Would you like to gain an insight into criminal profiling and crime scene investigation, while exploring how and why crimes are committed
Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, USW’s Forensic Science with Criminology course allows you to explore your interests in the scientific and forensic investigation of crime, while exploring the nature, consequences and prevention of criminal behaviour.
You’ll gain the practical skills and knowledge to examine crime scene evidence and study relationships between professionals in the criminal justice sector, including how forensic scientists work alongside police forensic teams and the wider criminal justice sector to achieve successful prosecutions.
You’ll be introduced to many traditional fields of crime scene analysis, including the scientific investigations of fires and homicides, plus a range of approaches from the field of chemistry.
The Forensic Science with Criminology course takes you on a journey from crime scene to court, experiencing many traditional and specialist fields of forensic investigation, allowing you become an expert both in the laboratory analysis of evidence using techniques derived from the field of chemistry whilst exploring critical issues in the interdisciplinary field of criminal investigation and criminal behaviour which explores research from a range of scientific and social areas.
It explores crime scene investigation and the criminal justice sector at introductory levels, followed by analytical and forensic investigations of a wide range of evidence types, leading to you acquiring an ability to provide a full scientific and statistical evaluation of evidence.
You will also study the various relationships between professionals in the criminal justice sector, including how forensic scientists work along with the police forensic team and the wider criminal justice sector to achieve successful prosecutions.
Foundation Year: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree
- Foundation Biology
This module will provide the fundamental knowledge of living things, and the processes which enable them to survive and reproduce. Students will gain an appreciation of the evolutionary processes, which lead to the modern diversity of the living world. Areas covered include, basic biochemistry and cell structure, applications of enzymes, nucleic acids, genetics, biodiversity and physiology of body systems, microbiology, metabolism and the nervous system.
- Key Skills and Professional Development
This module aims to introduce students to, and allow them to develop, the key kills required to complete a science degree and continue to engage in lifelong learning: such skills include: identifying learning strategies, critical thinking, academic writing/practice, presentation skills, preparation for employment and professional conduct.
- Introduction to Forensic Science and Criminal Justice
This module will introduce the student to critical thinking and problem solving specifically in a forensic investigation context, whilst at the same time introducing the roles of experts and the branches of forensics, which may be utilised within an investigation. The student will be introduced to the purpose of criminal justice, key elements of the criminal justice system and the Courts. Students will analyse crime cases with emphasis on investigation, forming logical conclusions based on fact and scientific data.
- Scientific Data Literacy
This module looks to provide students with the understanding of and ability to apply simple mathematical tools that will allow them to obtain, interpret, manipulate, present and explain the significance of scientific data and appreciate the role mathematics plays in the sciences. This module is designed to develop and support the student’s application of numerical literacy and data handling set in the broad context of science.
- Foundation Chemistry
This module will introduce the student to the fundamental concepts of inorganic and organic chemistry, enabling the student to use the symbolism and calculations involved in qualitative and quantitative descriptions of chemical reactions and gain an understanding of basic functional group chemistry. It will provide an environment that encourages an inquiring, investigative approach.
- Physical Science
This module will introduce the student to some fundamental concepts in the physical sciences and provides an environment that encourages an inquiring, investigative approach. Students will be introduced to topics including, units, measurement and errors, heat and temperature, light and spectroscopy, conservation of energy, factors affecting rate of reaction and chemical equilibria.
Year One: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree
- Introduction to Forensic Science
This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the technical and practical aspects of selected topics within forensic science. Areas covered include forensic geology; forensic odontology and anthropology; homicide investigation; criminal profiling; forensic entomology; accident investigation; current and anticipated crime trends and legal systems in England and Wales.
- Introduction to Criminalistics
The practice of forensic science requires an understanding of a broad range of forensic topics and involves many investigative techniques. This module will provide you with the knowledge, practical understanding and technical ability relating to the investigation of crime. Here you will study introduction to crime scene investigation; documentation; collection and preservation of physical evidence; interpretation of crime scene evidence and crime scene reconstruction.
- Key Skills for Forensic Practice
This module will provide you with an appreciation of the principles of safe working in laboratories, accident prevention and the promotion of safety in the workplace and the consequences for health due to exposure to hazards. You will develop an understanding of the information concerning hazards in performing experimental work and in the calculation of the probability of an accident and to estimate risk. Additionally the use of IT for scientific working, accessing journals and referencing skills are provided.
- Crime Analysis, Criminal Justice and the Courts
This module aims to provide students with the scientific tools to evaluate crime, its origin and context, prevalence, and effects upon victims and society. The student will gain an overview of the classification of criminal offences and the forensic evidence associated with each. Areas covered include, statistical methods for data analysis, patterns and trends in criminal offences, police recorded crimes, organised and cross-border crimes, victimisation, crime prevention and methods to evaluate a broad range of forensic evidence.
