Chemistry with Forensic Science MChem, 4 years

Start date:

2018
2019

This is for you if... you love chemistry and want to get first-hand knowledge of the chemistry needed in forensic science, with a view to a career in that field, or a related PhD.

Typical offer
ABB-ABB
UCAS codes
F1FL, F1FK, F1F5
Department
Chemistry

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281
seadmissions@le.ac.uk

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 2100
chemadmiss@le.ac.uk

Department of Chemistry website

Course description

Course description

Improvements in analytical techniques have led to advances in forensic science. Resonance Raman spectroscopy can be used to detect painting forgeries; DNA fingerprinting, discovered at the University of Leicester, can be used to place a suspect at a crime scene; modern chromatographic techniques combined with mass spectrometry can be used to detect steroids or their metabolites in urine. These are just some of the many examples of how improvements in chemical analysis have been applied to forensic investigations.

If you choose to study for a BSc or MChem degree in Chemistry with Forensic Science you will gain a good understanding of the applications of chemistry across the forensic science field. You will have the opportunity to learn about scientific investigations and the legal system alongside the fundamentally important aspects of chemistry. This will ensure that on graduation you will have the skills necessary for career prospects in both the forensic science and chemistry sectors.

On the MChem course you will discover how chemistry is applied to criminal investigations and the role of science in providing substantial evidence for the Criminal Justice System. The specialised training on offer will give you skills that are highly sought after in forensic science. This degree builds upon the strengths of the University of Leicester, not least our internationally-renowned expertise in Law, Genetics and Biochemistry. You will also visit a crime scene house.

The Department of Chemistry at Leicester is one of the best in the UK for both teaching and research. We have a reputation as a friendly, supportive department that produces highly trained graduates with skills valued by employers. This is because we offer high quality courses that are designed to give you a wide range of employment opportunities, and are carefully structured to ensure you will cover all the relevant topics.

Whichever degree you study, you will always benefit from our excellent teaching, our well-equipped laboratories, our high-quality welfare provision and academic support. You will also reap the benefits of the cutting-edge research being carried out in the department by our academics – the same academics who teach you.

Our specialist research areas include atmospheric chemistry, chemical biology, materials and interfaces, spectroscopy and dynamics, and sustainable synthesis and catalysis. You can be sure of learning about the very latest breakthroughs in each area throughout your course. In your final year, you will carry out your own personal research project, working under one of our academic staff and applying the knowledge and practical skills which you have gained on the course – placing you at the cutting-edge of chemistry research.

What's the difference?

Study for a BSc and you will receive rigorous training in chemistry and related, transferable skills – which will put you in a strong position to apply for a range of different employment sectors. Or you may want to continue your studies by applying for a Masters degree (MSc).

If you specifically want to find work as a chemist, whether in industry or the public sector, you should consider an MChem. The extra depth of experience and knowledge you will gain is valued by prospective employers that use chemical processes, and will keep you competitive in the job market against graduates who may have studied for the longer degrees taught in some European countries. Alternatively, an MChem provides a solid basis for progressing to a PhD.

Each of our three MChem degrees share a common first two years with the respective BSc, during which you can switch between them (transfer from BSc to MChem is subject to satisfactory progress). Both the MChem and BSc degrees are taught and assessed to the same high standards. The difference is one of content, not quality.

Also please note that the Year Abroad option is not available on our BSc degrees.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A/AS-levels: AAB-ABB including Chemistry. The lower offer is given to students studying Chemistry and a second science (Maths, Physics, Biology) Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level.
  • EPQ with A-levels: ABB-BBB + EPQ at grade B
  • GCSE: Grade B/5 Maths (if Maths or Physics not held at A/AS-level)
  • Access to HE Diploma (Science): Pass Diploma with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Distinction. To include 15 credits at Distinction in Chemistry Level 3 modules.  If A-level Chemistry is not held an additional entrance exam will be required.  
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 30-32 points (with grade 5 in Higher Level Chemistry), with a minimum of 16/17 points at HL. The lower offer is given to students studying Chemistry at HL and a second science at HL (Maths, Physics, Biology)   
  • BTEC Nationals: BTEC Diploma in Applied Science with DDD,  If A-Level Chemistry is not held an additional entrance exam will be required.  

