Forensic Science (MSc)John MacLeod

John MacLeod

About John

My name is John MacLeod. I did my undergraduate degree in Forensic Investigation at Glasgow Caledonian University, where I obtained a 1st Class Honours degree. I was awarded the Best Overall Student award in my third Year. 

I wanted to further my skills and knowledge in this field and gain more experience in lab working conditions before embarking on further study and working opportunities. I applied for the MSc Forensic Science course at the University of Strathclyde, where I was awarded with a scholarship by the Faculty of Science. I'm currently one of the class representatives for my course.

My main reason for taking on a postgraduate degree was to gain more experience of lab work and new techniques to help better prepare me for future opportunities.

I chose Strathclyde because it was ranked number one for Forensic Science in the UK by the Complete University Guide Subject League Tables 2021 and 2022. It had a Masters programme, with the option to specialise in either biology or chemistry. I had more experience in Chemistry, so chose to specialise in that as it interests me more.,

The highlight of the course for me was the crime scene exercise and mock court trial. I really enjoyed them as both were still able to proceed despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

The crime scene exercise took place on a windy and rainy day, but a lot of fun was still had. We worked as a team and recovered all the evidence that had been left at the scene. We delegated items to each member to analyse back at the labs.

The court trials were a good experience. They were held virtually but this didn’t detract from the experience. It allowed us to give our testimonies as an ‘expert witness’ to two different trials. In previous years this was only done once. The trials were presided over by an actual judge from the Sheriff Court. The Law students asked questions relating to the evidence analysed.

I also enjoyed receiving at the start of term a ‘home kit. This included experiments that could be done at home, as well as a USB Microscope that I enjoy using.

Whilst on the course I have gained experience with new techniques such as ElectroStatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA), Glass Refractive Index Measurement (GRIM). I 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. My project involves analysing trace organic explosives on different surfaces, so I have developed skills in Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).

After I graduate, I hope to find a Ph.D. in a chemistry-related field that incorporates techniques that I have learned from this course.

I have enjoyed my time here at Strathclyde. I made new friends despite COVID-19 restrictions. The course has been a lot of fun as well as challenging. This past year has been difficult for many students, with plans for the future changing and uncertainty over when things can return to a point of familiarity. That's why I wish to finish with a positive quote:

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

- A.A Milne.