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Analytical and Forensic Science (MSc)

Course Description

The MSc is building a reputation for producing excellent scientists and highly sought after graduates. Our postgraduates have been offered employment in some of the most prestigious companies in the UK and Europe, in fields ranging from analytical toxicology to forensic DNA analysis.

On this course, you can study a range of specialist areas in analytical and forensic science. It focuses on cutting edge research, the latest analytical techniques, and transferable and professional skills that will prepare you to practise as a professional analytical or forensic scientist. A 60 credit research project of your choice allows you to customise the MSc and specialise in your chosen field.

“Completing this MSc gave me a much more advanced knowledge of analytical instruments and techniques and has been a great help in preparing me for the role that I now have in toxicology. The amount of hands on practical experience in the Masters is much more extensive than in a Bachelors degree and it’s the higher level of practical work that can make the difference. Covering a variety of techniques applied to a wide range of sample types ensures you have an understanding that other graduates will not have, particularly after the completion of your dissertation by spending a considerable amount of time in the lab. The addition of the PRINCE2 qualification also makes you more employable to commercial labs. I have no doubt that without this MSc my chances of gaining a job with a career path would be significantly less.” – Laura Miles, MSc Analytical and Forensic Science graduate.

What You Will Study

You will study the following modules:
- Advanced DNA analysis
- Separation science
- Analytical toxicology
- Interpretation, evalutation and presentation of casework
- Advanced crime scene and evidence analysis
- Project design, management and enterprise
- Laboratory research project

Our tuition offers detailed training in the following areas:

- DNA Analysis
You will gain a thorough understanding of DNA analysis and interpretation techniques. There is practical training in a large range of advanced extraction techniques, quantitation, amplification and electrophoresis of DNA, through simulated case-work using our crime scene house and DNA analysis laboratory.

- Analytical Toxicology and Separation Science
You will gain knowledge of the basis and application of a number of novel analytical and extraction techniques such as chiral chromatography, supercritical fluid chromatography, solid phase microextraction and derivatisation techniques. You will also receive high level practical training in ion mobility mass spectrometry, GCMS/MS, LCMS/MS and ICP-OES. There is a particular focus on hair as a matrix for forensic toxicological analysis. You will also be fully trained in experimental design and effective method development.

- Major crime scene analysis
You will learn how to effectively process major and specialist crime scenes through our simulation facilities, and will study novel mapping techniques such as 3D scanning and LIDAR as applied to crime scene investigation.

- Expert witness techniques
To improve your employment prospects, you will also learn about the law as it relates to the forensic scientist and their relationship with the police, lawyers and courts, and the role of the expert witness. You will receive training from professional case working forensic scientists in how to draft expert witness statements and how to give testimony in court.

- Data analysis and Prince 2 qualification
For added benefit, there will be guest lectures from eminent analytical scientists and forensic practitioners, and you will be encouraged to observe courtroom proceedings and visit analytical laboratories. You will receive training in advanced data analysis techniques which is very desirable for potential employers. You will even complete a PRINCE 2 foundation certificate as part of this course, which will stand you in good stead for the management of major projects in laboratories. The PRINCE 2 award is a prestigious, internationally recognized qualification. Please note additional fees apply.

- Additional Fees:
There is an additional fee of £1,500 for this course which covers the Prince2 Project Management course and laboratory costs.

Learning and teaching methods

Modules are studied sequentially throughout the course. There are periods of self directed learning where you will study online material including journals, research notes and recommended books before engaging in hands on laboratory training, lectures and seminars on campus.

The course is available as a one year full time option, or 2 years part time option. All students complete a research project in your chosen area of specialisation.

Work Experience and Employment Prospects

There are many exciting employment opportunities in the analytical and forensic science sector. Key recruitment areas are DNA profiling, analytical chemistry and toxicological analysis. In these competitive fields, a postgraduate qualification will really make you stand out from the crowd. We have had an excellent response to the MSc analytical and forensic science from science companies across the UK. Major national companies have even contacted the University specifically asking for our MSc Analytical and Forensic Science graduates to apply for positions with them.

Our MSc graduates have been offered employment in toxicology, DNA and forensic science companies across the UK. An MSc award in Analytical and Forensic Science will demonstrate to employers the highest level of achievement and training.

Work experience

Students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement with Synergy Health Laboratories where they will undertake laboratory training. There is also an opportunity to conduct your research project in collaboration with Synergy Health with the possibility of working towards developing UKAS accredited methods of analysis -the ultimate standard in analytical science and a huge boost to your C.V.

Assessment methods

You will complete 120 credits of taught modules across the course, and an original laboratory research project (60 credits). For this, you will apply and extend your practical skills and knowledge in a key area of analytical or forensic science that interests you.

Visit the Analytical and Forensic Science (MSc) page on the University of South Wales website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A 2:2 BSc (Hons) degree in either forensic science, forensic chemistry, forensic biology or a degree which includes chemistry. Other applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

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