This course combines scientific analytical skills in chemistry and biology in conjunction with an in-depth knowledge of crime scene management.
In this four year course students will carry out an extensive laboratory-based research project in an area of direct relevance to forensic investigation. This will give you an opportunity to to use sophisticated analytical instrumentation and learn skills such as project management, independent learning, planning, time management and report writing. This course also has advanced modules in environmental forensics, chemical analysis, chemistry, immunodiagnostics, molecular biology/DNA analysis, and advanced crime scene management.
Students will explore the science behind a wide range of criminal activities such as murder investigation, contraband goods, laundered diesel, gunshot residue, illegal drugs to forgeries and electronic crimes. There is an emphasis on quality control in measurements, traceability of samples and documentation, and adherence to written procedures and protocols.
Graduates from this course will be versatile with key skills in chemical analysis, bio-analysis, IT and communications and project management. These will enable them to attain employment in laboratories in a variety of sectors from forensics, environmental, pharmaceutical and food industries as well as engaging in further postgraduate study.
The BSc(Hons) achieved accreditation from the Chartered Society of Forensic Science in the UK in December 2013 for the component standards Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence(IEPE), Crime Scene Investigation(CSI) and Laboratory Analysis (LA). As the first third level course on the island of Ireland to achieve this accreditation, it give graduates the assurance that they have an internationally recognised qualification and are ready to undertake a professional career in forensic science.
20 things you need to know about Forensic Science courses at IT Sligo
We have put together 20 questions that secondary students often ask us about our forensic science course. We hope you will find this useful:
1. How many hours of lectures / practical tutorials are there each week?
For year one there are approx. 24 hours of ‘contact time’ broken down into 11 hours of theory / lectures and 13 hours of laboratory / tutorial and practical activities. The contact hours decrease in the following years.
2. What subjects will I be studying in first year?
In first year you study Maths / Chemistry / Biology/ Physics / Information technology and have an introduction to Forensic Science and the Law. From second year on you will study analytical chemistry and biology, forensic science, crime scene investigation along with other skills like research, communication and team work. The full list of modules is here.
3. How much Maths is there? Is the Maths difficult?
It is a science / technical course so you will need maths but you don’t need honours Maths in the LC for entry. In first year we start at the basics again and build up from there.
4. How many books will I have to read every week / term?
For most modules the lecture notes that your lecturer provides are generally sufficient for your learning. They might also recommend a book to help you study but there is always a supply of the core texts in the library for you to borrow.
5. Is there a work experience element to the course?
In the summer between third year and fourth year students complete a work practice of a minimum of one month (can be up to three months based on the employer). This is in addition to organised site visits / guest speakers/ work activities in Semester 1 of year 4.
6. Is there an interview / aptitude test / special subjects I need to get on the course?
You apply through the CAO - there are no special requirements. Although you don’t have to have a science subject in the leaving certificate, it is an advantage if you have at least one. It is a very science focussed course so if you have done a science subject before you would know if you had an aptitude for science.
7. Is there an opportunity to study abroad?
We don’t currently have a formal arrangement to study part of the course overseas. However, if you really wanted to do this and you can identify an equivalent semester / year in another university that has a similar degree, you can apply to complete your studies there instead. You may also be eligible for funding e.g. Erasmus in this case.
8. What if I am a mature student or over 23 years of age?
If you are a mature student (>23 years) up to 20% of places on all courses are reserved for this. You apply through the CAO and your life and work experience will be taken into consideration when it comes to gaining entry.
9. What job opportunities are there when I finish this course?
Most graduates get jobs in laboratories doing scientific analysis. This varies from biological analysis (e.g DNA analysis) to chemical analysis to desk based jobs.
Graduates are employed in areas such as quality control, research and development, toxicology, DNA profiling, validation and production. Many graduates have progressed to M.Sc. and PhD studies and some have done postgraduate diplomas in teaching (HDip).
10. Where would I get a job after this course? Will I get work in Ireland?
Graduates have got jobs in forensic, pharmaceutical, food, environmental and healthcare laboratories all over Ireland. They also obtained work abroad in the UK, Canada, Australia and USA.
