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Forensic Science

Course Code: FSCFT
  • Level: 3
  • Qualification: Access, Diploma
  • Awarding body: Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA)
  • Duration: One year
  • Course type: Full-time
  • Time of day: Daytime
  • When you'll study: Various days and times - three days per week

What's it all about?

Access to Higher Education courses are designed for students aged 19 or over. If you are aged 18 or under, this course may not be suitable for you. Please contact us on or 01752 305300 if you would like any help discussing alternative options. 

Are you looking for a career change? All of our CAVA Access to HE programmes are suited to students who left school to follow one career path, only to find later in life that you want to retrain, or study a university course. 

Diploma title: Forensic Science 

Do you watch crime scene investigation programmes on the TV – is it something that interests you – could you see yourself in that role? 

This Access to Higher Education course will give you an introduction into basic scientific knowledge in biology, chemistry and maths along with an experience of some of the techniques used in forensic science. 

Once you have completed the course you would be eligible to join our science degree courses or other degree programmes in science or forensic science across the country. 

Course information

You will study some of the basics of chemistry, biology, psychology and maths, along with crime scene management, analysis of biological and trace evidence.

Units to include:
  • core chemistry
  • biochemistry
  • introduction to forensic investigation
  • the crime scene and trace evidence
  • biological evidence analysis
  • chemical and physical evidence analysis
  • criminal psychology
and more …
Placements, Voluntary Work and Paid Employment 
It is essential that you are aware if your university course requires you to have prior experience before applications are made. Lack of work experience would not exclude you from completing the Access course, however it may impact on your application to university. 

GCSE equivalences in maths, English and science are not part of the Access Diploma. It is up to you if you wish to enrol on GCSEs alongside your diploma, if you do not currently hold a recent 9-4 (A*-C) qualification. Your chosen university may not require its applicants to have GCSEs, or may be happy with previously achieved qualifications, such as O Level, level 2, etc. 
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have clarified if enrolling on a GCSE is appropriate for you. If your university course does require you to study at GCSE level you could study alongside your Access Diploma, however you must understand the implications of not achieving your GCSEs. Although it does not affect your achievement of an Access Diploma it may compromise your place at university if you achieve the Access Diploma but do not achieve your GCSEs. Some universities encourage applicants to apply for university without GCSEs and complete equivalences between application and enrolment with the university (again, this is something you have to clarify). 

Alternatively, you may wish to study your GCSEs the year before or after Access study. GCSE classes are held during the day and in the evening. You will have to apply as a separate course, as well as your Access course, if this is your preference. The national changes in GCSE requirements for mature students are unique to each university. 

To succeed on this course you need to be committed towards your study and focused upon your career choice. This route is designed for adult students (19+). Funding is not available for those aged 18 and under, and we would recommend that alternative vocational qualifications and A Levels are considered which support progression onto further or higher education and employment. 

This Access to HE course requires level 2 achievement in literacy and level 2 numeracy. This may be a grade 4 (C) or above in GCSE English and maths, a level 2 qualification or equivalence. It will not be possible for you to be offered a place on an Access course without meeting our entry requirements. 
If you do not currently hold a level 2 qualification in numeracy and level 2 in English, then you are invited to undertake a skills test as part of our interview process. Achieving on our skills test is sufficient to meet our entry requirements for Access to HE, however you are strongly advised to seek further advice from your chosen university regarding completing GCSEs as part of your application. 
Your offer for entry onto our Access course may be conditional to a number of factors which may include achievement of level 2 in literacy and level 2 in numeracy, satisfactory performance at interview, evidence of recent study, evidence of relevant work experience and specific criteria for international students (please see below). 
Applicants who would like to apply but find that their qualifications don’t meet the entry criteria are encouraged to contact us on 01752 305300 to discuss a suitable alternative course.
Please check with your chosen higher education institution if GCSE English/maths is required for your progression route. For care/NHS related courses, evidence of experience in health/social care professions is recommended. 

You will learn a range of subjects, which are broken down into units; each unit is assigned a credit value. Successful completion of a unit will be awarded with a number of credits, graded at pass, merit or distinction, depending on the standard of your work. You will continue to ‘collect’ credits throughout the course. The units are assessed by coursework, assignments, projects and exams.

After completing this course students can progress onto a variety of degrees dependent on the UCAS points they earn. Typically, students can progress onto criminology degrees or psychology degrees. This is an excellent course to progress onto our own HNC in Forensic Science. Students can also use this qualification to progress onto a variety of forensic science degrees.

Please note fees are quoted for one year only.

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Future careers

What you could earn:

Chemical Scientists


Potential salary


Entry level salary


Average salary


Annual openings in Plymouth

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