"Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses -learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." -Leonardo DaVinci
Science is logical and makes complete sense to the most complicated minds. Studying any scientific discipline in further detail such as biology, chemistry, and physics unlocks the understanding of complex concepts that were previously impenetrable.
Some individuals struggle to master the basics of scientifical matters whereas some develop a deep appreciation for scientific topics and decide to pursue a career in the sciences.
For those who want to combine their love of science and solving a good mystery, a career in the forensic sciences is a brilliant decision.
Superprof will now analyse a discipline of the forensic sciences known as forensic biology. Sit back and relax with your cup of coffee while you join us reviewing the subheadings of the basic concepts of forensic biology, why studying forensic biology is an excellent idea, where to study forensic biology in the UK, and the best jobs available for accredited forensic biologists.
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The Basic Concepts of Forensic Biology
Bones, CSI: Crime Science Investigation, Castle, Law & Order, and Dexter, are all famous television shows that have gained the approval of worldwide audiences. What do they have in common?
They all regularly portray aspects and specific techniques of forensic biology to ensure criminal justice.
What is forensic biology?
Forensic biology is the application of biology to solve criminal and civil crimes. There are some subdisciplines of forensic biology that can be studied by interested students in schools all over the world. The following are the basic concepts of forensic biology that can be reviewed by science lovers:
- DNA Analysis: DNA is one of the most popular pieces of evidence recovered at the scene by forensic specialists to discover the nature of a crime. DNA is often also referred to as biological evidence which is the golden standard in forensic science. The analysis of DNA has many biological applications such as paternity testing, identification of unknown human remains, and connecting suspects or victims to evidence, a scene, or to another person.
- Forensic Anthropology: the scientific study of anthropology is applied to forensics through the analysis of human skeletal remains. For example, a specific case may need the require the expertise of an anthropologist to determine the race, sex, age, and possible ailments that can be seen looking for clues of the skeletal structure.
- Forensic Odontology: dentists may specialise in forensic odontology and be invited to work in a crime lab can to aid in the identification of degraded remains. Since enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, dentists or odontologists can compare recovered remains to dental records.
- Forensic Entomology: a forensic pathologist is a certified doctor and medical examiner who is best known for conducting autopsies. Does anybody remember Dr Al Robbins from CSI? This type of doctor has extensive knowledge of the human body and is essential in some cases to determine the cause of death.
- Forensic Toxicology: this aspect of forensic biology is practised in a crime laboratory and includes forensic chemistry and biochemistry to trace evidence that is used to determine if the cause of death was through poisoning or drug use.
All of the previously mentioned aspects are essential to the scientific study of forensic biology.
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Why Study Forensic Biology
Before deciding upon a career path that will require many years of further education and thorough study, it is vital to learn more about the pros and cons of the field of study you are considering.
For example, studying to become a doctor has many pros such as the possibility of saving a person's life in the future and a thorough knowledge of the medical system. However, the cons of being a doctor may include heightened responsibility and long hours.
The same can be said with forensic biology; there are many pros and cons to reviewing forensic science at a university level.
Nonetheless, since we always strive to be positive at Superprof, we will only consider some of the main reasons, benefits, and pros of studying forensic biology at an accredited academic institute as part of further education:
- A variety of work opportunities: there are many careers available to individuals in the field of sciences for those who possess a diploma in forensic biology. Nevertheless, other employers in distinct professional sectors such as education and law enforcement warmly welcome applicants who boast a degree in forensic science,
- Development of useful skills: when studying to become a forensic biologist indispensable abilities are honed such as problem-solving skills, analytical skills, interpretative skills, investigative skills, heightened patience and concentration, and a systematic approach to any situation or case,
- An exciting career: persons who decide to study forensic sciences are preparing themselves for an impressive job of crime scene investigation, analysing DNA and physical evidence in world-class in laboratories, reading the emotions of suspects, and solving cold cases. If a life of zero sleep and pure adrenaline appeals to you, become a forensic biologist!
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Where to Study Forensic Biology in the United Kingdom
According to recent estimates, there are over 150 universities in the UK! Therefore, many universities in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have taught UK citizens and international students the fundamentals of many academic disciplines.
What about forensic science, are there any universities based in the UK that equip individuals with the necessary skills to become crime scene investigators?
To answer the previously stated question, of course, there are! To guide interested students toward a career in the forensic sciences, the following are some of the best academic institutes to study forensic biology in the UK:
- Staffordshire University: the BSc (Hons) forensic biology degree offered at Staffordshire is a full-time scientifical programme with a three-year duration. The forensic biology course at the Staffordshire University boasts a 100% employability, excellent facilities, and the fact that the Royal Society of Biology accredits it. The university facilities located on the Stoke-on-Trent campus are world-renowned for their £30 million science centre, nature reserve, and crime scene house that make studying forensic biology an unforgettable experience. Check out Staffordshire University's website to acquire more information about their unique forensic biology degree to determine if you have the correct qualifications, and to analyse the compulsory modules that are studied during each year.
- University of Chester: located on the Parkgate Road Campus in the quaint town of Chester, the BSc forensic biology programme is a brilliant course to explore the exciting science behind the criminal investigation. The class has a duration of three years and the techniques acquired are transferrable to other biological disciplines and provide a firm foundation of scientific aspects that prove to be instrumental in securing a wide range of future jobs. Take a glance at the University of Chester's website to analyse fees, start dates, student satisfaction, and previous qualifications required.
- Bournemouth University: the BSc degree in forensic biology that is offered by Bournemouth University costs £9,250 per year, is located on the Talbot campus, and is recognised by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. The qualified teachers at Bournemouth University help interested ones become equipped in developing the skills of analysing crime scenes, identifying victims, working in the field of endangered species to identify illegal trading of fur and feathers, and investigating diseases that could threaten human or animal survival. Check out Bournemouth University's website to learn more about what is studied during the BSc forensic biology programme, and the qualifications needed to be eligible for application.
The universities mentioned above are only some of the educational options available to undergraduate students interested in forensic biology; there are many other accredited academic institutes in the UK offering degrees in forensic sciences. Before deciding upon a specific place to study forensic sciences, it is essential to thoroughly analyse all of the potential options and choose one that fits your needs.
UK-based universities also offer other biology programmes that cover the basics of wildlife biology, provide students with a thorough understanding of microbiology, and equip interested pupils with the necessary knowledge for the interdisciplinary subject of bioengineering.
The Best Jobs Available for Those Who Have Studied Forensic Biology
Since the UK is not immune to crime, in most cases recent graduates possessing a degree in forensic science are guaranteed immediate employment.
Nevertheless, it is important to state, that a career as a crime science investigator is not the only job available for those who have studied forensic biology. Recent graduates may find employment in the specialised area of forensic investigation and other associated fields requiring a curious, scientific, and legal mind.
The following are some of the best jobs available that are related to a forensic science degree:
- Biomedical scientist,
- Forensic computer analyst,
- Forensic scientist,
- Crime scene investigator.
The previously mentioned options are not the only options available to those possessing a forensic science degree. The following employment opportunities are also beneficial for those who have a diploma in forensic science or biology:
- A university teacher specialising in forensic science,
- Police Officer,
- Secondary school teacher,
Nonetheless, it is essential that recent university grads gain some laboratory work experience to prove they have the necessary skills and become more appealing to future employers.
Becoming a forensic biologist is a gratifying career that has many unique characteristics. Before starting to work with your new degree, it would be extremely wise to hone your attention to detail, interpretative skills, patience, and concentration; doing this will ensure a lucrative and successful career in forensic biology.
For more information about other types of biology, take a look at Superprof's informative article.