Introductory Forensic Science 1

Module code: CH1208

Over 6 million crimes took place in the UK in the year up to June 2018 (excluding fraud and cyber-crime). The diversity, complexity and nature of these crimes present huge technical and societal challenges. In the typical absence of a confession and recognising that eyewitness testimony may be unreliable, there is a clear need for objective, quantitative and scientifically verifiable evidence. This is where forensic science comes in, in which chemistry plays a vital part. 

The application of scientific methods to criminal investigations is increasingly important. Analysis of trace evidence may link a victim and a suspect to each other or to the scene of an incident. In extreme cases, it may reveal the cause of death. Techniques based on fingerprint and DNA analysis can identify a potential suspect or the victim of a crime or a natural disaster. Such evidence may support the guilt or innocence of an individual or, at an earlier stage, may guide an investigation. 

In this module, you'll consider the critical developments in the history of forensic science, revealing how they have shaped the field, the basic principles of forensic science and the role played by forensic scientists. 

In this module, you'll learn how to manage a crime scene, collect evidence appropriately and identify the right laboratory techniques for its analysis. You'll gain an appreciation of quality and standards within the process of evidence collection, storage and analysis. Within the context of forensic science, you'll enhance your teamwork and communication skills, which are vital in the interaction of scientific experts with legal professionals, the police and the public in a courtroom setting.  


  • 25 hours of lectures
  • 8 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 117 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework (100%)