry or Sport and Exercise Sciences.
There may also be an opportunity to progress to a four-year MSci programme that includes a final-year research project.
Forensic Science at Kent was ranked 3rd overall in the UK, and 2nd for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2023.
Regular investment in our facilities ensures you learn in a world-class environment.Our unique courses teach you the science behind the crime scenes, as well as criminal law and specialist modules such as ballistics, DNA analysis and digital forensics.
Apply your knowledge and practical skills in our fantastic forensic investigation facilities, which include a crime scene house and vehicles along with industry-standard laboratories.Discover opportunities to spend a year in industry gaining valuable work experience, or spend a year studying abroad.
What you'll learn
In your foundation year, you study compulsory modules in biology, chemistry and scientific methods, plus a choice of optional modules. On successful completion of the foundation year, you will have reached a standard above A level and so be fully equipped to tackle a BSc degree course.
In the first year of your Forensic Science degree, you will start by getting to grips with the broad base of knowledge on which forensic science is built, including core chemistry, biochemistry, drug chemistry, and ballistics. You also develop solid investigative and laboratory skills.
Next you build on this knowledge to cover analytical chemistry, forensic archaeology, digital forensics, fires and explosions, and firearms. You also are trained in forensic expert witness skills.
Our crime scene house helps you to develop your approaches to evidence recording and preservation, and to appreciate the importance of persistence. Extensive use of these practical sessions helps to prepare you for the diverse nature of crime scenes you may encounter in your future career and to develop many transferable skills for the future.
See the modules you'll study
You can also tailor your degree to suit you by adding a professional placement, where you’ll undertake a paid role for a year. This will give you the chance to put into practice the skills you’ve learnt and develop new ones, as well as building important connections. You can also expand your horizons with our year abroad, where you'll study at one of our partner institutions.
There are approximately eight one-hour lectures each week, laboratory classes, project work and problem-solving seminars.
Assessment is by a combination of written examinations, continuous assessment and other assignments. You must pass the Stage 1 examinations in order to go on to Stage 2. Coursework assessments include incident analysis, evidence preservation, presentation skills and expert witness testimony.
You must pass all modules of the foundation year in order to progress onto Stage 1.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- Core and foundation scientific physical, biological, and chemical concepts, terminology, theory, units, conventions, and laboratory methods in relation to forensic science.
- Areas of chemistry as applied to forensic analysis, and areas of bioscience, including cells, biochemistry, human DNA.
- Numeracy, forensic investigation and interpretation and apply them to forensic examination and analysis.
- Incident investigation, evidence recovery, preservation, and presentation as an expert witness within the judicial environment.
You gain intellectual skills in how to:
- Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject to find the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems.
- Recognise and analyse novel problems and plan strategies for their solution by the evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information and data by a variety of computational methods.
- Recognise and implement good measurement science and practice and commonly used forensic laboratory techniques.
- Write essays and present scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences including legal contexts.
- Communicate complex scientific argument to a lay audience.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- Safe handling of chemical materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties, including any specific hazards associated with their use and to risk assess such hazards.
- Conduct of standard laboratory procedures involved in analytical work and in the operation of standard forensic instrumentation.
- Competence in the planning, design and execution of investigations, from the problem-recognition stage through to the evaluation and appraisal of results and findings.
- Safe handling of firearms, ammunition, and propellants; analysis of forensic evidence related to firearms, firearm discharge, and ballistic theory; collision analysis: mathematical interpretation, field application and reconstruction.
- Ability to interpret data derived from laboratory observations and measurements, and to present such data to an examining body in the role of expert witness.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- Communication skills covering both written and oral communication.
- Self-management and organisational skills with the capacity to support life-long learning.
- Problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information.
- Information-retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources.
- IT skills.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Time-management and organisational skills.
- Study skills needed for continuing professional development and preparation for employment as a practicing forensic scientist.
- Ability to plan and implement independent projects at degree level.
The programme aims to:
- Instil enthusiasm for forensic science, an appreciation of its application in different contexts.
- Provide a broad and balanced foundation of the science and law that underpins forensic practice and methodology in a modern society.
- Develop knowledge of the key skills, concepts, theories and practice that underpin forensic science in order to prepare you for stage one of the undergraduate programme.
- Develop the ability to apply knowledge and skills to the solution of forensic problems.
- Teach you the use and understanding of a variety of scientific and quantitative techniques applied to forensic science problems.
- Provide a knowledge and skills base from which you can proceed to further studies in the forensic and scientific area or in aspects of chemistry, physics or bioscience that are relevant to forensic and related practices.
- Provide a stimulating, research-active environment for teaching and learning.
- Provide an understanding of scientific methodology and the ability to undertake and report on an experimental investigation.
- Generate an appreciation of the importance of forensic science and its practice in a judicial, industrial, economic, environmental and social context, and of the importance of chemistry in an industrial, economic, forensic, and social context.