- Start date: September
- Accreditation: Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
- Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time
Study with us
- longest running MSc Forensic Science course in the UK
- accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
- participate in a major practical crime scene and courtroom exercise
- input by forensic practitioners and professional scientists
- choose to specialise in forensic biology or forensic chemistry in second semester
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Why this course?
You’ll join a global network of Strathclyde forensic science graduates who are in highly respected positions all over the world. In addition to preparing you for life as a forensic scientist, you’ll also graduate with a wide range of practical skills, problem-solving skills, and investigative thinking, relevant to a wide range of careers.
You'll benefit from the expertise of our enthusiastic teaching staff who also conduct forensic science research and casework. Studying in the Centre for Forensic Science offers a unique experience, combining ‘case-based’ learning with research-led teaching.
Hear from the course coordinator and students about our MSc in Forensic Science.
What you'll study
The focal point of the course is our major crime scene exercise, in which you investigate simulated outdoor crime scenes, collect and analyse the evidence from those scenes, and then present this in Glasgow Sheriff Court in conjunction with students training in Strathclyde Law School.
You'll cover core aspects of forensic science in Semester 1 including:
- preservation and recovery of evidence at a crime scene
- assessment and analysis of a wide range of evidence types
- legal systems, quality assurance, and ethical considerations of forensic science
- the interpretation, statistical evaluation, and reporting of evidence
Following the general introduction in Semester 1, you can choose to specialise in either forensic biology or forensic chemistry.
As a forensic biologist you’ll study a range of topics including:
- investigation of assaults
- biological trace evidence
- DNA profiling and DNA mixture analysis
- investigation of sexual offences
If you choose to specialise in forensic chemistry, you’ll develop expertise in:
- analysis of illicit substances
- toxicology and alcohol analysis
- investigation of fires and explosives
- analytical chemistry for forensic scientists
In Semester 3, you undertake a three-month project.
You may have the opportunity to complete the project in an operational forensic science laboratory or another University laboratory, either in the UK or overseas (subject to visa/nationality/residency requirements). Alternatively, you may complete your project within the Centre for Forensic Science, under the supervision of our team of academics.
Examples of institutions where Strathclyde students have previously undertaken their project include:
- Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services, UK
- Eurofins Forensic Services, UK
- Cellmark Forensic Services, UK
- Centre of Forensic Sciences, Toronto, Canada
- Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Sciences, UK
- Office of the State Pathologist, Ireland
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Arizona State University, USA
Teaching takes place in the Centre for Forensic Science – a modern purpose-built laboratory for practical forensic training. It's equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation for analysis of a wide range of evidence types. Facilities include a forensic microscopy suite, DNA profiling laboratory, analytical chemistry laboratory, blood pattern analysis room, and a suite for setting up mock crime scenes.
Prizes are awarded for the best performing forensic biologist and forensic chemist, and for the best project.
Practitioner Lecture Series
This course offers the fantastic experience of gaining first-hand accounts of forensic science in action through our practitioner and forensic-related professionals lecture series.
Renowned practitioners and professionals providing these lectures include:
- Peter Maskell, Senior Forensic Toxicologist, University of Glasgow
- Peter Cain, Drugs Scientific Advisor, Eurofins Forensic Services
- Ciara Holland, Partner, DCCH Experts LLP
- Jim Govan, Retired Firearm Examiner, Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services and Terminal Ballistic Consultant to Deer Commission Scotland (now Scottish Natural Heritage)
- Alan Gall, Former Chief Superintendent and Divisional Commander, Strathclyde Police (now Police Scotland)
- Graham Cairns, Former Chief Superintendent and Divisional Commander, Strathclyde Police (now Police Scotland)
- Dr John Clark, Retired Forensic Pathologist, University of Glasgow
- Liana Hill, Forensic Nurse Examiner Programme Director, Crisis Services of North Alabama
- Nicola Oldroyd-Clark/Sarah Naif, Verogen Inc
- Dr Jonathan Parrot, Forensic Entomologist, Arizona State University
- Professor Angela Gallop, CBE, Visiting Professor, University of Strathclyde
- Dr Debra Carr, Defence and Security Accelerator, Ministry of Defence
Our MSc degree in Forensic Science is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, demonstrating our commitment to meeting their high educational standards for forensic science tuition. The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences is a professional body with members in over 60 countries and one of the oldest and largest such associations in the world.
Athena Swan Award
The Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry has been awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality in Chemistry.
Professional & Career Skills
Essentials in Forensic Science
This class provides a broad knowledge of forensic science which you can build upon with more specialist knowledge. It introduces aspects of criminalistics such as trace evidence. You’ll learn about a range of evidence types and how they are analysed. You'll also explore the interpretation of evidence and its value in an investigative setting.
The class also introduces the legal system and forensic science in context. You’ll explore the interpretation of evidence, including bayesian approaches. You’ll also be introduced to quality assurance and encouraged to explore ethical considerations in forensic science.
Essentials of Forensic Science: Practical
Practical Crime Scene Exercise
Forensic Biology 1
You'll learn about the investigation of assaults and complete an integrated case assessment. In addition, you'll also explore elements of scientific communication, presentation of scientific work and the effective communication of forensic results.
