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Masters Degrees (Forensic Geoscience)

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Forensic science is a dynamic discipline that is crucial to the investigation of crime, the collection of evidence and intelligence, and in securing justice. Read more
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.

Degree information

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.

Core modules
-Quantitative Methods
-Designing and Doing Research
-Understanding and Interpreting Forensic Evidence
-Foundations of Security and Crime Science
-Judicial Decision Making and Expert Evidence

Optional modules - students choose three of the following optional modules:
-Case Assessment and Interpretation for Forensic Scientists
-Fundamentals of Molecular Biology
-Information Security Management
-Forensic Archaeology
-Forensic Osteology
-Forensic Geoscience
-Frontiers in Experimental Physical Chemistry
-Judgment and Decision Making
-Practices of Crime Scene Investigation and Expert Testimony
-Structural Methods in Modern Chemistry

Dissertation/report
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.

Careers

Graduates of this programme will gain the skills necessary for a career in crime investigation, forensic science provision, consultancy, policymaking, 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.

Employability
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: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/scs/degree-programmes/postgraduate/graduate-profiles

Why study this degree at UCL?

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.

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This MSc provides students with a foundation in the analysis of human remains, both in archaeological and modern forensic settings. Read more
This MSc provides students with a foundation in the analysis of human remains, both in archaeological and modern forensic settings. With a solid grounding in skeletal and dental anatomy, students learn about morphological variation, development, methods for biological profiling, human disease and forensic approaches to trauma and taphonomy.

Degree information

Students will learn procedures for interpretation and analysis of human skeletal remains - considering both archaeological and modern forensic contexts. There is a unique opportunity to analyse recently excavated human remains, utilising methods and techniques learned during the programme. While the focus of this programme is primarily on modern humans, late Pleistocene hominids are also considered.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (75 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules
-Dental Anthropology
-Forensic Anthropology
-Methodology and Issues in Bioarchaeology and Palaeoepidemiology
-Morphology and Palaeopathology of the Human Skeleton
-Variation and Evolution of the Human Skull

Optional modules
-Anthropological and Archaeological Genetics
-Archaeology of Early Modern Humans
-Forensic Archaeology
-Forensic Geoscience (by arrangement with the Jill Dando Centre for Forensic Sciences)
-Funerary Archaeology
-Human Evolution (by arrangement with the Department of Anthropology)
-Palaeoanthropology (by arrangement with the Department of Anthropology)
-Zooarchaeology in Practice
-Other Master's options available at the Institute of Archaeology.

Dissertation/report
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical classes. This MSc has strong links with the Forensic Archaeological Science MSc which gives individual programmes an interesting mix of participants and provides many opportunities for discussion. Assessment is through essays, class tests, reports and the dissertation.

Careers

Some graduates of the programme go on to PhD studies, while others go on to work in a range of archaeological and non-archaeological organisations as osteoarchaeological specialists, the police, curators and political researchers.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse archaeology department in the UK, offering students a range of opportunities.

This particular MSc is unique, offering a combination of bioarchaeological and forensic principles for the study of human remains unlike anything else available in the UK. Students further benefit from access to a large collection of skeletal material for study, including dental and palaeopathology reference collections. Access to sophisticated equipment and techniques (laser scanner, SEM, thin sectioning, CT) is also available.

Some lectures will take place at the Royal College of Surgeons and students have access to their teaching collections and museums, including the Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology.

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Geochemistry is at the heart of earth sciences, and provides the techniques and knowledge that allow scientists to answer such fundamental questions as. Read more

MSc in Geochemistry

Geochemistry is at the heart of earth sciences, and provides the techniques and knowledge that allow scientists to answer such fundamental questions as: how has the mantle evolved through time, was there ever life on Mars, what was the chemistry of Earth’s and Mars’ ancient atmospheres, and what are the rates and drivers of past and current climate change on Earth? Geochemistry has widespread applications to understanding and solving contemporary problems in Earth surface chemistry, such as pollution of soils and water or rates of ocean acidification. It is a forensic part of Earth science and is used to address questions that are both diverse and profound.

The St Andrews MSc in Geochemistry delivers postgraduate level knowledge and skills training in geochemistry and modern geochemical methods, involving extensive hands-on laboratory training and experience with state-of-the-art equipment. This comprehensive and rigorous course is relevant preparation for pursuing a PhD in geochemistry by incorporating a lab-based research dissertation, as well as employment in industry through incorporation of economic and environmental geochemistry
modules. Staff in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences and the School of Chemistry contribute to the core laboratory training and teaching within subject modules.

Features

The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences has 20 full-time academics, 8 research fellows and 4 technical staff members, with a student population of about 170. We have a wide range of expertise in the field of geochemistry underpinned by new state-of-the-art laboratory facilities developed as a result of the recent appointment of early career academics over the past five years. Geochemistry research spans investigations into the origins of life, evolution of the Earth and other terrestrial planets, composition of
oceans, rivers and atmospheres, and the pulse of past and current climate change.

Postgraduate community

A dynamic and research-intensive atmosphere is encouraged and supportive of all students. The size of our Department engenders cohesive and friendly collaborations between staff, postdoctoral research fellows and postgraduate students, and co-authored papers are routinely published in the top journals for geochemistry, such as Nature, Nature Geoscience, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta and Science. We are part of the ‘IAPETUS’ NERC Doctoral Training programme, along with the universities of Durham, Glasgow, Newcastle and Stirling, and the British Geological Survey.

Facilities

The Department houses state-of-the-art stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry and geobiology laboratories, including culturing facilities for corals and microbes. Our research equipment includes five high-precision isotope mass spectrometers (two MAT 253s, two Nu Plasma, and one Neptune Plus installed in 2015), two Class 100 clean labs, an XSeries quadropole ICP-MS, ICP-OES, and a Finnegan Delta Plus XP gas source mass spectrometer. All materials, and particularly gases, liquids, minerals, rocks, organisms, and soils, can be analysed for isotopes and major and trace elements within research projects that cover the breadth of earth and environmental science. We host an experimental petrology facility capable of simulating conditions from the mid-crust to upper mantle (pressures of between 0.5-4.5 GPa and 300- 2000°C). A range of spectroscopic, SEM, electron microprobe and X-ray diffraction and fluorescence techniques are also part of our analytical facilities.

Careers

The range of research areas and applications of geochemistry is so broad that career opportunities span the whole of earth and environmental sciences. Geochemists are employed in the energy sector (hydrocarbon industries, petrochemicals, nuclear and renewables), in mining and mineral exploration, extraction and processing, and in environmental industries and agencies focused on pollution monitoring and environmental remediation. Masters-level training in geochemistry would provide a suitable platform for a career in materials science outside of earth and environmental sciences specifically. MSc Geochemistry graduates are also in demand as specialised research technicians in academic institutes worldwide and as PhD students in geochemistry-focused research.

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