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MSc DNA Profiling


Course Description

The MSc in DNA profiling is designed for both graduate students and forensic practitioners. It will develop theoretical knowledge and practical application of the key aspects of forensic DNA profiling. While the course will focus on forensic applications, the skills developed will also be transferable to any type of diagnostic DNA typing. Students on this course will study the fundamentals of molecular genetics that underpin the discipline of DNA profiling. They will have the opportunity to undertake simulated cases from the analysis of the simulated evidence through to the DNA analysis and the presentation of a written report. The interpretation of DNA evidence will be examined in detail; this will involve the analysis of complex (degraded and mixed profiles) and familiarisation with the statistical analysis that is involved in human population genetics, which is central to the numerical interpretation of DNA profiles. The course will also provide the opportunity to develop key transferable skills including research techniques, critical analysis of written material and communication skills.

On this course, students will study the fundamentals of molecular genetics that underpin the discipline of DNA profiling. They will also have the opportunity to undertake simulated cases from the analysis of the evidence through to the DNA analysis and the presentation of a written report. The interpretation of DNA evidence will be examined in detail; this will involve the analysis of complex (degraded and mixed) profiles, and familiarisation with the statistical analysis involved in human population genetics, which is central to the numerical interpretation of DNA profiles. The research project allows students to focus on a particular area of interest and to implement the skills that they have developed over the previous months.

The course is structured into three parts :

Part 1 (14 weeks) :
Research Methods: Trains students in a wide range of skills including technical documentation, project design and management, data retrieval and analysis and technical writing.
Forensic Genetics I: Introduces you to the principles, methods and techniques of molecular biology and genetics that are relevant to current DNA profiling within a forensic context.
Forensic Genetics II: Builds on Forensic Genetics I training you in current DNA profiling procedures, techniques and interpretation. You will develop a critical understanding of the above within the wider context and investigate potential developments in this area.

Part 2 (14 weeks) :
Population Genetics & Statistics: Covers the principles of population genetics and the mathematical and statistical methods underpinning population genetic theory.
Expert Witness & Communication: Covers communication skills providing background and training in expert witness delivery, and the study of British and International Law.
Group Project: Gives you the opportunity to work as a team of forensic investigators setting up and validating your own laboratory procedures and process simulated casework. You will be assessed on the production a laboratory quality manual and case reports.

Part 3 (16 weeks) :
Research Project: You will undertake a laboratory based research project which will allow you to investigate in detail an aspect of DNA profiling that interests you. Following conclusion of the work, you will produce a project dissertation and give a presentation of your findings.

Course Leader Will Goodwin is a member of the Forensic Science Society, the International Society of Forensic Genetics and the advisory panel of CIFA. His research interests are in the extraction and analysis of ancient DNA, population genetics and toxicogenomics. Will regularly undertakes consultancy and casework, both in the UK and abroad.

Visit the MSc DNA Profiling page on the University of Central Lancashire website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Honours 2:1 in approppriate discipline

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