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Study Forensic Analytical Science at Otago

Solving mysteries, serving society

Your uniqueness isn’t limited to your DNA or your fingerprints. Forensic chemistry can pinpoint where you’ve lived, what you’ve eaten and even where that food once lived. That unarguable proof of origin is increasingly useful for food producers and biosecurity officers as well as crime fighters.

Analytical science is 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 industry, government agencies and among regulatory bodies tasked with managing natural resources.

Why study Forensic Analytical Science?

The New Zealand kiwifruit is one of the most counterfeited items in the world. 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 by 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 you will learn will have much broader applications across a wide range of scientific fields.

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. For example, Department of Conservation workers coming across questionable logging would be able to demonstrate whether timber had come from illegal sites.

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.

Background required

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

What is the BAppSc?

The strength of the Applied Science programme is its outward focus – developing market-ready graduates with wide-ranging skills and practical experience in the workplace.

The Applied Science programme is a three- year undergraduate degree with open entry at 100-level. A postgraduate honours year is offered to those students who achieve an appropriate academic standard. This will be offered at the end of the undergraduate degree.

Every Applied Science degree has a compulsory minor, or second major, in a subject area that’s directly relevant and will deliver complementary skills.

The programme encourages real-world business awareness, enabling you to apply what you have learnt to any organisation you work for.

What will I learn?

This degree will focus on the vital analytical techniques of Forensic Biology (including DNA) and Forensic Chemistry (spectroscopy, traceability). The key strength will be the analytical skills acquired.

How will I learn?

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

What will I study?

First year: papers worth at least 126 points, to include BIOC 192, CELS 191, CHEM 191, HUBS 191, STAT 110 or 115. At least one of BIOL 123, CHEM 111, HUBS 192, MATH 160 or PHSI 191 is recommended.

Second year: papers worth at least 120 points, to include CHEM 206, FORS 201, GENE 222. And at least two of BIOA 201, BIOC 221, CHEM 201 or 205, FOSC 201, GENE 221, MICR 221, 222, PHAL 211, 212, STAT 242, 261.

In your second year, as well as the required papers in Chemistry, Forensics and Genetics, there is a wide range of options including Biological Anthropology, Genetics and Biochemistry, Microbiology and Pharmacology as well as Statistics.

Third year: papers worth at least 120 points, to include FORS 301, CHEM 306. And at least two of BIOA 301, BIOC 352, CHEM 304, FOSC 301, GENE 312, 315, PHAL 306, PYSC 325, and 300-level MICR and STAT papers.

Third year extends the range even further with Food Science and Psychology.

Combining Forensic Analytical Science with other subjects

All Applied Science majors require either a minor or second major. For Forensic Analytical Science there are loads of possible pairings, depending on the kind of emphasis you want in your career: Environmental Management or Applied Geology; Food Science; Marketing or International Business; Psychology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy or Computer Science.


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 130  Fundamentals of Modern 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, 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 us.


Key information for future students

Contact us

Dr Charlotte King
Tel +64 3 470 3401
Website Applied Science programme