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Charlotte Bell

BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Science

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

Northumbria University is renowned for its good reputation. I know many people who have attended Northumbria and given it glowing reports in terms of academia and social scene. I live in Gateshead so it is close to home and very accessible.

What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?

I have quite an adventurous and quizzical nature and therefore prefer a range of activities rather than focusing on one. This is why I felt that a joint honours degree would be beneficial for me, as it has a broader range of subjects and practical work. Science has always been a love of mine, and considering my quest for change and excitement, forensic science was an obvious choice for me. Once I have finished my degree I intend to seek employment as a Scene of Crime Officer.

What qualifications did you have?

I am a mature student as I took a few years out of formal education to raise my four year old daughter. I have all of my GCSEs and have three A Levels. Before attending University I felt it wise to take a part-time HEFC course in Human Biology at Gateshead College in order to get reacquainted with studying and in order to apply to the University via this establishment through UCAS.

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

The first week of Northumbria University provoked a mixture of feelings - excitement, nerves and determination to succeed in my chosen degree.

What do you like most about the course?

I love the mixture of subjects and teaching styles, from lab work to class interaction. I particularly enjoy the imitation crime scenes and court situations.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently and what it involves?

I am currently working on a death investigation case study which involves the review of a post-mortem report, police statement and eye witness accounts. It also involves the testing of fluids within a lab situation to gain an accurate account of drug levels in order to come to a conclusion as to cause of death.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

I have the opportunity to do a year’s placement next year. Due to the nature of my course it is not possible to gain placement within a forensic lab, this is due to strict rules and regulations pertaining to this area of expertise. However work experience within labs of companies such as Procter and Gamble for example, are available.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I am a full time mum and also have a part time job working for my family business in Newcastle. I love to spend time with my family and we generally spend that time visiting National Trust areas of interest within the North East. I play a lot of golf with my dad on weekends which allows me to play with the University in connection with Team Northumbria.

What’s your accommodation like?

As I am a mature student I own my own home in Gateshead.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

I am enjoying the experience of University so much that I am actually considering staying to further my education in the form of a Master's degree.

How do you get on with your tutors?

My tutors are very down to earth and approachable. I particularly like the fact that they have all had first hand experience in their areas of teaching.

Have you used Student Services during your course?

I have never needed to use such services however they are widely advertised within the University, which has made me aware of them should I ever need their help.

How would you summarise your time here?

Challenging, interesting but, most importantly, fun.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course?

It is an amazing course and I really enjoy it because it is in relation to real life scenarios. My advice to anyone applying for my course is that Criminology and Forensic Science is not what it appears to be on television programmes. You need to have a real love of science and a strong stomach for graphic images and situations.

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