Postgraduate study
Crime, Forensic & Investigative Sciences

MSc Forensic Science (with Advanced Practice)

The MSc Forensic Science (with Advanced Practice) postgraduate course concentrates on practices, procedures and analytical techniques used within forensic science. It considers how these are applied to support the investigation of crime and the criminal justice system as a whole.

Course information


  • 2 years

More full-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry


  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information


On completing this course you will be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of forensic science and how scientific methods are applied to the investigation of crime. You benefit from our links with practitioners and other professional organisations relevant to forensic science field. Key members of staff are former forensic scientists or crime scene scientists with considerable operational experience. Expect to carry out analytical and practical work in the University’s on-campus forensic facilities including specialist analytical laboratories, a crime scene house laboratory, and forensic chemistry and biology laboratories.There are three routes you can select from to gain a postgraduate Master’s award:

  • MSc Forensic Science – one year full time
  • MSc Forensic Science – two years part time
  • MSc Forensic Science (with Advanced Practice) – two years full time

The one-year programme is a great option if you want to gain a traditional MSc qualification – you can find out more here. This two-year master’s degree with advanced practice enhances your qualification by adding to the one-year master’s programme an internship, research or study abroad experience.

The MSc Forensic Science (with Advanced Practice) course offers you the chance to enhance your qualification by completing an internship, research or study abroad experience in addition to the content of the one-year MSc. This two-year programme is an opportunity to enhance your qualification by spending one semester completing a vocational internship, research internship or by studying abroad. Although we can’t guarantee an internship, we can provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position.

For the MSc with advanced practice, you complete 120 credits of taught modules, a 60-credit master’s research project and 60 credits of advanced practice.

Course structure

Core modules

Advanced Analytical Techniques

You get an in-depth knowledge of the theory and principles of a range of analytical techniques used when undertaking detailed analyses of biological and chemical materials. You focus on core techniques using chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy. You study the selection and application of appropriate analytical techniques, in order to formulate strategies to investigate scientific problems.

You study a series of laboratory sessions supported by lectures and tutorials. You are assessed by two laboratory reports (100%).

Data Acquisition and Signal Processing Techniques

You are introduced to the theory, principles and techniques of data acquisition and digital processing including sampling, and digital signal analysis in time and frequency domains. You also consider the impact of digital technologies on the design of modern industrial measurement systems. The industrial software for measurement systems is introduced with series of real measurement applications.

Forensic Biology

You examine, interpret and evaluate complex biological evidence within casework-related scenarios. Types of evidence include hair and fibres, body fluids, blood pattern analysis and DNA. You also consider the use of microbial, anthropological and odonatological evidence in a forensic context.
Your knowledge, understanding and skills are developed by lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and self-directed study. You are assessed by an in-course assessment of examination notes and evidential interpretation (30%) and an end assessment (70%).

Forensic Chemistry

You explore theoretical and practical organic and inorganic chemistry relating to forensic science. You focus on key evidence types at scenes of crime or recovered from an individual. You also examine principal types of chemical evidence including particulate evidence (paint, glass, soil), marks evidence (footwear marks, tool marks) and drugs of abuse within the context of an investigation.

You attend lectures, practical and tutorial sessions. You are assessed by a court presentation (30%) and examination (70%).

Forensic Investigative Strategy

You develop an understanding of the principles associated with crime scene science and its relationship with forensic analysis and the legal process. You address key areas in forensic practice such as quality standards, evidence continuity and contamination issues. You also get an understanding of the methodologies used for processing and examination of physical evidence.

Your lectures are supported by a series of practical sessions which include evidence recovery at a mock crime scene and the initial forensic examination of recovered items. You are assessed by a presentation (30%) and a report (70%).

Legal Issues and Evidence Reporting

Forensic evidence of all types plays a major role in the detection of crime and the successful investigation of other types of incident such as road traffic collisions and natural disasters. You explore the legal and procedural contexts in which forensic science operates, providing you with opportunities to develop skills and knowledge for the gathering, examination and presentation of evidence in a range of situations.

You attend a series of keynote lectures, seminars and a practical session in the University’s replica courtroom. You may have an opportunity to visit a local coroner’s office and/or court. You are assessed by a portfolio (30%) and evidence in the form of a written statement and verbal presentation in a simulated courtroom situation (70%).

Research Methods and Proposal

You develop a proposal for your research project, which contains an explanation targeted at both a specialist audience and the general public, details of experimental design and statistical analysis to be employed. You consider the impacts of the proposed work both in the form of academic beneficiaries, economic, environmental and societal impacts. Your project costs are estimated on a full economic costing model. You also include a targeted CV.

You attend a short lecture series at the start of the academic year that will provide an introduction and advice. You are allocated a project area and supervisor and you produce a research proposal for the project. You are supported by a series of meetings with your supervisor and receive feedback on your progress. You acquire ethical clearance from the School Research Ethics Committee.

You are assessed by the successful acquisition of ethical clearance (pass/fail) and submission of a completed research project proposal and supporting CV (100%).

Research Project (Advanced Practice)


Advanced Practice options

Research Internship

Develop your research and academic skills by undertaking a research internship within the University. Experience working as part of a research team in an academic setting – ideal if you are interested in a career in research or academia.

Study Abroad

Take part in an academic exchange with one of our partner universities and experience study, student life and culture in a different environment. This option offers a valuable life experience and enhances your ability to adapt to working and living internationally. This option does incur additional costs such as travel and accommodation. You must also take responsibility for ensuring you have the appropriate visa to study outside the UK, where relevant.

Vocational Internship

Spend one semester working full-time in industry. We have close links with a variety of local companies who can offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we can’t guarantee you an internship, we will provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge.


Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You learn through a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, projects and assignments. You are also expected to participate in self-directed study, to review lecture notes, prepare assignments, work on projects and revise for assessments. Each 20-credit module typically has around 200 hours of learning time.

How you are assessed

Modules are assessed by in-course assignments – including a courtroom-based expert witness assessment – and end exams.

Career opportunities

Employment opportunities exist in the fields of forensic science and forensic investigation with forensic science providers and law enforcement agencies. Other roles include scientific investigation where it’s important to be apply forensic science in a legal or regulatory context.

This MSc programme has been accredited and commended by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, the international professional body for forensic science.

Work placement

On this programme you complete a project related to professional practice. This, along with involving practitioners and academics in delivering these courses, ensures that your learning is relevant to the requirements of the criminal justice system.

Entry requirements

You are expected to have at least a lower second-class (2.2) UK honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate science subject. Acceptable subjects include biology, chemistry, biomedical science, biochemistry and forensic science.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information


  • 2 years

More full-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry


  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information