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.
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.
Our MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health course is aimed at graduates who want to pursue a career as a Chartered Psychologist and/or register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Forensic Psychologist.
You will cover topics such as psychology applied to legal and investigative processes, forensic risk assessment, offending behaviour interventions, research methods, and personality disorders.
Teaching will comprise a blend of face-to-face and online delivery, and will be based on case examples from forensic and clinical practice.
On completion of the course, you will demonstrate a number of competencies and have enhanced knowledge and skills including:
Each unit enables you to develop a range of core and transferable skills central to the role of a forensic/practitioner psychologist. The course promotes the development of critical thinking and student engagement.
Mental health focus
The focus on mental health throughout the units within this MSc may give you a distinct advantage over an MSc in forensic psychology at another university.
The programme team also run Manchester's Forensic Academy , which provides regular short skills-based courses for staff working in health, criminal justice and social services.
We use a range of teaching and learning methods, including face-to-face lectures, online activity, directed and guided independent study, and group tasks.
We aim to provide a grounding in current issues in forensic psychology while encouraging significant independent study, as would be expected at postgraduate level.
All teaching is delivered by clinicians currently practicing in forensic mental health and/or active researchers. This enhances learning by offering numerous practice-based clinical examples and research-led teaching.
All teaching is interactive and is supported by audio-visual stimuli such as PowerPoint slides, images and videos. All units are accessible via Blackboard, which contains timetable information, recommended reading lists, assignments, lecture materials and other material related to the course.
Each unit has a discussion facility via Blackboard and lecturers may set tasks to be completed via the virtual learning environment. This facilitates shared learning and networking with peers and teaching staff.
The scientist-practitioner approach will be advocated throughout the course, as will reflective practice and adherence to ethical and professional standards of practice as defined by the BPS and HCPC.
The teaching is designed to enable you to balance study alongside existing workplace demands. The full-time pathway is delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while part-time students would be required to attend only one day a week per semester.
All students will be assigned a personal tutor and regular individual and group tutorials will be held.
We use a range of assessment methods to meet learning outcomes while also developing wider skills and capabilities in line with progression to a career in forensic psychology.
These include critical analysis of literature and theory, case reports, analysis of ethical and professional practice standards (as applied to clinical practice and research), a reflective account, oral presentations, exams and the empirical research project.
You will be given detailed formal feedback for all summative assessments, with clear guidance on how to improve on skills and knowledge.
All students will complete the dissertation project (60 credits), which involves completing a forensic research project, and will take the lead on developing the research question and proposal, as well as conducting the data collection, analysis and dissemination.
You will receive approximately 28 hours of supervision throughout the dissertation project.
This course is offered on both a full and part-time basis. For the part-time option, you will be offered 60 credits per year over two years, one day per week. The second year will also include the dissertation.
For the full-time option, you will be offered 60 credits per semester over two days per week. The dissertation will commence as soon as possible within the academic year (April at the latest), with a submission deadline of September.
The University of Manchester offers extensive library and online services to help you get the most out of your studies.
Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .
Forensic psychologists work across all agencies within the criminal justice system, primarily in prison and probation services, secure hospitals, the police and the courts. These agencies and organisations will be your primary employers if you graduate from this MSc.
Our course is accredited by the British Psychological Society.
This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
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
Forensic Genetics, Forensic Anthropology, Human Identification from Physical Characteristics, Professional Skills in Forensic Science, Laboratory techniques, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, Research Methods and Research Project
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.