This course is designed to enable graduate students and forensic practitioners to develop the theoretical knowledge underpinning forensic document examination and provide intensive training and practical experience. It covers the analysis of handwriting, signatures, questioned and fraudulent documents and provides training in the use of a range of highly specialised techniques, such as VSC, comparison microscopy, ESDA and Raman Spectroscopy.
Modules are assessed through theoretical and practical examinations as well as coursework. Assessments include the examination of suspect documents and pieces of equipment from simulated cases and the production of formal casenotes and expert reports, as well as essays, mock courtroom trials, group and individual presentations and a dissertation. Students graduating from this course will be well placed to gain employment in forensic science laboratories, police investigation teams, fraud departments in major government or private organisations, or to go on to further research in academia.
Students graduating from this course will be well placed to gain employment in forensic science laboratories, police investigation teams and fraud departments in major government or private organisations, or to go on to further research in academia at doctoral level.
The course content of the MSc Document Analysis is as follows:
Semester 1 Research Methods: Covers a wide range of skills including technical documentation, project management, data analysis and retrieval, writing and research skills, and library use. Handwriting Analysis and Signature Comparisons: Describes the theories and practices of forensic handwriting analysis and the identification of questioned handwriting and signatures. Students will gain practical experience in the analysis of samples and the production of formal case notes and reports.
Typescript and Printing Methods: Concerned with the analytical and identification principles of printing methods. Students will gain practical experience of printing equipment analysis, typewriter and photocopier examination, and the documents produced using those methods.
Semester 2 Expert Witness in the Legal Process: Covers communication skills and provides background and training in expert witness delivery, the study of British and International Law. Group Project: Working in small groups to develop protocols, best practice and quality assurance procedures for a document analysis consultancy. Students then undertake simulated casework as a consultancy and present findings to professional forensic standards. Document Investigation: Covers the knowledge and practical experience of the theories used in the forensic examination of suspect documentation. Areas include altered, forged, counterfeit and damaged documents, indented impressions and their importance.
Semester 3 Research Project: The project will be based within the University or on a placement with a suitable document examination provider or analytical unit. The end result of the project should be a publishable quality paper and students will also give a presentation of their findings.