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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 24/03/2022 08:22:34

Title of Module: Forensic Laboratory Techniques

Code: CHEM09009 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Dr Ann-Sophie  Korb

Summary of Module

The following topics shall be presented:

Drugs of Abuse

Drugs of abuse: UK legislation (MDA, 1971; MDAR, 1985). Terms/definitions. Sampling of drug seizures – presumptive tests, microscopic examination, methodologies, colour-forming reaction mechanisms.

Laboratory techniques related to forensic science

Introductory principles of sample isolation and clean up. Chromatographic and spectroscopic identification of drugs. Fingerprints and development techniques.

Crime Scene Procedures 

Fingerprint development, presumptive testing of biological materials

DNA profiling, analysis by PCR amplification; DNA as evidence

Forensic Science Laboratory

Analysis of alcohol and drugs by Gas Liquid Chromatography, High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Thin Layer Chromatography. Presmptive tests and microscopy of drug samples. AA analysis of metals from bullets. Fluorescence analysis of drugs.

This module will work to develop a number of the key 'I am UWS' Graduate Attributes. Those who complete this module will have developed professional competencies in report writing and the knowledge, skills and abilities related to research and laboratory work in Forensic Science.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theory and application of a selection of laboratory methods in forensic science

L2. Display an understanding of the processing of forensic evidence from crime scene to laboratory

L3. Acquire and develop analytical and associated data handling and processing skills in a series of laboratory analytical techniques examining materials of forensic interest

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Broad integrated knowledge of the principle analytical techniques employed in forensic science laboratories

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Undertake a series of experiments featuring the above techniques in both a qualitative and quantitative context in the analysis of ‘real’ samples

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Undertaking critical analysis of the available methodologies to devise appropriate analytical protocols for sample preparation and analysis.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Bringing information together from a variety of sources, using information retrieval systems and appropriate IT skills, to produce written reports for assignments and laboratory exercises.
Carrying out a literature review and delivering a presentation

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Working effectively with others in laboratory environment and identifying and addressing individual/personal learning needs in the subject area associated with the module

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Chemical Laboratory Techniques
Other:Or previous study of suitable material
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The lecture programme covers the background and application of a variety of techniques for the study of drugs of abuse, presumptive testing and crime scene procedures for gathering evidence.

There is a laboratory programme which includes analysis of alcohol and drugs by Gas Liquid Chromatography, High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Thin Layer Chromatography. Presmptive tests and microscopy of drug samples. AA analysis of metals from bullets. Fluorescence analysis of drugs.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop24
Independent Study152
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Andrew Jackson and Julie Jackson, Forensic Science, 4th Ed., Pearson Education Ltd. (2017) ISBN 978-1-292-08818-1

M D Cole The Analysis of Controlled Substances, Wiley, 2003, 0-471-49253

Seigal J., Knupfer G. and Suakko P. (Eds) (2000), Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences, Academic Press ISBN 0122272153

Khan J.I. et al (2012) Basic principles of forensic chemistry, Human Press ISBN 9781934115060 (hbk.)

Langford, A., 2018. Practical skills in forensic science, 3rd Edition. Pearson Education

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPhysical Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPhysical Sciences
ModeratorDr Carrie Mullen
External ExaminerI Turner
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Formal Examination 60%
Continuous Assessment;
Laboratory Reports 30%
Practical assessment 5%
Literature review and presentation 5%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen open bookcheck markcheck markcheck mark602

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Report of practical/ field/ clinical workcheck mark check mark300
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck markcheck mark50
Clinical/ Fieldwork/ Practical skills assessment/ Debate/ Interview/ Viva voce/ Oralcheck markcheck markcheck mark50
Combined Total For All Components100% 2 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
This module is suitable for any student with appropriate chemistry background, however it should be noted that in order for you to complete this module the laboratory element of coursework will require to be undertaken, disability support can be provided where necessary, consequently, if disability support is needed to complete this part of the module, then the University’s Health and Safety Officer should be consulted to make sure that safety in the laboratory is not compromised.

Current University Policy on Equality and Diversity applies.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.