Undergraduate qualification in forensic science


South Africa's first undergraduate degree in Forensic Science

When The DNA Project was established in 2005, there was no specific training course for forensic DNA analysts being offered at any tertiary institution in South Africa. This became one of the key objectives of the DNA Project: namely to develop a group of competent, professional forensic scientists to perform forensic science examinations to assist the courts of law secure convictions through the use of DNA evidence.

To meet this objective, the DNA Project worked together with the Criminal Justice System Review Task Team and leading academics from around the country to develop a postgraduate qualification at Honours level, aimed at training people with specific skills in forensic DNA analysis.

The first University to take on board this Honours course in 2010 was the University of the Free State, which is now in its fourth year of offering this course to students.

Today, the UFS is taking our initial intiative one step further by now being able to offer an undergraduate BSc degree in Forensic Sciences – the first of its kind in South Africa. According to the department of genetics, the degree will target, among others, people working on crime scenes and criminal cases in forensic laboratories and the South African Police Services.

On completion of the undergraduate programme, postgraduate-level students can continue with forensic science, forensic chemistry, forensic genetics or forensic entomology.

Click here to download UFS's brochure.

University of the Free State

Enquiries regarding the course can be made at the Department of Genetics:

  • Email: Genetics@ufs.ac.za
  • Tel: 051 401 2595

Admission requirements

  • Grade 12 with an AP-score of at least 34
  • Cumulative AP-score of at least 17 for Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences
  • Subject to selection (only 80 students per year)

Course content

  • First year: The foundational year will involve the study of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.
  • Second year: During the second year of study students will take modules in Genetics, Chemistry, and Forensic Science. The Forensic Science module will include an introduction to Forensic Science, Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Photography and applicable legislation).
  • Third year: Students will choose between third year modules in Genetics or Chemistry. In addition they will complete advanced modules in Forensic Science (including ballistics), Physical Evidence (including the study of imprints and fiber analysis), Forensic Entomology and DNA Forensics.

Forensic Science subjects

Second year:

  • 1st semester - Introductory Forensic Science
  • 2nd semester - Crime scene management

Third year:

  • 1st semester - Forensic Entomology (Forensic Genetics)
  • 2nd semester - Investigation techniques and physical evidence (Forensic Science)