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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 06/05/2022 16:05:09

Title of Module: Forensic Biology

Code: CHEM10010 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:Carrie   Mullen

Summary of Module

This module gives students an understanding of the science and techniques that underpin forensic biology. Topics covered will include identification of biological fluids, the analysis the human genome in forensic biology, blood stain pattern analysis and forensic anthropology. Material covered in lectures will be illustrated through lab work.

Graduate Attributes

The development of UWS graduate attributes is embedded within all years of the programme. Our aim is to provide students at UWS with opportunities to develop academically, professionally and personally: to broaden their ambitions, extend their attitudes, challenge their assumptions, and assist towards unlocking their potential to succeed in their studies and future lives.

This module delivers:

Critical Thinker 



Problem Solver 

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. Explain the analytical, laboratory and legal requirements of producing DNA STR profiles.

L2. Perform interpretation of DNA STR profiling results, including calculation of likelihood ratios.

L3. Critically evaluate DNA STR profiling results citing significant research in the field.

L4. Show an understanding of the scientific basis and utilisation of techniques of bone anthropometry and pathology in the study of human tissue.

L5. Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate body fluid evidence and blood stain patterns.

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.

Critical analysis and understanding of the biology that underpins forensic science.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

The application of knowledge and understanding gained will be applied in forensic biology. Students should be able to critically evaluate the techniques and our understanding of the science important in forensic biology

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critically evaluate scientific data making judgements on the validity and interpretation of the data.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Use oral and written communication techniques that would be expected in employment. Use of software in communication. Critically evaluate material found in databases and other sources.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Show a professional approach to assessing ones own learning needs and studying independently

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Forensic Laboratory Techniques
Other:or appropriate background
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module covers a wide variety of theoretical, conceptual and practical areas, which require a range of knowledge and skills at a more advanced level to be displayed and exercised. Delivery of its syllabus content therefore involves a diversity of teaching and assessment methods suitable to the learning outcomes of the module; these include formal lectures, structured tutorials (work closely integrated with the lecture material), practical exercises, and completion and submission of written coursework making use of appropriate forms of IT and VLE, and independent study
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/Workshop12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
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:

Butler, J. (2005) Forensic DNA Typing 2nd Ed. Elsevier (MA) ISBN: 9780121479527
Forensic Science – Jackson A.R. & Jackson J., Prentice Hall, ISBN: 130432512

Flesh and Bone: An Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. Nafte M., Carolina Academic Press, ISBN:0890896380

Essential Haemotology. Hoffbrand A.V., Pettit J.E. & Moss P.A.H., Blackwell, ISBN: 0632051541

Access to the following journal - Forensic Science International Genetics

Access to the following journal - Forensic Science International

Access to the following journal - Journal of the Forensic Science Society

Access to the following journal - Journal of Forensic Sciences

(**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 Ciaran Ewins
External ExaminerI Turner
Accreditation DetailsN/A
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Exam (50%)
Coursework (50%)
(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) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen closed book (standard)check markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark502

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck markcheck mark check mark5024
Combined Total For All Components100% 26 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 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.