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Forensic Science (MSc/PgDip)

Course Description

Why this course?

The MSc in Forensic Science is the UK’s longest established forensic science course. It'll allow you to qualify as a court-going forensic scientist, as well as preparing you for many alternative careers that require problem-solving and analysis.

You’ll graduate with relevant practical skills combined with analytical and investigative thinking.

See the website https://www.strath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduatetaught/forensicscience/

You’ll study:

- crime investigation and legal processes
- criminalistics (eg shoe marks)
- forensic chemistry (fires, explosives, glass, paint)
- toxicology and drugs of abuse (cannabis, heroin cocaine etc)
- forensic biology (body fluid analysis, blood pattern interpretation)
- trace evidence and fibre examination
- questioned documents
- interpretation of evidence

You’ll become an effective analyst, develop strong written and verbal communication skills and develop knowledge of:
- common separation techniques (thin layer, HPLC and gas chromatography)
- modern spectroscopic methods (infra-red, ultraviolet-visible and fluorescence)
- DNA profiling
- crime scene investigation

MSc students will undertake a three-month project.

The eight-month Postgraduate Diploma course is similar to the MSc, but does not include the three-month project.


Teaching takes place in the Centre for Forensic Science. It’s a modern purpose-built laboratory for practical forensic training, designed and equipped for ultra-clean working for the avoidance of cross contamination.

Teaching staff

Staff are experienced researchers in forensic science who are internationally recognised. The Centre for Forensic Science offers a unique learning experience, combining ‘case-based’ learning with research-led teaching.

- Practitioner Lecture Series
This course offers the unique experience of gaining first-hand accounts of forensics in action through our practitioner and forensic related professionals lecture series.

Well renowned practitioners and professionals providing these lectures include:
- Professor Peter Gill, Professor of Forensic Science, University of Oslo
- PD Dr rer nat Marielle Vennemann, Institute of Legal Medicine, University of Münster
- Dr Cerys Rees, Fellow, CB Analysis and Attribution, DSTL
- Dr John Jenner, Principal Toxicologist, DSTL
- Ciara Holland, Consultant Fire Investigator at BRE (Building Research Establishment Global Ltd)
- Jim Govan a retired Firearm Examiner at the Scottish Policing Authority and Terminal Ballistic Consultant to Deer Commission Scotland (now Scottish Natural Heritage)
- Alan Gall, Former Chief Superintendent and Divisional Commander, Strathclyde Police
- Graham Cairns, Former Chief Superintendent and Divisional Commander, Strathclyde Police


The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences is a professional body with members in over 60 countries and is one of the oldest and largest forensic associations in the world.

Its aim is to set high educational standards through the review and accreditation of courses that contain forensic science.

Additional MSc requirements

- IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers
- entry is competitive and students are selected on the basis of academic ability and previous experience
- final selection decisions are made by the academic selector and successful applicants will be notified
- in the course of forensic examinations, there is a potential for exposure to body fluids from hepatitis sufferers and prospective students should consider hepatitis immunisation (this takes from four to six months to be effective)

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.


Assessment consists of written submission, practical work assessments and oral presentations. Practical work is continually assessed and counts towards the award of the degree.

The award of MSc is based upon 180 credits, while the award of PgDip is based upon 120 credits.


Most forensic scientists in the UK are employed by the police, government bodies such as Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and private companies who provide forensic science services to the police.

Most of the work is laboratory-based but experienced forensic scientists may have to attend crime scenes and give evidence in court.

How much will I earn?

Starting salaries are around £20,000 a year and can increase to £35,000 with experience. Senior forensic scientists can earn £45,000 or more*

*information is intended only as a guide.

Find information on Scholarships here http://www.strath.ac.uk/search/scholarships/index.jsp

Visit the Forensic Science (MSc/PgDip) page on the University of Strathclyde website for more details!

Entry Requirements

MSc: first or upper second-class Honours degree; AND overseas equivalent in a relevant science subject such as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, zoology or botany; AND students with relevant industry experience are also welcome to apply; AND ideal for those who are marginally underqualified for entry to MSc course. PgDip/PgCert: ideal for those who are marginally underqualified for entry to MSc course

Course Fees

2016/17: Scotland/EU £5,000; Rest of UK £6,000; International £17,500

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