MSc/PgDip Forensic Science

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The MSc is a one-year conversion course offering candidates the opportunity to qualify as scientific and court-going forensic scientists, as well as making them eligible for all industrial posts where problem-solving analyses are required.

For further details please contact Dr Penny Haddrill. (

It covers the areas of :

  • criminalistics (statistics, splash patterns/particulate material distribution)
  • forensic chemistry (fires, explosives, glass, paint, soil, etc),
  • toxicology
  • drugs of abuse (cannabis, heroin, cocaine, etc)
  • body fluid analysis (blood, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, etc)
  • hair and fibre (natural and manmade) analysis,
  • and questioned documents.

The emphasis on scenes-of-crime appraisal and the presentation of evidence in the witness box requires candidates to become expert analysts and develop strong written and verbal communication skills.

Students become familiar with :

  • all common separation techniques (thin layer, HPLC and gas chromatography)
  • modern spectroscopic methods (infra-red, ultraviolet-visible and fluorescence)
  • and microscopic procedures (polarising, fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy)

DNA analysis forms a central role in body fluid characterisation.

MSc students undertake a three-month placement in a forensic science institute.

The eight-month Postgraduate Diploma course has core elements in common with the MSc course, but does not include the placement.

All teaching and research is carried out in the Centre for Forensic Science, which is the only one of its type in the EU teaching the broad aspects of forensic science.

Staff are experienced researchers in forensic science.

The Centre works in close collaboration with UK forensic laboratories.

Course Length

MSc : 12 months full-time
PgDip : 8 months full-time

Entry Requirements

MSc : first or upper second class Honours degree in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, zoology or botany. Candidates with various combined degrees of a British university or equivalent in terms of experience, and/or degree of another country, are also welcome to apply.

Postgraduate Diploma : the diploma is ideal for candidates marginally underqualified for entry to the MSc course. Due to the considerable interest in this course, application forms and referees reports should be returned before the end of January.

Hepatitis Immunisation

Prospective candidates should note that in the course of forensic examinations, there is a potential exposure to body fluids from hepatitis sufferers. Accordingly, they should consider hepatitis immunisation.

The course of immunisation takes from 4 to 6 months to be effective.

Apply for this Course

The Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry also offers an MSc top up for holders of the Forensic Science Society postgraduate diploma who have graduated with the award after 2010.

You can apply for the MSc TOP-UP here.

for Sep 2015 entry to full-time MSc forensic science (Admission Code : CHMSC2)

Postgraduate entry requirements are in our prospectus.

for Sep 2015 entry to full-time PG Diploma forensic science (Admission Code : CHPD3)

Postgraduate entry requirements are in our prospectus.

for Sep 2016 entry to full-time MSc forensic science (Admission Code : CHMSC2)

Postgraduate entry requirements are in our prospectus.