Forensic Scientist

Job Description:

Forensic scientists prepare traces of physical evidence for use in courts of law.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • perform blood grouping and DNA profiling
  • analyse fluid and tissue samples for traces of drugs and poisons
  • examine splash patterns and the distribution of particles
  • analyse handwriting, signatures, ink and paper
  • provide expert advice on explosives, firearms and ballistics
  • research and develop new technologies
  • recover data from computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment
  • attend crime scenes, like a murder or fire
  • give impartial, scientific evidence in court


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (leadership skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Forensic Scientist in the UK, you will need a strong educational background in science, but there are no specific subjects listed as requirements. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring Forensic Scientists:

  1. Science: Focus on taking science courses, including Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. These subjects provide fundamental knowledge in scientific principles, which are essential for forensic science.
  2. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are important for data analysis, statistical calculations, and scientific measurements.
  3. English: Develop strong written and verbal communication skills, as you will need to write reports and communicate findings effectively.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • forensic science
  • a related subject like chemistry, biological science, physics or medical sciences

Entry to jobs is competitive, so it may help to choose a university qualification accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


The following science degree apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:

  • research scientist degree apprenticeship
  • laboratory scientist degree apprenticeship

It will help if you do your aprenticeship with a company that provides forensic science services, or with a police force that has its own in-house lab facilities.

Direct Application

You can apply directly to forensic services providers if you’ve got a lot of lab experience, and qualifications in science, especially chemistry.

Career tips
If you want to specialise in recovering data from computers and mobile phones, you’ll need relevant experience and qualifications. Useful subjects include computing, electrical engineering, electronics or physics.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-40 hours of work. You could be required to work on call at short notice.

You could work in a laboratory, in a court or visit sites. Your working environment may be emotionally demanding. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could move into management and direct other forensics staff as a forensics manager or casework examiner.

You could also work as a reporting scientist, acting as an expert witness in court.