Forensic science is a dynamic discipline that is crucial to the investigation of crime, the collection of evidence and intelligence, and in securing justice. This multidisciplinary MSc programme offers students a unique opportunity to gain forensic science skills and methods within a holistic crime science framework.
Students will develop an understanding of the fundamental principles of crime and forensic science, together with the key conceptual and philosophical frameworks in this field. They will gain practical skills in crime scene investigation, experimental design and implementation, statistical analysis, data analysis and modelling, and will be able to evaluate the weight and applicability of forensic evidence for investigative and court purposes.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
An exit-only Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is offered.
Students choose three of the following optional modules:
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical exercises and statistical and computer classes. Assessment is through coursework, examination and the dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Crime and Forensic Science MSc
Graduates of this programme will gain the skills necessary for a career in crime investigation, forensic science provision, consultancy, policy-making, and with public sector employers such as police forces, Home Office, and Ministry of Defence. They will also have gained the research tools necessary for a PhD or further doctoral research.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Graduates from this programme gain a solid understanding of the key principles of crime and forensic science, along with the ability to analyse problems and use appropriate scientific and professional skills to solve them. They can evaluate forensic evidence and their CSI training (developed and delivered with input from London-based police forces) gives them the edge over other applicants for crime scene investigation roles, if this is what they decide to do. They have the opportunity to learn specialist techniques in areas such as forensic archaeology and forensic geoscience, and are given a thorough grounding in academic research methods.
Each year we ask our graduates to tell us about their experience of the programme and their career after leaving UCL and we include some real-life graduate profiles on our website.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
This MSc will train graduates to think strategically and critically about crime and forensic science, equipping them with transferable skills suitable for a wide range of careers.
The UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science (JDI) brings together academics from across the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities. Our graduate students come from varied backgrounds; many are practitioners and are encouraged to share their professional experience.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Computers are central to all aspects of our daily lives; as industries ranging from communications to banking have come to rely on them, the need for improved computer security has never been greater. This course focusses on two aspects of Cyber Security: analysis and assessment of risk plus how to minimise it, and, how to extract and use digital information from a wide range of systems and devices. The course is structured so that all students cover the same introductory material, but then choose to specialise in either Cyber Security or Digital Forensics.
Students taking the course will gain an understanding of the nature of the security threats that face computer systems and the type of information that is stored on digital devices (and how it can be extracted from them). They will benefit from a broad and varied array of state-of-the-art technologies, including:
All students will take the core modules which are designed to give a comprehensive introduction to this specialist field. They will cover basic digital forensics and network security, and also cover computer system tools and the UNIX operating system. Dealing with digital evidence in a professional manner (that includes adhering to appropriate legal guidelines) is also covered. You will then follow either the Cyber Security or Digital Forensics pathway within the course (though each lead to the same named degree: the pathways are simply opportunities to specialise within the field). In addition, all students will take a Research Methods module and complete a project module.
The course offers the opportunity to examine a variety of tools available on the open market, and the use of forensic tools to retrieve data from electronic sources. It will also consider the analysis of professional and ethical issues relating to computer security and forensics, and the development of professional competencies, such as report writing and presenting evidence in court.
Teaching methods include lab-based sessions, student-led tutorials and lectures by internal staff and guest speakers from industry. Our courses are offered by friendly, highly experienced staff, and benefit from the diverse specialist knowledge and skills within the departments of the Faculty. Assessments will be carried out mostly through practical or research-based course work.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
Digital Forensics pathway
Cyber Security Pathway
This programme is accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, for fully meeting the further learning educational requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status and for partially satisfying the underpinning knowledge requirements set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) and the Science Council for Chartered or Incorporated Engineer (CEng or IEng) status. Note that there are additional requirements, including work experience, to achieve full CITP, CEng, or IEng status. Graduates of this accredited degree will also be eligible for professional membership of BCS (MBCS).
The BCS accreditation is an indicator of the programme’s quality to students and employers; it is also an important benchmark of the programme’s standard in providing high quality computing education, and commitment to developing future IT professionals that have the potential to achieve Chartered status. The programme is also likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.
The course has two pathways, namely Cyber Security, and Forensics that can provide you with all the necessary skills for the following jobs:
The MSc in Analytical and Forensic Chemistry is aimed at those with a strong interest in modern instrumentation and in novel methods of chemical and forensic analysis.
A revolution in forensic, environmental and pharmaceutical science has been borne through advances in analytical science. We are now seeing a strong, worldwide demand for imaginative, skilled analysts who have knowledge and hands-on experience of modern analytical instrumentation.
Forensic science is a multidisciplinary activity that relies on chemical and analytical techniques to provide invaluable evidence from investigations of disasters, accidents and criminal activities. It may involve the detection of tiny amounts of explosives, poisons and drugs or the identification of fibres, paints, combustion residues, glass fragments, or counterfeit currency. Forensic work is also of a biological nature, with crime detection techniques such as DNA fingerprinting requiring an understanding of the underlying biochemistry.
The University’s Analytical Science Group has an international reputation for its innovative approach to analytical and forensic chemistry. We are one of the UK’s premier analytical groups, with a range of state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation.
In Semester 1 you take three core modules. These are designed to give a broad and balanced understanding of the most important developments in modern analytical and forensic chemistry:
In Semester 2 you use key research tools – such as online information retrieval – to learn about the background and the planning behind your chosen research project. You will also develop specialist knowledge of analytical and forensic chemistry:
In Semester 3 you complete an advanced analytical and forensic chemistry research project culminating in a Masters-level thesis and an oral presentation of your research successes:
Your learning will be diverse and varied. It will include interactive lectures, workshops, laboratory practicals, and computer lab sessions. You will explore the theoretical, practical and investigative aspects of analytical chemistry and forensic science, and develop invaluable professional skills, including the application of quality assurance and health safety, oral and written communication skills, problem solving, data handling and working in teams.
* All modules are subject to availability.
We teach a modern curriculum covering key areas of analytical chemistry of importance to industry, including process analysis, quality assurance, spectrometry and chromatography; and cutting-edge interdisciplinary research topics in areas such as lab-on-a-chip.
The knowledge and skills you will learn on this MSc will prepare you for a career in forensic science providing invaluable evidence from investigations of disasters, accidents and criminal activities.
We undertake world-class research in many scientific areas and are famous for our pioneering work on liquid crystals. Many of our Masters students choose to progress on to PhD-level study.