Module code: CHE1039

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to give students a fundamental understanding of the conceptual frameworks underpinning forensic science. In this first year module a very wide array of evidence types are covered. Casework examples are used to give students a broad understanding of how forensic evidence is retrieved, packaged, analysed and reported in court. This module interacts with material that students are taught through analytical chemistry modules and demonstrates the application of relevant techniques to forensic casework.

Module provider


Module Leader

CARTA Daniela (Chemistry)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 15

Laboratory Hours: 9

Practical/Performance Hours: 7

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

What is forensic science? Locard’s Principle; The nature of forensic evidence, forensic science categories. The history of forensic science and its place in modern society. When is forensic science needed?

Providers of forensic science: LGC, DSTL, independent practitioners

Crime scene investigation, the nature of a crime scene, zoning and crime scene management, collection protection and documenting of evidence

Trace and contact evidence. Direct and circumstantial evidence, physical and biological evidence, fingerprint evidence

General examination methods (blood, firearms, explosives)

Document, ink and handwriting examination, post-mortem interval and identification of human remains, introduction to forensic pathology

Introduction to the law; types of offences, CPS, types of course, statements and presentation of forensic evidence

Forensic case studies

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CSI field day 10
Practical based assessment Practical work 30
Examination Examination (1.5 h) 60

Alternative Assessment

CSI day resit: 3,000 word essay on crime scene collection procedures

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to assess whether students meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Examination – 1.5 hours

• 3 Laboratory write ups

• CSI field day write up – approximately 2,000 words

Formative assessment

Multiple choice test questions during exam tutorial



Laboratory scripts marked and returned during the semester, discussions sessions, practice exam questions

Module aims

  • introduce organisational and legal aspects of forensic science
  • examine laboratory methods associated with search and recovery of items of evidence
  • introduce policies, procedures and protocols associated with accreditation of laboratories and expert witnesses
  • introduce the use of chemical methods in forensic science

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge of organisational, accreditation and legal aspects of forensic chemistry K
002 Demonstrate knowledge of the different forms of analysis applied to different forms of physical evidence KP
003 Demonstrate knowledge of crime scene management KP
004 Demonstrate recording of a crime scene KP
005 Give an account of the potential utility of chemical methods in examination of forensic evidence C

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Provide students with hands on experience of current forensic chemistry methods by practical sessions, workshops and the CSI days Provide students with an understanding of the legal and organization aspects of forensic science, collection of evidence and presentation in court through lectures, casework examples, videos and discussions.

The learning and teaching methods include:

• Workshops (2 x 1 hour sessions)

• Laboratory sessions (3 x 3 hour sessions)

• Crime scene field day

• Lectures (15 total)

• Exam tutorial

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: CHE1039

Other information

Description n.a. Category n.a. Amount n.a. Included in fees? n.a.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry MChem 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation MChem 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.