BSc Honours Forensic Biology
Alice Thompson is about to enter her third year of studies. She describes her course, BSc Honours Forensic Biology, as both interesting and different, and explains how it blends the study of science and the law.
Alice became interested in forensics because her father is a policeman, and for the past two years of her course, she has been in close contact with that field. She has collected blood samples and fingerprints, run blood tests, and drug tests, all while studying the English legal system.
She says: ‘We learnt all about the legal system, how that works, and how to collect evidence so that you can present it in court, if you were called to court on a case’.
‘Some of my modules are about the English legal system, and some of them are about forensic techniques, genetics and biochemistry’ she says. ‘It’s a bit strange cause it’s two completely different subjects, really.’
One of her most interesting experiences during the course was blood sampling. ‘Say there was a blood stain, anywhere in the room, you could tell if it’s human blood, the blood group, so then you could work out who it comes from if you had a load of suspects.’ she says ‘I didn’t know much about that, but it’s really different, all of the information you can get out of someone from just a tiny little bit of evidence.’
But not only did she analyse the blood under a microscope, she also learned that a lot can be told from blood splatters. ‘If a victim was wounded, and their blood splattered on the wall, you would know what direction they were hit from, how hard they were hit. It has to do with the pattern that’s left behind.’ She says.
Alice also ran drug tests. She had samples of substances like morphine, and amphetamines, and through chemical tests, was able to determine which substance was which.
After one more year of studies at the University of Westminster, Alice Thompson will finish her degree in BSc Honours Forensic Biology. She hopes to become a scene of crime officer for the police, collecting evidence to determine how crimes are committed.
‘I think it is important work’ she says. ‘I wanted to do something… make a difference… to help people out.’