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Study Forensic Analytical Science at Otago

Your unique-ness isn’t limited to your DNA or your fingerprints.

Forensic chemistry can pinpoint where you’ve lived, what you’ve eaten and where IT lived… that unarguable proof of origin is increasingly useful for food producers, and biosecurity officers as well as crime fighters.

Analytical science is increasingly being applied forensically in business; for compliance with legislation, marketing and the protection of products and brands from fraud.

This degree focuses on the vital analytical techniques of Forensic Biology (including DNA) and Forensic Chemistry (spectroscopy, traceability). These analytical skills are highly sought-after in all sorts of areas : in industry, government agencies and regulatory bodies tasked with managing natural resources.

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Why study Forensic Analytical Science?

The most counterfeited item in the world is the NZ Kiwifruit. New Zealand’s produce is often at the top end of the market, and well worth counterfeiting – if you can get away with it! The techniques you’ll learn in this course can demonstrate the exact point of origin for foodstuffs; this protects our products abroad, and protects our growers at home as well, identifying the source of biosecurity risks when they hit our shores.

The techniques are applicable to criminal forensic work as well, and the analytical skills learned will have much broader applications across a wide range of scientific fields.

Background required

While entry into the Applied Science programme in Forensic Analytical Science is open to anyone, we strongly recommend that you have NCEA level 3 Chemistry, Biology and Maths (Stats). Strong skills in English would also be beneficial.

Teaching style

The programme is delivered using lectures and practical labs. There may be some fieldwork component in the optional areas of study.

Career opportunities

Anyone involved with Resource Management Act needs staff who can understand analytical science for example in the management and custody of natural resources: the analytical techniques you’ll learn in Forensic Analytical Science will help track down sources of contamination.

Traceability gives the edge in niche marketing for top end products; now we can prove exactly where a product has come from, protecting it from counterfeiting and giving a market advantage.

Government agencies increasingly require people with this kind of analytical training e.g. Department of Conservation workers coming across questionable logging would be able to demonstrate whether timber had come from illegal sites. Postgraduate training in criminal forensic work, available from University of Auckland or several other international providers.

Applicants should be aware that the job market in New Zealand for criminal forensic scientists is small and that this course is not a qualification for such a career without further study or employment experience.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

*It is a requirement that every Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) normally includes an approved minor subject or an approved second major subject. Usually such a minor or second major subject must be selected from the approved combinations of major subjects with minor or second major subjects. Some exceptions may apply. For details see:

Full list of available approved minor and second major subject areas

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) majoring in Forensic Analytical Science

Year Papers Points

BIOC 192  Foundations of Biochemistry

CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology

CHEM 191  The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health

HUBS 191  Human Body Systems 1

STAT 110  Statistical Methods, or STAT 115  Introduction to Biostatistics

At least one of the following is recommended:
BIOL 123  Plants: How They Shape the World
CHEM 111  Chemistry: Molecular Architecture (highly recommended)
HUBS 192  Human Body Systems 2
MATH 160  Mathematics 1
PHSI 191  Biological Physics (recommended)








CHEM 206 Analytical Chemistry

FORS 201 Analytical and Forensic Science

GENE 222 Genes, Chromosomes and Populations

At least two of BIOA 201, BIOC 221, CHEM 201 or CHEM 205, FOSC 201, GENE 221, MICR 221, MICR 222, PHAL 211, PHAL 221, STAT 242, STAT 261, STAT 210, STAT 260, STAT 270






FORS 301  Analytical Forensic Biology

CHEM 306  Forensic Chemistry

At least two of BIOA 301, BIOC 352, CHEM 304, FOSC 301, GENE 312, GENE 315, PHAL 306, PSYC 325, 300-level MICR and STAT papers





90 further points, including either requirements for an approved minor or second major subject or other approved papers

Total   360

Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) in Forensic Analytical Science

If you wish to enrol in this programme please contact the Division of Sciences.


Key information for future students

Contact us

Professor Russell Frew
Tel +64 3 479 7913
Website Applied Science programme