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Course content

Forensic art encompasses a wide range of subjects, notably facial anthropology and identification, such as two and three-dimensional facial reconstruction, craniofacial superimposition, post-mortem depiction, composite art and age progression.

This highly innovative one-year taught Masters course will encompass all these fields, employing highly specialised tutors from scientific backgrounds alongside experienced forensic art supervisors.

Why study Forensic Art at Dundee?

Forensic Art is the presentation of visual information in relation to legal procedures. A forensic artist may aid in the identification or location of victims of crime, missing persons or human remains, and may facilitate the identification, apprehension or conviction of criminals.

Forensic artists require technical and conceptual art skills alongside comprehensive medical and anatomical knowledge. The course provides training and expertise at the cutting-edge of the forensic art profession

What's so good about studying Forensic Art at Dundee?

You will benefit from the facilities of a well-established art college, whilst appreciating the newly-refurbished laboratories, a dedicated library and access to human material in a modern medical science environment.

The award-winning staff in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) are amongst the most experienced in the UK in the fields of human identification, forensic anthropology, craniofacial identification and the study of the human body. The core remit of the Centre is the study of anatomy and staff deliver high quality anatomy teaching at all levels, via whole body dissection which allows students to develop a sound knowledge of the human body.

The Centre was awarded a prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in November 2013. Presented in recognition of 'world class excellence', the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are among the most highly-regarded awards for the UK’s universities and colleges.

Teaching & Assessment

Teaching methods include traditional and online lectures, practical workshops in the studio and dissecting room and small group discussions. These encourage debate around theoretical research-based solutions to current practical problems.

The MSc will be taught full-time over one year (September to August).

How you will be taught

The course is delivered using traditional methods including lectures, practical studio sessions and small group discussions with an encouragement into debate and theoretical solutions to current problems.

What you will study

This highly innovative one-year taught MSc will encompass these fields, employing highly specialised tutors from scientific backgrounds alongside experienced forensic artists.

Semester 1 (60 credits)

In semester 1 the focus is on the study of anatomy through dissection, prosection study, illustration and facial sculpture and applying this to life art practice. Students will also be introduced to research methods and digital media.

Anatomy 1 - Head and Neck (15 credits)

Anatomy 2 - Post Cranial (15 credits)

Life Art (10 credits)

Digital Media Practice (10 credits)

Research Methods (10 credits)

Semester 1 may be also taken as a stand-alone PGCert entitled ‘Anatomy for Artists’.

Semester 2 (60 credits)

Forensic Facial Imaging, Analysis and Comparison (25 credits)

Forensic Art (25 credits)

Medical-Legal Ethics (10 credits)

On successful completion of Semesters 1 and 2 there is an exit award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Art and Facial Identification.

Semester 3 (60 credits) - dissertation and exhibition resulting from a self-directed project undertaken either at the university or as a placement.

How you will be assessed

A variety of assessment methods are employed, including anatomy spot-tests; oral and visual presentations; portfolio assessment of 2D/3D image acquisition and of artwork; written coursework and examination, such as forensic case reports.


This programme aims to provide professional vocational training to underpin your first degree, so that you can enter employment at the leading edge of your discipline. Career opportunities in forensic art are varied and will depend on individual background and interests.

In forensic art, potential careers exist within the police force and overseas law enforcement. Possible careers include:

Police art & design departments producing law enforcement documents, image enhancement, CCTV surveillance, image collection, staff posters and presentations.
SOCO/CSIs in UK or overseas law enforcement agencies
Facial composite practitioner and witness interview expert in police force
Archaeological artist working with museums, institutes and exhibitions
Facial identification services
Medico-legal artwork
Freelance art applications
Special effects and the media/film world
Academia – teaching or research
PhD research

Visit the MSc Forensic Art & Facial Identification page on the University of Dundee website for more details!





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