Chemistry with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) or MChem (Hons) – 2017 entry

The opportunity for Professional Training was one of the main reasons why I chose Surrey and the range of placements offered was also a factor. It meant that I could ‘try out’ a specific area of chemistry and see if it was for me before I graduated.

I’d definitely recommend doing a Professional Training placement as it really does help you grow in chemistry, and also helps you decide what area you want to go into after graduation.

What you'll study

The crucial attributes of a forensic chemist are an alert and enquiring mind, keen problem­-solving ability and excellent presentation skills, all supported by a solid knowledge of chemical and analytical techniques.

With our commitment to scientific communication and strong professional connections, we are uniquely placed to give you the opportunity to acquire these skills, gaining invaluable interaction with the professional world.

We nurture and encourage talented scientists by teaching the basic skills in chemistry and providing you with the freedom to translate your ideas into practice.

You will benefit from our degrees if you are fascinated by science at the molecular level, curious about cutting­-edge concepts, motivated by having in­-built flexibility in your learning programme and stimulated by mixing with like-­minded people.

Programme overview

The crucial attributes of a forensic chemist are an alert and enquiring mind, keen problem­solving ability and excellent presentation skills, all supported by a solid knowledge of chemical and analytical techniques.

With our commitment to scientific communication and strong professional connections, we are uniquely placed to give you the opportunity to acquire these skills, gaining invaluable interaction with the professional world.

In each year, you will study for the equivalent of 120 credits, with options at each level, particularly in your final year. In addition to the core Chemistry programme, you will study specialist modules covering topics in:

  • Forensic chemistry
  • Forensic evidence
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Toxicology of drugs (including performance­-enhancing drugs)
  • DNA profiling

Delivered by experts in their field, using innovative teaching methods, the programme includes problem­solving using ‘real’ case studies. You will be given a thorough analytical grounding using state­-of­-the-­art instrumentation.

Both the Industrial Research year and the final­-year research project provide you with an opportunity to exploit these areas of expertise and place you in a strong position when competing with other graduates in the job market.

Many students prefer to study forensic investigation within our BSc programme, which offers the opportunity to complete your course in three years.

You will largely do the same forensics modules as the MChem programme, but without the requirement for higher level Masters modules in your final year.

The BSc can be taken as a four-­year option by including a Professional Training placement to broaden your skills and experience, and enhance your future employment prospects.

You have the option to transfer to the MChem programme at the end of the second year, after demonstrating sufficient academic progress.

Read about the experience of Chemistry student Laura Kent.

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

In Year 1, you are given a broad base of knowledge and skills, providing an essential grounding in chemical theory and practical techniques in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

Compulsory Chemistry modules:

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

During Year 2, you will explore chemistry in greater depth and apply theories to more complex scenarios, such as group problem solving and research collaboration.

Equally, you will continue to hone your practical skills in the laboratory, with a specific focus placed on preparing for your Professional Training placement year. You will undertake key skills modules that will support you on this placement and in your future employment.

Compulsory Chemistry modules:

Optional modules:

Professional Training placements

  • Optional Professional Training year for BSc degrees
  • Compulsory Industrial Research year for MChem degrees

Distance learning modules (MChem only) include:

Year 3 (BSc final year, FHEQ Level 6)

In your final year, the compulsory taught modules that you study vary, depending on your specialist pathway.

The largest single component of the year is the research project, carried out under the supervision of a member of academic staff, when you will work alongside PhD students and post­-doctoral researchers and explore a research area in which you are especially interested.

Compulsory BSc modules:

Optional BSc modules:

Students choose 2 from the optional modules marked *

Students choose 1 from the optional modules marked **

Compulsory MChem modules:

Year 4 (MChem final year, FHEQ Level 7)

Compulsory MChem modules include:

Optional modules include:

Professional recognition

Our MChem and BSc degree programmes are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Graduation, with experience, can lead to Chartered Chemist status (CChem) with an MChem degree, and admission to the Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC) professional grade with a BSc degree.

The Chemistry with Forensic Investigation programme has also been accepted into corporate membership of the Forensic Science Society.

Professional Training placements

Our programmes provide you with the opportunity to undertake a placement with an industrial placement provider in the UK or overseas.

Placements help you become confident in problem­solving and communication, and to acquire management and leadership skills. This industry experience will give you a real advantage in whatever career you choose to pursue – whether in science, industry, government or education.

