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Course content

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.

About this degree

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
  • Law and Expert Evidence
  • Dissertation

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 Anthropology
  • 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
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity
  • Advanced Forensic Anthropology

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.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Crime and Forensic Science MSc

Careers

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

  • Crime Analyst, Home Office
  • Data Analyst, Civil Service
  • Rehabilitation Adviser, Frimley Park Hospital (NHS)
  • PhD in Security Science, UCL

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.

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.

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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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.


Visit the Crime and Forensic Science (MSc/PGDip) page on the University College London website for more details!

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