Please note: If you do not have grade B at Chemistry A-level, you will need to take a Chemistry assessment test.

Other national and international qualifications considered.

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course, you can apply for the International Foundation Year run by our dedicated International Study Centre. The ISC provides academic and English language support to help you progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester.

Second year entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

Selection Process

When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

Applicants are not normally interviewed. If you receive an offer you will be invited to visit the department.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

International Qualifications

Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

Countries list

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

UK and EU Students

Starting in 2019

  • £9,250 in your first year. Tuition fees are subject to government regulations and may change in future years
  • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,250 for that year
  • Year in Industry: your fee will be 15% of the full-time tuition fee that applies in that year

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Additional costs

You will need to have your final year research project professionally bound. The cost of binding 2 copies of your project is included in your tuition fee.

Please note that you will need to pay a refundable deposit for a locker padlock (£10).

International Students

Starting in 2019

Tuition fees for 2019/20 are yet to be confirmed.

As an indication of what you might pay, the fees for students who started in 2018/19 were:

  • £19,705 per year
  • Year Abroad: £4,926.25, which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee
  • Year in Industry: £2,955.75, which is 15% of the full-time tuition fee

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Additional costs

You will need to have your final year research project professionally bound. The cost of binding 2 copies of your project is included in your tuition fee.

Please note that you will need to pay a refundable deposit for a locker padlock (£10).

Accreditation

Accreditation

This degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

Many of our graduates seek employment in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, which are the largest employers of scientists in the UK and are among the country’s leading manufacturing exporters.

As well as gaining detailed knowledge of different aspects of chemistry you will gain a range of transferable skills from your degree in areas such as problem solving, data analysis, numeracy, computing and time management. This combination of chemistry knowledge and transferable skills means that after you graduate your job prospects are extremely good.

Each of our Chemistry degrees includes a specialist module with guidance on searching and applying for jobs, and on writing CVs and application letters. Plus we have a dedicated Careers Tutor organising careers events throughout the academic year.

Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

Course structure

Year 1

Year 1

During your first year you will be taught a range of fundamental chemistry concepts and practical techniques. You will also study the fundamentals of forensic science and the legal aspects associated with it.

Modules

This is the same as the first year of the BSc.

NB. It is possible to switch at the end of your first year to a regular Chemistry degree, but not to a degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry because of the specialised modules taught on that course.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 2

Year 2

You will learn more advanced practical techniques, get to grips with analytical chemistry and begin to consider your career ambitions and options.

Modules

This is the same as the second year of the BSc.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 3

Year 3

You will spend your third year honing your practical skills and gaining a more complex understanding of chemistry and forensic science, having acquired all the necessary skills and information to be able to pursue a research project of your own.

On an MChem degree you have three options for your third year: a year abroad, an industrial placement, or further study in Leicester.

Spend a year abroad

If you choose to spend a year abroad, you will study relevant Chemistry modules at one of our partner universities and also undertake a research project there in one of the institution's research groups. Eligibility for the year abroad is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2.

Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to work in the private sector, the state sector, a non-governmental organisation or are self-employed you will find the experience invaluable. Find out more from our International Office.

The Department of Chemistry at Leicester has links with several European universities, administered through the European Erasmus scheme. If you are eligible for a loan from Student Finance you can apply for a travel grant from them. During your second year at Leicester you will receive appropriate language training.

  • For the latest information on the future of the Erasmus scheme at UK universities please see our Brexit microsite.

