Page Navigation

Module Descriptors

This page displays the selected Module Descriptor.

Printer friendly version Printer friendly version

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 22/03/2022 10:47:14

Title of Module: Forensic Evidence

Code: CHEM10008 SCQF Level: 10
(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:Ciaran  Ewins

Summary of Module

The Forensic Evidence module covers the collection and examination of a range of evidence types including physical, contact, biological and electronic evidence.

The main focus of the module is to work as part of a team to plan and carry out and report a scene examination.

Other content covers the statistical evaluation of forensic evidence, the presentation of expert witness testimony and the importance of scientific method to underpin forensic evidence.

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, working to deadlines, making presentations and working in teams. Qualities and characteristics required of a work ready Forensic Science graduate.


  • Collection of physical and biological evidence

  • Understanding the investigative process and the continuity of evidence

  • Evaluate and interpret data from databases and forensic examinations and use statistics and probability to help interpret results

  • Use software to record and present the results of a scene examination.

  • Present and explain information from a scene examination in a court-room exercise

  • Work as part of a team with different roles to plan and deliver a scene examination

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
check mark

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:
check mark







Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


[Top of Page]

Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Critically evaluate the importance and common usage of the main types of forensic science evidence

L2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the techniques used to gather, examine and interpret forensic evidence.

L3. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the use of probability and statistics to evaluate forensic evidence

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 10.

An integrated knowledge of the features and uses of trace, contact, biological and electronic evidence in forensic science and the terminology used. A critical understanding of the scientific method in underpinning forensic science.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

A detailed knowledge of the latest methods used to examine physical evidence.Be able to choose the correct methods to package and recover trace and contact evidence. Be able to carry out an examination and prepare a report on a piece of physical evidence nsuitable for use in a court room setting.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critically review the results of the analysis of physical evidence in a professional manner, identifying the issues and complexities that can arise.Show the ability to plan and execute the examination and reconstruction of physical evidence. Be able to discuss case information relating to physical evidence using current professional approaches.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Use the wide range of skills expected of a professional forensic scientist to present information in written and verbal reports. Be able to use software to analyse information from physical evidence and to present the results of analysis. Be able to use statistical models to interpret the importance of a piece of trace evidence

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Show a professional approach to the interpretation of information from physical evidence, understanding the professional issues involved and recognizing the limits of ones own competence in an area. Be able to work with others effectively to carry out experimental and other practical work

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Evaluating Forensic Evidence
Other:Or appropriate forensic science background
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

[Top of Page]

Learning and Teaching
Lectures, workshops and student centred learning activities are used to study a variety of topics including computers and mobile phones, fire-arm materials, DNA and blood stain patterns, contact evidence and the requirements of foundational validity.

There will be an extended practical exercises covering a CSI. The results from this scene examination will be presented in written and photographic form and in a court room presentation.
Lectures and workshop on the statistical interpretation of forensic evidence is also covered. The presentation of the results of laboratory work with evidence will be made in written reports and in a court-room setting.
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 Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
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

“A hierarchy of propositions: deciding which level to address in casework”, Evett et al, Science & Justice 1998; 38(4): 231-239

Peter C. White (ed.): Crime scene to court: The essentials of forensic science, 4th edition Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing 2016, ISBN 978-1782624462

Murder Investigation Manual (2006), ACPO

T A Warlow Firearms, the Law and Forensic ballistics, 1996,Publ. London Taylor and Francis

Expert Evidence and Criminal Justice, M. Redmayne, (Oxford: OUP), 2006

Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods, Executive Office of the President, PCAST, September 2016

(**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

[Top of Page]

Supplemental Information

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


[Top of Page]

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Class tests 20%
Assignment 40%
Practical work
Scene examination reports 30%
Court Room Presentation 10%
(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
Class test (written)  check mark200
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck mark400

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 markcheck mark 300
Clinical/ Fieldwork/ Practical skills assessment/ Debate/ Interview/ Viva voce/ Oralcheck markcheck markcheck mark100
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

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

[Top of Page]

  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 forensic science 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, special support can be provided where necessary, consequently, if special 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.