This course, which uniquely combines forensic genetic and conservation genetic elements within one of the largest forensic science academic departments in the world, runs in conjunction with other well established and popular MSc courses. Students will learn the fundamentals of molecular genetics, population genetics and phylogenetics that underpin the disciplines of forensic and conservation genetics and develop both theoretical knowledge and practical application.
Small cohort sizes will allow the use of a diverse range of assessments and the provision of considerable student support. Teaching will be carried out using a combination of lectures, tutorials, practicals, computer workshops and self-directed study. In addition to six taught modules, students will undertake a three-module research project which will develop laboratory and research skills. Depending on availability, students may also have an opportunity to visit and gain field experience at the Maasai Centre for Field Studies in Kenya.
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AND ASSESSMENT
The forensic genetics group has dedicated pre and post-PCR laboratories housing an ABI3500, two ABI310 machines, an ABI7500 real-time PCR machine, a number of ABI2700 PCR machines, gel imaging systems, and several PCR cabinets. MSc students will carry out laboratory-based dissertation research projects within these well equipped modern laboratories. Research topics within the group are diverse, ranging from forensic genetics and human genetics, to wildlife forensics and forensic entomology. This will ensure that a wide choice of dissertation topics is available to our students. We also have a number of full-time and part-time MRes/MPhil/PhD students and an interest in research is actively encouraged and maintained throughout the year via seminars/ discussions.
The course will be delivered through lectures, tutorials, computer workshops, and practical classes, working independently or as part of a group. At least an equal amount of time should be spent in private study reading around the subject. Guided teaching and formal assessments on this course will enhance the development of a number of transferable skills such as the production of written case reports, formal presentations, active participation in discussions, ability to work to deadlines, computing skills, scientific analysis, adherence and development of laboratory protocols, and research methods.
Assessment is predominantly through coursework except for one module which is assessed by both examination and coursework. Coursework will include written essays, laboratory reports, case reports, presentations and in Part 3, a dissertation.
Students graduating from this course will be well placed to undertake further research at the doctoral level or take up jobs in forensic/genetics/veterinary/diagnostic/wildlife protection laboratories.
Two of our graduates have taken on jobs as DNA analysts while a others have gone on to undertake further degrees or research towards a MPhil/PhD.
Depending on availability, students may have an opportunity to visit and gain field experience at the Maasai Centre for Field Studies in Kenya.