Forensic scientists collect and analyse evidence from crime scenes.

What does a forensic scientist do?

A forensic scientist collects and analyses evidence from crime scenes. You may be working outdoors at a crime scene collecting evidence or in a laboratory analysing evidence. Forensic scientists work closely with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service.

There is a range of different roles you could take on as a forensic scientist. You could specialise in:

  • blood and DNA analysis
  • handwriting and signature analysis
  • computer analysis and data recovery
  • attending crime scenes, collecting forensic evidence for further analysis

What do I need to do to become a forensic scientist?

You will need either an undergraduate degree in forensic science or a science degree and a postgraduate award in forensic science to become a forensic scientist. Degrees related to chemistry, biology, life sciences, applied sciences or medical sciences are likely to be the most appropriate, depending on the type of forensic work you want to do. 

To do a degree, you usually need five GCSEs (A-C) including maths, English and science, plus three A levels (a combination of science-related subjects) or an equivalent level 3 qualification. Check with universities for exact entry requirements.

There may be opportunities to start with a company as a forensics lab support assistant if you have qualifications such as HND, BTEC or A levels in science, together with relevant work experience. As with all forensics vacancies, there will be tough competition for jobs. Colour-normal vision is usually required.

Related skills

  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • Time management
  • Organisation
  • Communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytics
  • IT
  • Interpersonal skills

Academic route

  • A levels in a combination of science-related subjects

Essential qualifications

  • Forensic science degree
  • Or Science degree and a postgraduate degree in forensic science

Desirable qualifications

  • A level chemistry
  • A level biology

Where to find out more

Forensic Science Society

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Job families