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Course content

MSc Fire Investigation develops fire investigation knowledge and practical experience of investigation of actual fire scenes including excavation of fire debris, location of the seat of fire, investigation of the cause of fire, analysis for accelerants.

This course is designed for those who are employed, or who wish to pursue a career, in the area of fire investigation as a fire officer, crime scene investigator, forensic scientist or insurance investigator.

Fire Investigation is the analysis of fire-related incidents and is a highly multi-disciplinary area. Fire investigators need knowledge of fire behaviour, scene management, analytical chemistry and investigative skills. This course covers fire science and fire behaviour, fire investigation, analytical science, and provides students with research skills and knowledge of being an expert witness in the English legal system.


The Fire Laboratory houses a full suite of fire test equipment where the flammability and fire toxicity of various materials can be investigated. MSc students take practical classes, carry out simulated casework and conduct lab-based dissertation research projects. Students also have access to a wide range of analytical instrumentation in the Faculty of Science and Technology’s Analytical Unit. The Unit has gas chromatographs with pyrolysis injection capability and FID, MS and EC detectors, ion chromatographs and high performance liquid chromatographs with diode array, fluorescence and MS and Differential refractometer detectors. The Unit also has facilities for atomic absorption, UV-visible and infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, NMR spectrometry, inductive coupled plasma mass spectrometry and Scanning Electron Microscopy With Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDAX).

The course will be delivered through lectures, tutorials and practical exercises. Guided teaching and formal assessments will enhance the development of transferable skills such as report-writing, maintenance of case notes, formal presentations, participation in discussions, ability to work to deadlines, computing skills, public speaking, scientific analysis, adherence and development of laboratory protocols and research methods.

Assessment is by exam, practicals and coursework. Assessments include the examination of fire scenes from real fires and producing case notes and reports, essays, moot courts, presentations and a dissertation.


Students graduating from this course will be well placed to gain employment in fire investigation teams, forensic science laboratories, and fraud departments in major government or private organisations, or to go on to further research in academia.

Visit the Fire Investigation - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Central Lancashire website for more details!




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