We have links with the following universities:

We also have links with some universities outside Europe. If you are receiving financial assistance from Student Finance your support will continue and you may also be eligible to apply for additional travel grants or scholarships. We have links with the following universities:

American universities

Spend a year working

You will carry out a year long project in the research and development section of your host company, such as developing new drugs or exploring new analytical techniques for testing the purity of petroleum products. You will also study some Year 3 Chemistry modules by distance learning.

In addition to getting paid, throughout your industrial placement you will have all the same entitlements as other employees in the company. Salaries vary but the average is around £15,000-17,000 per year.

Recent host employers include: GlaxoSmithKline, Astra Zeneca, 3M, BASF, the Ministry of Defence, Lubrizol and Reckitt Benckiser.

Unsure whether to spend your third year working in industry or living abroad? You could enjoy both experiences by spending a year working for an overseas employer. If you need language training, this will be provided in Year 2.

If you spend a year in industry, you will take the modules listed below by distance learning.

Stay in Leicester

If you choose to stay in Leicester, in your third year you will continue with your studies, looking at advanced aspects of different areas of chemistry. You will also carry out more in-depth practical experiments to prepare you for your project in Year 4.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose one option module from:

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Final Year

Final Year

Your final year will introduce you to more specialist branches of chemistry, such as cancer chemistry, and develop your existing skills to a standard suitable for professional research.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose three option modules from:

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Why Leicester?

All of our degrees involve an independent research project in the final year. Some of these academic-led research projects have resulted in previous students having their work published in leading scientific journals.

Students are trained as high-level users of state-of-the-art equipment such as UV/Visible spectrometers, gas/liquid chromatographs (GC/MS and HPLC), NMR spectrometers, atomic force microscopes, fluorimeters, FTIR, refractometers, mass spectrometers and X-ray diffractometers.

We focus on high-quality, technically innovative and interactive small group teaching activities. The highlights of these are weekly level 1 and 2 tutorials and an excellent staff to student rations for problem classes, laboratory sessions and our C/PBL activities.

You will benefit from our high teaching standards and dedicated academic and pastoral support structure. Personal, careers, industrial placement, study-abroad and accessibility tutors are all here to ensure that each student has a chance to reach their full potential.

Chemistry at Leicester

Multipurpose labs helped Angus turn the theory he learned in lectures into practical applications.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is a mixture of lectures, tutorials, exams, lab reports, essays, oral presentations, poster design and problem based learning. A typical week might include nine hours of lectures, seven hours of lab work, and two or three workshops or tutorials. You will also be expected to spend several hours each week on private study which might include answering problem sheets, preparing for tutorials or writing up lab reports.

All of our courses are linked to Blackboard – a virtual learning environment that gives you access to lecture notes, self-test exercises, supplementary information and background literature about the course.

We place a strong emphasis on small group tutorials, in which half a dozen students meet with a member of staff to discuss questions arising from the lectures. Often you will go over a set of problems handed out a few days earlier. Tutorials are also an ideal opportunity to discuss any aspects of the course that you don’t fully understand.

Chemistry is, of course, a very practical subject, so strong emphasis is placed on the acquisition of laboratory skills. In Years 1 and 2 you will spend about four to six hours each week in the lab. In your third year, you will increase your lab time to about 10-12 hours per week. In your fourth year you will spend up to 24 hours a week in the lab carrying out your research project.

You are assessed on your performance through exams at the end of the semester or at the end of the year and through continuous assessment throughout your modules.

NB. All lab work is continually assessed - there are no practical exams.

You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor to discuss progress in your studies. Your personal tutor will also provide a sympathetic ear for all matters of personal concern, whether they are academic, financial, housing, career or social issues.

Apply now

Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
Course Chemistry with Forensic Science Qualification MChem Duration 4 years full-time UCAS Code F1FL Availability Apply Now
Course Chemistry with Forensic Science with Year Abroad Qualification MChem Duration 4 years full-time UCAS Code F1FK Availability Apply Now
Course Chemistry with Forensic Science with Year in Industry Qualification MChem Duration 4 years full-time UCAS Code F1F5 Availability Apply Now