The forensic journey begins


Victoria Lionel was inspired by criminal investigation series like CSI and Criminal Minds to explore a career in forensics. She tells us about coming to the UK in pursuit of her long-term goals.

Like many of her generation, Victoria Lionel (BSc Forensic Science with Criminology) grew up with a keen interest in the workings of the criminal mind, inspired by classic television series like CSI.

But when she explored the options around forensics back home in Saint Lucia, she hit a major stumbling block – the facility there was closed. This struck Victoria as the perfect opportunity to fill a major skills gap.

"I was always interested in criminal psychology and the scientific methods used to examine evidence from crime scenes," she says.

"I found out there was a forensic lab in Saint Lucia, but it was closed due to the lack of qualified personnel. Now, my long-term goal is to become the director of the forensic science laboratory in Saint Lucia."

Ideal combinations at Greenwich

She's already had a strong start, after a spell working for the Government of Saint Lucia as a Laboratory Technician in a secondary school. During this time, she also taught Human and Social Biology.

But it was clear that her broader goals required more training, so Victoria decided to come to the UK to study Forensic Science. She received many offers, but the added Criminology component at the University of Greenwich was key to her decision.

"Most of the other universities I applied for did not offer this combination," she says. "Due to my interest in criminology, I felt that this degree would suit me best."

"Most importantly, it's an accredited course by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences," she adds. "The university pays for your student membership. You have access to hundreds of pieces of relevant forensic material and opportunities to go to conferences and network."

Forensic Science with Criminology is one of very few courses to be taught at both the Medway Campus in Chatham and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Students get free travel for their Greenwich classes and get to experience the full breadth of our campuses across London and Kent.

"Studying at both campuses was a fun experience," says Victoria.

Student using lab equipment
Get hands-on with our extensive crime scene facilities.

Practical, and having fun

Watching crime investigations is one thing, but how does the degree match up to expectations?

The university's new crime facility helps on that front. It boasts a suite of crime scene rooms, a purpose-built vehicle examination garage, specialised decomposition facilities and a mock mortuary.

After dressing in personal protective equipment (PPE), students get hands-on with mock practical crime scenes and learn how to retrieve evidence from victims found in murders and mass disasters. They even use clues from the reconstruction of skeletons to help identify who the victim was.

Another favourite element for Victoria was the mock court - learning how to present evidence in a court setting as preparation for expert witness testimony. This provides skills that can be applied to a range of settings.

"The degree had lots of practical elements, which is what I loved most about it," she says.

"Being able to apply what I learnt in class in a practical setting has developed my critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills.

"Overall, the best part of this degree is learning a vast amount of transferable skills which can be applied to any career path and having fun while doing it."

While her long-term goal remains to direct the Forensic Science lab, in the more immediate future she aims to become a Forensic Toxicologist or a Cybercrime Analyst within the National Crime Agency (NCA).

She has every reason to believe that her University of Greenwich degree will take her all the way.

Forensic science degrees

With consistent high ratings for student satisfaction over the years, our courses are diverse, student-centred, and are keeping pace with constantly changing developments and employment requirements in the world of forensics.