In the increasingly competitive world of graduate employment, research shows that companies are more likely to consider applicants who have had previous professional experience.

Many companies hosting Professional Training placements offer our students employment upon graduation.

Companies that participate in our scheme include:

  • BP
  • British Geological Survey
  • De La Rue International Ltd
  • Dow Analytical Technology
  • Grace Davison
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Procter & Gamble
  • RJ Hill Laboratories
  • LB Foster Rail Technologies
  • 3M


On our programmes you will experience a variety of teaching methods, including project­-based laboratory work, tutorials, problem­ solving classes and assessed coursework, alongside lectures and seminars.

The Transferable and Quantitative Skills modules develop oral presentation, graphic presentation, teamwork and leadership skills.

Each week you spend around 24 hours in lectures, practical classes and tutorials. This provides you with the opportunity to explore topics in small group tutorials and utilise computer­-assisted learning packages to enrich your understanding.

Personal study time is primarily taken up with coursework and practical assignments.


Modules are assessed by written examination, coursework or a combination of both. Year 1 marks do not count towards the final degree classification, but they do determine whether you are able to proceed to Year 2.

You are required to achieve 60 per cent on assessments in Years 1 and 2 to continue on the MChem programmes. Students achieving less than this will continue their studies on the BSc programme.

Marks towards the final degree classification of our MChem programmes are accrued from the Year 2 assessment (25 per cent), Industrial Research year assessment (35 per cent) and Year 4 assessment (40 per cent).

Marks towards the final degree classification of our BSc programmes are accrued from Year 2 assessment (35 per cent) and Year 3 assessment (65 per cent). A Professional Training year may be taken in the BSc programme, but this does not contribute to the degree classification.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 2 per cent personal tutorial/small group teaching
  • 6 per cent medium group teaching
  • 29 per cent large group teaching
  • 63 per cent studying and revising in your own time


The laboratories in which you undertake practical work have recently been refurbished with modern equipment. Our commitment to the development of your practical skills means that you wil spend a great deal of time utilising these facilities.

For your research project in Year 3, you will work within our research laboratories alongside active researchers.

Career opportunities

Over the last decade, our employment figures have been amongst the best in the UK, with impressive salaries being paid. We place 70–80 per cent of our graduates into graduate­-level jobs, compared with the national average of 66 per cent.

While many of you will enter the chemical industry, as positions often follow naturally from successful Professional Training placements, others will continue studying (MSc or PhD). Our graduates are very successful, not only in the industrial sector but also in finance, government and education.

Graduate prospects

Recent graduates have entered employment in roles such as:

  • EDF Energy, Graduate Trainee
  • GlaxoSmithKline, Quality Assurance Scientist
  • LGC Forensics, Forensic Scientist
  • Novartis, Scientific Associate
  • Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Electrophysiologist
  • Oxis Energy, Research Scientist
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, Assistant Editor

Academic support

You are allocated a personal tutor to guide you through the programme and to advise on option and career choices, helping you get the most from your studies. You are also paired with a student from the year of study above you.

They provide a peer-­based form of support, advising on options and study skills, allowing you to benefit from their recent experience on the programme.

Global opportunities

You may wish to consider spending your Professional Training year working in another country.

Students have worked at Aalto University in Finland or in Canada or New Zealand.

If you work in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant, as well as your full student loan if undertaking an unpaid research placement at one of our partner universities such as La Sapienza in Rome or Aalto in Finland. This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also improve or learn another language.

Learn more about the Erasmus programme or discover where our global opportunities can take you.

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?




We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers.

Those applicants taking part in the Science Practical Endorsement in Chemistry are required to attain a pass grade.


Access to HE Diploma

BSc: QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit - QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 Credits at Merit.

MChem: QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 Level 3 credits at Distinction - QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma



European Baccalaureate

BSc: 75 per cent-74 per cent

MChem: 76 per cent-75 per cent

International Baccalaureate

BSc: 35-34 points

MChem: 36-35 points

Scottish Highers


Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB-Scottish Advanced Highers ABB/Scottish Highers AABBB


Scottish Advanced Highers AAA/Scottish Highers AAAAB-Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate


Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA-Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AB


Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or international equivalent – see relevant country page).

At least two science A-levels including Chemistry. 

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

See 2018 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BSc (Hons) 3 years F1FK View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 4 years F1FL View KIS data set
MChem (Hons) 4 years F1F4 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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