- Chemical Concepts for the Forensic Sciences
This module will introduce the student to fundamental concepts in physical and inorganic chemistry that support the forensic sciences, allowing the student to develop problem solving and mathematical skills that will support their application of fundamental chemical concepts. Students will study the following topics, equilibrium, including acid dissociation and the concept of pH, kinetics, thermodynamics, atomic structure, models for bonding, shapes of molecules and an introduction to transition metal and coordination chemistry.
- Fundamental Chemistry for the Forensic Sciences
This module will introduce the student to fundamental concepts in organic, biological and analytical chemistry and support the development of further analytical skills in the forensic sciences. Areas covered include, bonding within organic molecules, functional group recognition, structural isomers, stereoisomers, conformers of alkanes, intermolecular forces, fundamental reactions and mechanisms in organic chemistry, steric factors, carbohydrates and amino acids.
Year Two: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree
- Volume Crime Scene Investigation
Within this module you will gain practical digital imaging, crime scene photography and video experience recording a variety of crime scenes scenarios. This will involve studying the theoretical aspects of photography, and equipment: Films and film speeds, camera formats, focal length, aperture and depth of field, lighting techniques and flash. In addition to this, you will gain practical training in core skills for the crime scene investigator within a series of simulated volume crime scenes including vehicle examination.
- Forensic Evidence
Through studying this module you will understand the role, duties and limitations of expert witnesses within forensic science provision. In addition to this, you will develop competence in analysing; summarising, presenting, organising and reporting on trace evidence types and receive instruction on the retrieval and evaluation of data and information from accident scenes.
- Investigative Approaches
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the reactive and proactive approaches to criminal investigations and the capacity to appreciate the complex nature of offender motivation and consequences for the crime scene. The student will be introduced to the complex field of forensic psychology, to understand its role and uses in the criminal investigation procedure, police investigative approaches and investigative interviewing.
- Sentencing, the Penal System and Rehabilitation
This module aims to provide students with a comprehensive overview of sentencing and the penal system, and their roles in offender management. Students will gain an insight into various approaches utilised in the process of offender rehabilitation, including, sentencing in England and Wales, the penal system, probation, prison and imprisonment, rehabilitation and restorative justice.
The module aims to broaden and deepen the students’ knowledge of the principles and applications of molecular spectroscopy and apply spectroscopic techniques and data to solve chemical based questions. Students will learn the concepts and classification of spectroscopic techniques, electronic spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy, emission spectroscopy, uses of spectroscopy in organic chemistry experiments and NMR spectroscopy.
- Analytical Chemistry
This module introduces the principles and applications of modern analytical chromatographic methods, sample preparation and instrumentation, with a particular emphasis upon their applications in forensic, toxicological, pharmaceutical and environmental analysis. The student will acquire an understanding of the criteria in the selection of analytical techniques and learn to develop a capacity for the critical appraisal of the quality and significance of analytical data, and instil Good Laboratory Practice.
Year Three: Forensic Science with Criminology Degree
- Research, Employability and Professional Skills
This will involve the scientific evaluation of cases and evidence and statistical evaluation of forensic evidence and professional ethics and standards. Cases will include forensic pathology, homicide, suicide and accidental death amongst others. In addition to this, you will be introduced to the courtroom processes and the role of the expert witness, barristers, cross-examination and evidence in chief. As part of this module, you will conduct a literature review, which will involve a critical evaluation of primary information and data on a selected topic within forensic science.
- Specialist Subjects in Crime Investigation
This module aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of a wide range of specialist and serious offences including the study of their origins, offender motivation, and traceability including a focus on evidence, and the associated legal frameworks and penalties. Areas covered, include, drugs, new psychoactive substances and alcohol, environmental crime, organised corporate crime, extremism, radicalisation and terrorism.
- Case Management and Review
This module aims to provide students with evaluation and interpretation skills concerning forensic case management. Students will gain the knowledge of current quality and standards requirements and procedures embedded within Forensic Casework and associated pre- and post-examination processes. This is a largely independent study module, whereby students will produce a review of a major case, or a compilation of smaller cases, to evaluate forensic evidence integrity, continuity and storage of exhibits, policing, court processes and case management.
- Fire and Explosion Investigation
This module provides an in-depth and detailed overview of fire science, fire scene investigation, fatal fire investigation, vehicle fire investigation, explosives and explosion scene investigation.
- Forensic Microscopy
You will develop an understanding of the optic principles involved in microscopy and appreciate the microscope as an instrument to examine and analyse specimens, which are applicable to forensic science. In addition to this, you will develop a capacity to interpret images and draw conclusions from these observations. Samples may include textiles, fibres, food and drugs, soil, pollen and tissue samples. In addition to this, you will gain an understanding in, and hands on experience of using the Scanning Electron Microscope.
- Advanced Analytical Chemistry
This module will broaden the student’s knowledge of analytical chemistry and practical skills through the study of modern instrumental methods of analysis. Students will develop the ability to critically assess the relative merits of named analytical techniques and analytical data.