Forensic science combines science and the law. The number of graduates in this area has grown rapidly in recent years and there is strong competition for jobs…
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Analytical chemist
- Biomedical scientist
- Forensic scientist
- Scientific laboratory technician
- Teaching laboratory technician
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Further education teacher
- Higher education lecturer
- Police officer
- Science writer
- Secondary school teacher
- Solicitor, Scotland
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Any laboratory work experience is essential so you can prove you have skills such as attention to detail and accuracy. Work experience is more likely to be found in a scientific or hospital laboratory than a forensic setting due to the sensitive nature of the work.
Work experience within the police, for example as a special constable, provides a valuable insight into police work and the role of forensics.
Those graduates seeking to extend their laboratory experience may find internships from smaller employers that are initially voluntary but may lead to paid employment.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Following the closure of the government-owned Forensic Science Service (FSS) in March 2012, graduates now need to look for jobs with private companies that deliver forensic services.
Other major employers of forensic science graduates include police support departments and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) , particularly the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Opportunities can often be found by exploring the strong links between academic departments and employers, so check with your university for potential contacts.
Skills for your CV
Studying forensic science develops skills specific to laboratory work including:
- attention to detail;
- analytical and interpretative skills;
- a methodical approach;
- patience and concentration, as laboratory work can be routine and detailed.
Some skills are transferable, such as:
- teamwork and working independently;
- presentation skills, as you need to be an effective verbal and written communicator, e.g. court reports.
There are personal qualities that may be useful, such as a resilient outlook, as some work is upsetting or unpleasant. You could be asked to work unsocial hours, so a flexible approach is helpful.
Typical postgraduate study includes Masters in forensic science, molecular biology or fire investigation. Doctorate research could include drug, perfume or DNA analysis, or terrorism. A relevant Masters degree or PhD can significantly improve your employment prospects as competition intensifies for jobs. However, it is worth considering that courses can be difficult to fund and demand a higher level of academic ability.
What do forensic science graduates do?
One in ten graduates employed in the UK are working as laboratory technicians.
Around 16% of forensic science graduates are carrying out further study either full time or part time while working.
|Working and studying||5.2|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Technicians and other professionals||24.9|
|Retail, catering and bar work||24|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||11.6|
Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.