career: Forensic science

What's it all about

What’s it all about?

If you enjoy science, this could be the job for you. A forensic scientist is a type of scientist that prepares traces of physical evidence for use in court. They play major part in solving crime.

As well as the relevant qualifications and work experience, you’ll need to be able to handle high pressured situations, tight deadlines and extremely precise work. A huge amount of forensic science is attention to detail and natural curiosity – you don’t want to let anything get past you at a crime scene.

Forensic scientists use principles of biology, chemistry and maths, and a range of techniques, to gatherand analyse evidence from a variety of sources – including blood and other body fluids, hairs, textile fibres, glass fragments and tyre marks.


The type of work forensic scientists do includes:

  • blood grouping and DNA profiling
  • analysing fluid and tissue samples for traces of drugs and poisons
  • analysing handwriting, signatures, ink and paper
  • providing expert advice on explosives, firearms and ballistics
  • researching and developing new technologies
  • recovering data from computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment
  • attending crime scenes, such as a murder or fire


Routes in

To start a career in forensic science, it is highly likely you will need a degree in a science or criminology based subject.However, there are some alternative options if you aren’t sure uni is for you. To get into forensic science, even if you have a degree, you’re required to have six months of work experience under your belt. This gives you a great opportunity to test out how well suited you are for the job before committing to getting the degree.

Alternatively, if uni still isn’t right for you, there are plenty of similar job you can enter without getting a degree. For example, you can do an apprenticeship in law and become a chartered solicitor instead. There is more than one way to fight crime!




Even though you will eventually need a degree, it might be possible to gain some experience and do some research into the sector without committing to the degree first.

If you want to specialise in electronic casework (recovering data from computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment), you may be accepted with experience and qualifications in computing, electrical engineering, electronics or physics.

There may be opportunities to start with a company as a forensics lab support assistant if you have qualifications, together with relevant work experience. As with all forensics vacancies, there will be tough competition for jobs.

Been there, done that

We’re still on the hunt for a fabulous case study to show us how it’s done. Are you #DoingItWithoutADegree in this field? Then get in touch by emailing hattie@unisnotforme.com to find out how you can inspire our ambitious school leavers.



Expert opinion

Are you an expert in this field? Then we want you to tell us what it takes to make it in this industry. Get in touch by emailing us at hattie@unisnotforme.com to find out more.



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