11. What companies have employed graduates of this course?
Abbott, Abbvie, Baxter, Allergan, Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS), Glaxosmithkline (GSK), HSE, Mylan, Norbrook, Randox and LGC Forensics in the UK.
12. What salary would I earn when I graduate?
Typically, €28,000 – €35,000 in your first employment.
13. What professional organisations recognise the degree?
The Chartered Society of Forensic Science(CSFS) in the UK has accredited the Level 8 course in the following areas:
- Scientific analysis
- Crime scene investigationEvaluation & interpretation of evidence
It was the first course on the island of Ireland to be professionally recognised in December 2013.
This means that the course is recognised as being of a standard to enable graduates become members of CSFS and to practice as a Forensic Scientist in these areas.
14. Can I become a Forensic Scientist after doing this course?
This course will give you the foundation scientific skills to commence a career in forensic science. Most forensic scientists will have a PhD after their BSc and will have a number of years practical experience before attaining a position as a forensic scientist.
15. Can I become a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) after the course?
In Ireland all Crime Scene Investigators are members of An Garda Síochána. After completion of this course you can apply to become a Garda and then positions in the CSI units are advertised internally. In the UK crime scene officers are civilians so you could become one there.
16. Can I teach after completing this course? Do I get exemptions for any future qualifications?
The course content is approved by the teaching council of Ireland, so you can apply to take the Higher Diploma in Education from the Teaching Council and then teach Chemistry to Leaving Certificate and Science to Junior Certificate
17. If I don’t get the level 8 points are there other entry routes?
There are currently lower points requirements for the Level 7. If you complete this successfully you can apply for a one year add on to bring your qualification up to Level 8.
18. Is it difficult to get accommodation close to the college? Is it very expensive?
Compared to many of the bigger cities like Dublin, Cork and Galway, accommodation is cheaper and more available. See the accommodation part of the website for more details.
19. What’s the CAO code for the level 8 Forensic Course?
20. What’s the CAO code for the level 7 Forensic Course?
Year 2 students developing footprints in the lab
Entry requirements for CAO 2020 courses at ITSligo are available for download below:
- Download Entry requirements for just Level 8 programmes
- Download Entry requirements for all programmes
Minimum Leaving Certificate Points 2014/15: 340
Average Leaving Certificate Points 2014/15: 375
A science subject at Leaving Certificate is not a requirement for this course.
|Mathematics for Science 1||05|
|Information Technology 1||05|
|LEARNING FOR FORENSIC SCIENCE||05|
|FORENSIC SCIENCE AND LAW||05|
|Information Technology 2||05|
|Mathematics for Science 2||05|
|CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION||05|
|Analytical Chemical Techniques Theory||05|
|INORGANIC AND CLASSICAL ANALYSIS||05|
|COMMUNICATION FOR SCIENTISTS||05|
|FORENSIC CHEMISTRY 1||05|
|DATA PROCESSING, MOLECULAR GRAPHICS AND INSTRUMENTATION||05|
|STATISTICS FOR SCIENTISTS||05|
|SEPARATION SCIENCE FOR FORENSICS||05|
|LABORATORY COMPUTING AND INSTRUMENTATION||05|
|Spectroscopy and Atomic Spectrometry for Forensic Analysts||05|
|FORENSIC CHEMISTRY 2||05|
|Research Skills for Analytical Scientists||10|
|IMMUNODIAGNOSTICS WITH FORENSIC APPLICATIONS||05|
|FORENSIC MOLECULAR BIOLOGY||10|
|RESEARCH PROJECT 1- (LITERATURE REVIEW)||05|
|WORK PRACTICE/TECHNICAL PRESENTATION||10|
|FORENSIC CHEMICAL ANALYSIS||05|
|RESEARCH PROJECT 2 (PRACTICAL)||10|
|CRIME SCENE MANAGEMENT||05|
|FORENSIC EVALUATION & COURT||05|