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Forensic Ballistics (MSc/PgDip)

Course Description

Course Description

This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive insight of the field of firearms, ammunition and ballistic investigations. The course is highly practical and hands-on, aiming to produce a clear understanding of how firearms and ammunition function, the science of ballistics, the role of the forensic firearms examiner and how the forensic evidence produced in gun crime can be used to help resolve issues in relation to criminal and civil law.

The course aims to equip students with the necessary understanding of science and technology, law, courtroom skills and research methods in order to thoroughly prepare them for professional development as an expert witness in forensic science.

The Forensic Ballistics MSc is part of the Forensic MSc Programme which is formally accredited by the Forensic Science Society.

Course overview

The course consists of a one-week period of introductory studies followed by academic instruction in modular form. Most modules are of five days' duration, interspersed with weeks devoted to private study. Students are required to take four core modules, four role specific modules and choose three elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements or interests. This is followed by a four-month research project and either a thesis or literature review and paper.

Duration: Full-time MSc - one year, Part-time MSc - up to three years, Full-time PgDip - one year, Part-time PgDip - two years

English Language Requirements

Students whose first language is not English must attain an IELTS score of 7


Students are required to take eight core modules and choose three elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements, or interests. This is followed by a four-month research project and thesis.

- Analytical Techniques
- Courtroom Skills
- Failure Analysis of Components
- Firearms Investigations
- Forensic Ballistic Investigations
- Investigation and Evidence Collection
- Reasoning for Forensic Science
- Introduction to Firearms Investigations and Forensic Ballistics

- Fakes and Forgeries
- Fires, Explosions and their Investigation
- Forensic Archaeology: Recovering Buried Remains
- Forensic Investigation of Explosives and Explosive Devices
- Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology: Osteology
- Mass Fatality Incidents
- Radiographic Investigations in Forensic Science
- Trace Evidence
- Hazardous Forensics
- Forensic Exploitation and Intelligence
- Digital Crime and Investigation
- Environmental Forensic Science

Individual Project

The individual project takes four months from April to July. The student selects from a range of titles, or may propose their own topic. Most are practically or experimentally based using Cranfield’s unique facilities.


By written and practical examinations, continuous assessment, project presentation and viva voce.

Career opportunities

Takes you on to opportunities to practice as a professional expert witness in forensic ballistics, within forensic laboratories, police departments, government bodies and non-governmental organisations. It is also a necessary introduction that could lead into conducting research at PhD level in the subject.

For further information

On this course, please visit our course webpage http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/courses/masters/forensic-ballistics.html

Visit the Forensic Ballistics (MSc/PgDip) page on the Cranfield University at Shrivenham website for more details!

Student Profiles

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) - 20+ Awards

Cranfield University is now able to offer you a more affordable way to study an MSc with loans managed by Prodigy Finance.With a Cranfield Postgraduate Loan it is possible for you to take up your MSc studies with no repayments while you study. This will leave you free to concentrate on your course and enhance your career prospects.Launched in February 2014, the scheme is designed to support UK and EU students entering postgraduate study and is intended to attract those who may not otherwise progress to this level because of financial constraints.Loans of up to £15,000 are available (dependent on the tuition fees for your chosen course).
If you are a UK student, loans are available for tuition fees and maintenance. EU students can apply for a loan covering only tuition fees.
Loans are repaid over a seven year period and repayments start six months after you complete your degree. As a not-for-profit scheme, funded by Cranfield and HEFCE, the loans are competitively priced (6.92% APR representative) and considerably more affordable than a standard career development loan.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Loans of up to £15,000 total


You can apply for a loan if you:• are domiciled in the UK or EU and qualify for ‘Home/EU’ fees and
• have an admissions offer to a Cranfield full-time, taught MSc course in a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering or Mathematics) subject

Application Procedure

If you already have an applicable course offer you can apply online through Prodigy Finance. You will need to provide Prodigy Finance with details of your offer from Cranfield. Your loan application will be considered and responded to within a few days.If you are yet to secure an offer of a place you can register your interest in the scheme and we will keep you up-to-date.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree (or equivalent) ideally in a related subject. Other recognised professional qualifications or several years relevant industrial experience may be accepted as equivalent; subject to approval by the Course Director. For further and specific information please visit the course page.

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