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.
This course aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of the underlying theories and their practical application in fire investigation. You will also experience extensive practical experience of the major techniques, methodologies and approaches used in fire investigation. In addition you will develop your skills in critical thinking using a range of academic paradigms by undertaking an extensive research project in the field of fire investigation.
Fire Science and Building Construction
This module will introduce you to the basic science that underpins the investigation of fire scenes. You will be introduced to the chemistry of combustion, including consideration of the effects of ventilation, physical properties of combustible materials and ignition sources. You will look at the ontogeny and progression of combustion events, but also the legal and health and safety aspects underpinning fire science.
Evidence Gathering at Fire Scenes
This module will cover all aspects of the practical steps needed to identify and gather evidence at Fire Scenes. Integral to this module will be an appreciation of issues of continuity and integrity and an awareness of the differences between criminal and other investigations of scenes of fire.
Fire Scene Investigation Practical
You will gain direct practical experience of undertaking a fire scene investigation at the Oldbury facility of the West Midlands Fire Service. This module will expose you to a simulated fire scene, where you will have to carry out the full investigation of documenting and recording the scene, followed by evidence identification and recovery.
Interpretation of Fire Scenes
This module will allow you to utilise the various evidence strands that are present in fire scenes to work out the cause, origin and spread of fires. You will then discuss the effects of fire and products of combustion on the human body, including human behaviour.
Managing Fire Scene Investigations and Report Writing
This module will provide an in-depth analysis of the considerations surrounding the management of the investigations of fire scenes. There will be an overview of personnel involved, their roles and contribution to the investigation. The module will also describe the preparation of written and oral testimony for courts of law. Finally the presentation of the report in oral testimony will be reviewed.
provides you with the necessary skills to undertake a research project in this exciting area. The module will include a project specific literature review, experimental design and project planning, an oral presentation and an introduction to statistics in investigating experimental questions.
The research project in Fire Investigation is an integral part of the course and is intended to develop research skills in persons undertaking careers in forensic mark comparison. As well as applying the scientific approach to research coupled with statistical validation of results from the research methods module, genuine case-based research will be undertaken at the University, in one of the course partners or at a number of alternative providers.
a) The delivery of the course would involve a partnership between one of the leading centres of fire investigation in the UK and the University. Both partners have an established track record in delivering training and education with a vocational aspect in this area.
b) The Oldbury Fire Investigation facility will allow the student a unique hands-on practical experience that is not offered by any other MSc course in the Midlands region.
c) There are opportunities for experienced fire investigators and forensic scene investigators to fast-track to the MSc.
Unfortunately, fires are always going to happen. There will always be a need to investigate these as the consequences of fires are extensive damage to persons and property. The applied nature of this course means that a number of career paths are available to you. These include:
At the end of this course you, the student, will demonstrate:
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 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).
Understanding data is becoming increasingly important for us all. This is especially true for the intelligence analyst working for a police intelligence unit or business analytics department. The MSc Crime Intelligence and Data Analytics (with Advanced Practice) course helps you develop the necessary skills to work in these sectors.
The work boundaries of the traditional police intelligence analyst and digital forensic investigator are becoming blurred – today’s analysts need to be cyber aware, understanding how communication records and web search histories can be extracted and analysed.
This course covers these areas as well as theories that provide a better sense of the causes of crime and the prevention measures that can be put in place to stabilise and reverse these trends. Analysts shouldn’t be phased by data simply because of its size, complexity or format. This course provides you with the skills to work effectively with large datasets, allowing you to make more informed decisions in relation to criminal investigations. Key features include writing code to quickly clean up data and packaging it so it’s suitable for analysis and visualisation. You will discover that the world constantly presents data in data frames or spreadsheets – our daily activities are invariably logged by a time, date, geolocation. You develop these skills along with your confidence in applying them to make more sense of the data – analysing Twitter downloads, searched words and images, geolocation points or big data. This course also explores strategies employed in forensic investigation. It gives you the space and opportunity to develop your own area of interest in a 60-credit research project where your supervisor enables you to maximise your skillsets from academic writing to data analytics.The two-year MSc Crime Intelligence and Data Analytics (with Advanced Practice) is an opportunity to enhance your qualification by spending one year completing an internship, research or study abroad experience. Although we can’t guarantee an internship, we can provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge. Alternatively, a research internship develops your research and academic skills as you work as part of a research team in an academic setting – ideal if you are interested in a career in research or academia. A third option is to study abroad in an academic exchange with one of our partner universities. This option does incur additional costs such as travel and accommodation. You must also take responsibility for ensuring you have the appropriate visa to study outside the UK, where relevant.
For the MSc award you must successfully complete 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit master's research project.
Advanced Practice options
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
You learn through a range of lectures, seminars, tutorials and IT laboratories, using a variety of software. Simulated problems and scenarios are posed in much the same way that analysts would face in the real world. You have the opportunity to use software that is found in real-world intelligence analysis and digital forensic units and data science. Engaging and learning from your peers will help you to achieve solutions. Much of the software you use in class can be downloaded for home use.
How you are assessed
You are assessed through a formal exam as well as through structured coursework.
You can expect to apply for an intelligence researcher and intelligence analyst role in a wide variety of career opportunities ranging from security, policing and business.
The MSc Forensic Genetics and Human Identification is a comprehensive course on Human Identification and Mass Fatality Incident Analysis incorporating the full methodological repertoire of Forensic Genetics and DNA analysis, Physical Anthropology, Crime Scene Investigation and Human Identification based on biometric assessment of a variety of physical characteristics.
Intensive Course Program
We deliver our masters programmes in two semesters of taught subject materials, followed by a full-time intensive research project over the summer.
Throughout the taught section of the program, current and advanced topics in Human Identification are taught by forensic scientists and practitioners in comprehensive lecture series. Lecture topics are discussed in seminars and reinforced in practical teaching sessions.
During our methods units, students learn advanced research techniques and topic related professional skills.
Subsequently, students carry out their independent research project (in one of the featured subjects) in collaboration with a member of the Forensic Science department, based upon a comprehensive literature review and project design.
The ten week full-time research project is accompanied by training in scientific writing, project design and oral presentation skills.
Student Services and Guidance
A two week orientation prior to the programme provides assistance and advice for managing the day to day life and familiarisation with the university facilities. The School of Applied Sciences also provides an optional one week transition program for international students.
If you commenced undergraduate study at any University in 2012 you may be eligible for a £10,000 bursary
The Masters in Forensic Genetics and Human Identification is a comprehensive course on Human Identification and Mass Fatality Incident Analysis incorporating the full methodological repertoire of Forensic Genetics and DNA Analysis, Physical Anthropology and Human Identification based on biometric assessment of physical characteristics incorporated with advanced research techniques and associated professional skills.
With reference to its structure and combination of key topics, this course is quite unique in the national as well as international market, while being designed to generate a postgraduate level of competence in an important as well as exciting area of Forensic Science.
This course will be good preparation for graduates looking for a career in the disaster victim identification/ mass disaster victim identification areas
This is a new award and does not have accreditation. We will be seeking accreditation by an appropriate professional body in the near future.