Btec Forensic Science


To offer a level 3 qualification, following on from 21st Century Science Applied Science, to enable students to undertake degree level study of Science whilst at the same time developing valuable, vocational skills.

Course Staff


Dr H Williets – Science Faculty Leader

Delivers content on Perceptions of Science (Life Sciences) and Criminal Psychology


Mrs Jane Dewhurst – BTEC Course Leader

Delivers content on Fundamentals of Science, Scientific Practical Techniques and Perceptions of Science (Chemistry and Physics content), and Forensic Evidence Collection and Analysis


Ms Fiona Morphet – Biology Subject Leader

Delivers content on Fundamentals of Science and Scientific Practical Techniques (Biology content), and Genetics and Genetic Engineering



2008 is the first year that Settle College has offered a level 3 BTEC qualification.  The BTEC National Award in Applied Science (Forensic Science) offers post 16 students an A level equivalent in one year.  The National Award is a level 3 qualification which merits UCAS points in the same way that  different A levels are worth different points.  The qualification is awarded at 3 levels: pass (40 UCAS points); merit (80 UCAS points) and distinction (120 UCAS points).

In addition, whilst studying for the BTEC National Award, students complete the coursework and are entered for AS Science in Society, which develops the ideas about Science that were studied in GCSE 21st Century Science.

As this course is the equivalent to a full A level in one year, it is studied over 12 periods per week (compared to 5 periods per week for a single AS).

The course is 100% coursework, and provides opportunities for practical and skills assessment as well as theory assessment.  Guest speakers and educational visits help to extend the learning experience.  Students also have the opportunity to support a scientist in their workplace to improve the vocational experience of the course.

The last assignment of the course is a crime scene reconstruction day, when all the relevant skills studied in the course are brought together to collect and analyse the evidence presented from a simulated crime scene in order to produce a forensic report for legal purposes.

This qualification is accepted by many universities for entrance onto courses such as: applied science; nursing; science education (primary and secondary teacher training); forensic science and interdisciplinary science.

Modules Studied

Fundamentals of Science – introducing further study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics to take students’ knowledge past GCSE level and introducing A level standard concepts.

Scientific Practical Techniques – an in-depth study of techniques used on an industrial basis.  This part of the course is very hands-on and develops practical skills to a higher level than those studied at A level.  Health and Safety requirements are highlighted and students must prepare and analyse chemical compounds.

Perceptions of Science – this module looks at how science is portrayed in the media to give the students a good insight into the importance of reporting scientific ideas accurately.  It considers many topical issues in science together with analysing the role that government and lobby groups have on the ideas that the public receive about science.  This module has a strong overlap with AS Science in Society and the two are studied together.

Genetics and Genetic Engineering – this module teaches genetic theory and students undertake relevant practicals to improve skills and techniques.  Issues with genetic engineering are also studied.

Forensic Evidence Collection and Analysis – one of the final modules studied.  This module looks at how a forensic scientist must work in order to preserve and analyse evidence and how record keeping must be undertaken to ensure traceability.  The assessment involves a full day investigating a simulated crime scene.

Introduction to Criminal Psychology – Students study how psychological perspectives have been used to explain criminal behaviour.  They use research methods to undertake a psychological study into a crime issue and look at how psychology theories have been applied to different issues within the criminal justice system.  They also look into what influence psychological research has had on aspects of the CJS