Forensic Biology 2
The specialist classes in Forensic Biology introduce students to the methods and practices used in forensic biology laboratories as well as the underlying theory. Students are encouraged to consider how these are integrated and used in the justice system and in criminal investigations.
This class considers the investigation of sexual offences, and the analysis and interpretation of DNA evidence, and biological trace and fibre evidence.
Forensic Chemistry 1
You’ll cover toxicology analysis and its interpretation and an integrated case assessment. In addition, you'll also explore elements of scientific communication, presentation of scientific work and the effective communication of forensic results.
Forensic Chemistry 2
The specialist classes in Forensic Chemistry introduce students to the methods and practices used in forensic chemistry laboratories as well as the underlying theory and students are encouraged to consider how these are integrated and used in the justice system and in criminal investigations.
This class considers drug evidence, analysis and interpretation of alcohol evidence, and the investigation of fires and explosives.
Practical Examination in Optional Classes
Learning & teaching
The programme is taught using a wide range of delivery methods, including online and face-to-face lectures, workshops, and tutorials, case studies, guest lectures, practical laboratory classes, simulated crime scene exercises, casework exercises, courtroom exercises, and laboratory-based research.
A wide range of assessment methods are utilised, including written coursework, laboratory reports, quizzes, data analysis exercises, scientific writing exercises, court reports, crime scene reports, case files, oral presentations and formal written examinations.
I particularly love the teacher-student relationship as the instructors are always eager to listen and guide.
As the longest running Forensic Science programme in the UK, I felt confident that the teaching would be first-rate.
Strathclyde offers the best combination of modules for my course. I was especially sold on the Major Crime Scene exercise module.
The main skill I have learned is critical evaluation of scientific methods which is really important to understand in Forensic Science. Also, I’ve learned the roles of the forensic scientist in the lab and in court which was then applied to the crime scene to court exercise. I also learned about the importance of contemporaneous notes and how to produce an appropriate case file.
The university is excellent, offering a wide range of facilities for students while being conveniently located in the city centre. This university should be at the top of anyone’s list.
From the first day I arrived, the staff were helpful, always smiling, and made sure we are all comfortable. The University is also beautiful – it was nice to walk and look around campus feeling comfortable.
Whilst on the course I have gained experience of new techniques such as ElectroStatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA), Glass Refractive Index Measurement (GRIM), and have made 2D and 3D casts of footwear. I have also developed better communication skills from many presentations, both group and individual, on different tasks throughout the course.
Minimum second-class (2:2) Honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant science subject such as:
Prospective students with relevant industry/practitioner experience are also welcome to apply.
|English language requirements|
IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers for entry to the MSc programme, with a minimum of IELTS 5.5 for all components including speaking, listening, reading and writing.
As a university, we now accept many more English language tests in addition to IELTS for overseas applicants, for example, TOEFL and PTE Cambridge. View the full list of accepted English language tests here.
In the course of forensic examinations, there's a potential for exposure to body fluids from hepatitis sufferers and prospective students should consider hepatitis B immunisation (this takes from four to six months to be effective).
Pre-Masters preparation course
The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.
Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
|England, Wales & Northern Ireland|
Lab coats and safety goggles, approximately £30.
You may have costs associated with the three-month research project including:
These costs will vary depending on whether you remain in Glasgow during this time or choose to complete your project elsewhere.
Towards the end of the first semester there's a crime scene exercise which is held outdoors and consequently, we suggest you bring warm clothing, waterproof outerwear and appropriate footwear for wet and muddy conditions.
International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.
We also strongly recommend that you get immunised against Hepatitis B: this would cost about £50.
Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my course?
Scottish postgraduate students
Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from England
Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from Wales
Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from Northern Ireland
Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.
Most forensic scientists in Scotland are employed by the Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services.
In the rest of the UK, forensic scientists are employed by individual police forces, private forensic science providers such as Eurofins Forensic Services, Cellmark Forensic Services, Key Forensics, or government bodies such as the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
Outside of the UK, forensic scientists may be employed by police forces, government bodies or private companies.
Forensic scientists generally specialise in specific areas such as biology, chemistry, crime scene examination, DNA analysis, drug analysis, fire investigation.
Most of the work is laboratory-based but crime scene examiners/managers and experienced forensic scientists will also attend crime scenes and give evidence in court.
Where are they now?
Many of our graduates are in work or further study.**
Job titles include:
- Analytical Chemist
- Biology Casework Examiner
- Deputy Laboratory Director
- DNA Analyst
- Forensic Examiner
- Forensic DNA Analyst
- Forensic Scientist
- Forensic biologist
- Forensic chemist
- Forensic toxicologist
- Forensic pathology technician
- Crime Scene Investigator
- Crime Scene Manager
- Crime scene examiner
- Laboratory Analyst
- Medical Laboratory Assistant Histopathology
- Research & Development Chemist
- Research technician/assistant
- Production/exhibit officer
- Drugs analyst
- Molecular biologist
- Gen-Probe Life Sciences
- Key Forensic Services Ltd
- Lancaster Labs
- Centre of Forensic Sciences, Toronto, Canada
- Eurofins Forensic Services
- Cellmark Forensic Services
- Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services
- Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada
- Merck Bioreliance
- Life Technologies
- National Institute of Criminalistics And Criminology
- Seychelles Forensic Science Lab
- University of Strathclyde
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
*information is intended only as a guide.
**Based on the results of the National Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey.
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