The MSc in Forensic Science is the UK’s longest established forensic science degree course, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016/2017.
You’ll join a global network of Strathclyde forensic science graduates in highly respected positions all over the world.
In addition to preparing you for life as a forensic scientist, you’ll also graduate with a wide range of practical skills, problem solving and investigative thinking relevant to a wide range of careers.
Following a general introduction to forensic science in semester 1, you can choose to specialise in either forensic biology or forensic chemistry. As a forensic biologist you’ll study a range of topics including:
If you choose to specialise in forensic chemistry, you’ll develop expertise in:
The focal point of the course is our major crime scene exercise, in which you are expected to investigate your own mock outdoor crime scene, collect and analyse the evidence, and present this in Glasgow Sheriff Court in conjunction with students training in Strathclyde Law School.
In semester 3, MSc students undertake a three-month project, culminating in the production of a dissertation.
Students may be given the opportunity to complete their project in an operational forensic science provider either in the UK or overseas (subject to visa requirements). Alternatively, students may complete their project within the Centre for Forensic Science itself, under the supervision of our team of academics.
Examples of institutions that previous Strathclyde students have been placed in to undertake their project include:
The MSc in Forensic Science runs for 12 months, commencing in September.
Teaching takes place in the Centre for Forensic Science. It’s a modern purpose-built laboratory for practical forensic training, equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation for analysis of a wide range of evidence types. This includes a microscopy suite, DNA profiling laboratory, analytical chemistry laboratory, blood pattern analysis room, and a suite for setting up mock crime scenes.
The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences is a professional body with members in over 60 countries and is one of the oldest and largest forensic science associations in the world.
Our MSc in Forensic Science is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, demonstrating our commitment to meeting their high educational standards for forensic science tuition.
Assessment consists of written coursework, practical work assessments, oral presentations and formal written examinations. Practical work is continually assessed and counts towards the award of the degree. The project is assessed through the completion of a dissertation.
The award of MSc is based upon 180 credits.
Most forensic scientists in Scotland are employed by the Scottish Police Authority.
In the rest of the UK, forensic scientists are employed by individual police forces, private forensic science providers such as LGC Forensics and Cellmark Forensic Services, or government bodies such as the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
Outside of the UK, forensic scientists may be employed by police forces, government bodies or private companies.
Forensic scientists can specialise in specific areas such as crime scene examination, DNA analysis, drug analysis, and fire investigation.
Most of the work is laboratory-based but experienced forensic scientists may have to attend crime scenes and give evidence in court.
Where are they now?
Many of our graduates are in work or further study.**
Job titles include:
*information is intended only as a guide.
**Based on the results of the National Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (2010/11 and 2011/12).
Unlike other courses which focus on offender assessment and rehabilitation, this new course will examine the theoretical and investigative aspects of forensic psychology, tracking the criminal justice process from the crime scene to the court room. It is an exceptionally hands-on, practical course, using our unique on-campus Crime Scene Training Centre together with Psychology Testing Suites with the latest eye-tracking and face-processing equipment.
As well as the underlying theories regarding the psychology of investigations and considering areas such as how face processing can assist identification of individuals, you will explore different offence types - sexual offending, murder and violent crime, group offending (including terrorism, hooliganism and rioting), and different forms of cyber-crime (e.g. hacktivism and on-line sexual abuse).
You’ll be expected to investigate and scrutinise violent mocked-up crime scenes to provide written and verbal evidence, learning how to present expert witness testimony in a mock court.
You will evaluate victims, witnesses, suspects and offenders, environment, geography and time, working with practitioners who create fieldwork, case studies and exercises based on their real experiences.
Guest speakers sharing their knowledge will be an integral feature of the course, as will Terri Cole, the course leader's own experiences as a Behavioural Investigative Adviser and Serious Crime Analyst. Terri worked for a number of years with police forces providing offender profiling, crime scene assessment and offence linkage advice in relation to serious sexual offences and murder. She brings her expertise and experience together to focus on crime scene behaviour and how psychology can assist investigations on this new course.
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.
MSc Forensic Anthropology is designed to enable graduate students to develop skills in a variety of areas, which concern the processing, analysis and identification of human remains. This postgraduate course provides intensive training in developmental anatomy and osteology, forensic anthropology methods and theory, forensic taphonomy in theory and practice, crime scene investigation and the law, research methods and expert witness and presentation skills. The course has a focus on both domestic forensic anthropology work (e.g. UK and US) and forensic anthropology in the context of international humanitarian work and international criminal investigation.
UCLan’s postgraduate Forensic Anthropology course is the only forensic anthropology/osteology MSc in the UK to be based within a dedicated forensics department with state-of-the-art Crime Scene Investigation practical labs as well as excellent resources in Forensic Biology and Chemistry.
We have a dedicated MSc Forensic Anthropology laboratory and radiography facilities with the full range of teaching casts as well as an extensive collection of experimentally induced projectile, blunt and sharp force trauma. We have an archaeological skeletal collection consisting of some 120 individuals from two sites, one late Medieval and one Victorian. UCLan’s TRACES facility for decomposition and taphonomic experimentation is located nearby and many students choose to conduct MSc dissertation research projects as part of the long term research agenda into estimating time since death. Staff members teaching the course are also active in research and consultancy.
Assessment is based on a combination of coursework and examination and includes an MSc dissertation project. Students are encouraged to present their research findings at international meetings.
Graduating from this course, you will be well placed to undertake further research at the doctoral level, take up jobs in forensic anthropology laboratories, or to participate in human remains excavations.
The Forensic Science programme will provide you with advanced knowledge of the forensic processes (particularly chemistry and biology) and analytical techniques used in crime investigation. It is the longest-running accredited programme of its type in England.
Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, our Forensic Sciences study programme is the longest-running programme of its type in England, having been first established in 1985.
You will benefit from an advanced and flexible study programme devised and delivered by internationally leading researchers, and recognised forensic providers including our accredited DNA analysis and Drug Control Centre testing laboratories. We also collaborate closely with the Metropolitan Police Forensic Services Directorate in both teaching and research.
The course is made up of two 15 credit modules and three 30 credit modules followed by a 60 or 120 credit research module. If you are studying full-time, you will complete the course in one year, from September to September. If you are studying for the MRes qualification, you will study an extended research module that carries a further 120 credits to complete the course.
For flexibility, a significant proportion of the course will be delivered by narrated PowerPoint. Teaching time includes workshops, group discussions and problem-based learning exercises. Approximate total contact hours for the taught modules is 360-hours.
You are also expected to undertake 840 hours of team and individual study.
Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
Current evaluation methods include examinations, MCQs, witness statements, courtroom appearance, crime scene management and assignments.
Formative assessments are carried out as teamwork with both peer and academic feedback. This is designed to help students with the subsequent summative assessments.
The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they are subject to change.
You will also need to have either started or completed a course of Hepatitis B vaccinations.
Most of our students go on to work in the forensic science sector with forensic service providers within the UK, European and International field being the major employers. Others have taken employment with the Metropolitan Police or crime scene departments of other police forces. Many of our Canadian graduates now work for the RCMP or the Toronto Centre for Forensic Sciences. Some of our students go on to do a PhD either at King's College London or other universities across the country.