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PgCert Fundamentals in Forensic Science

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months, part-time, online
  • Ranked: No. 1 in UK for Forensic Science (Complete Uni Guide 2022)

  • Places available: 8

  • Scholarships: available; please see fees & funding tab

Study with us

  • acquire fundamental knowledge and skills of direct relevance to professional competencies in forensic science
  • upskill in forensic science topics as part of continuing professional development
  • focus on forensic biology or forensic chemistry to align with prior knowledge, background, area of interest and/or operational relevance
  • work flexibly to suit a wide range of learner needs
  • suitable to all applicants by ensuring equity of opportunity and use of inclusive teaching practices

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Why this course?

The University of Strathclyde is ranked No. 1 in the UK for Forensic Science (Complete University Guide 2022). Developed by specialists, exclusively for online delivery, this premier international programme will deliver the potential to enhance professional careers or launch new career pathways in Forensic Science. The carefully constructed programme will appeal to operational forensic scientists, and potential students, looking to upskill with motivating and purposeful study. Three core areas of forensic science will be covered – scene investigation, forensic examination and court reporting to develop scientific knowledge and skill set that underpins investigation and the justice system. 

On completion of this online course, you'll join a global network of Strathclyde Forensic Science professionals pursuing careers in highly-respected positions all over the world. You'll benefit from the expertise of our skilled, dedicated and enthusiastic teaching staff, who are actively involved in forensic science casework and research. This innovative programme has been especially developed for delivery using our high-quality distance learning teaching platforms and will provide an outstanding learning environment.

Studying online at The Centre for Forensic Science at Strathclyde offers a unique experience, combining ‘case-based’ learning with research-led teaching.

person working on a laptop

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll study

You'll cover core aspects of forensic science in Semester 1 (Sept – Dec) including:

  • Crime scene investigation
  • Legal procedures and the law
  • Evidence interpretation and statistical evaluation
  • Analysis of a range of evidence types including footwear marks, trace evidence, and questioned documents

Following this fundamental introduction, in Semester 2 (Jan – May) you can choose to specialise in either forensic biology or forensic chemistry. As a forensic biologist you’ll study a range of topics including:

  • DNA profiling
  • Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome 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

Major projects

In Semester 3 (May – Aug) you'll embark on a literature review and develop an in-depth knowledge and critical awareness of a substantial area of forensic science.

Learning & teaching

This programme is delivered entirely online through a combination of high-quality recorded lecture and live workshops. Student engagement and students’ community building is achieved via a combination of interactive activities, ad-hoc discussion forums and group working tasks. Innovative and ground-breaking teaching practices will involve the use of specialised apps, such as Google Earth crime scene exploration and the mobile app Crime Scene Assist Ltd. Practical experience of evidence handling and analysis is provided through virtual simulation tools, and through University of Strathclyde Home Forensic Science Kit, which is provided to all students enrolled on this course.

Assessment

Assessment will involve a combination of written coursework, online quizzes, continual assessment, oral presentations, end of module assessment and a written dissertation. All assessment will be conducted online.

1st for Forensic Science. Complete University Guide 2022.

We're ranked 1st in the UK for Forensic Science

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Course content

Semester 1

Compulsory

Essentials of Forensic Science (20 credits)

This module provides you with 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 module 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.

Semester 2

Forensic Chemistry

Fires and Explosives (5 credits)

You'll cover analysis and interpretation of fires and explosives, focusing on the analysis of ignitable liquids and electrical evidence.

Toxicology (5 credits)

You'll cover toxicology and the analysis and interpretation of alcohol evidence and drugs of abuse.

Remote Practical Work in Forensic Chemistry (10 credits)

The remote practical module consists of a range of activities including experiments delivered via a home-kit, laboratory simulations, virtual apps, data interpretation and laboratory reports.

Or

Forensic Biology

DNA Profiling (5 credits)

You'll cover all steps of DNA analysis, from extraction to DNA visualisation and interpretation, population genetics and mt-DNA and Y-DNA.

Sexual Offenses Investigation (5 credits)

You'll focus on sexual assault investigations, covering sexual offenses legislation, drug facilitated sexual assault and case scenarios.

Remote Practical Work in Forensic Biology (10 credits)

The remote practical module consists of a range of activities including experiments delivered via a home-kit, laboratory simulations, virtual apps, data interpretation and laboratory reports.

Semester 3

Compulsory

Forensic Science Remote Research Project (20 credits)

You'll complete a three-month literature review and dissertation to complete the programme. Project topics will be available across a diverse range of relevant practice, operation and research-based topics in forensic science.

Top ranking department

The Centre for Forensic Science sits within the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde. The Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry is ranked 1st in Scotland and 5th in UK for Chemistry (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022).

More reasons to study at Strathclyde
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements/experience

Minimum second-class Honours degree (2.2), or international equivalent, in a relevant science subject such as:

  • chemistry
  • biology
  • biochemistry
  • pharmacy
  • zoology
  • botany

Prospective students with relevant industry experience are also welcome to apply.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers, 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.

Fabio Casali

Forensic science is an ever-growing subject at the centre of rapidly advancing technologies. For this reason, it is vitally important to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. This course is intended as a continual professional development tool for forensic science practitioners, as well as a way to launch new career pathways in Forensic Science.

Fabio Casali, Teaching Assistant

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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Scotland

£5,500

England, Wales & Northern Ireland

£5,500

International

£5,500

Available scholarships

Faculty of Science Scholarship for the PgCert in Fundamentals in Forensic Science

Scholarships of £500 are available to new students joining our online PgCert Fundamentals in Forensic Science for the 2022/2023 academic year. Apply for Fundamentals in Forensic Science scholarship.

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

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?

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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.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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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.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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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.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

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.

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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.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Science student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

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Careers

This PgCert may be used to introduce students into a new career pathway in Forensic Science, or to provide an opportunity for continual professional development (CPD) for ambitious employees already working in the field. 

Across the world forensic scientists are employed by police forces, private forensic science providers and government bodies. They often specialise in specific areas such as scene investigation, DNA analysis, drug analysis, and fire investigation.

Although the majority of work is often laboratory-based, experienced forensic scientists may also attend crime scenes and give evidence in court.

This PgCert can also be used as a route to more advanced study such as an MSc programme in Forensic Science. Previous graduates of our MSc Forensic Science have moved into a wide range of destinations across the globe as outlined below.

Job titles include:

  • Analytical Chemist
  • Biology Casework Examiner
  • Deputy Laboratory Director
  • DNA Analyst
  • Forensic Case Worker Examiner
  • Forensic DNA Analyst
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Laboratory Analyst
  • Medical Laboratory Assistant Histopathology
  • Research & Development Chemist

 

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Apply

Eight places are available on the PgCert Fundamentals in Forensic Science this year.

Once the places have been filled, qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list to be considered for an offer of admission if any places become available.  We recommend applying early in the application cycle.

Please ensure you include all supporting documentation before submitting your application to avoid a delay in processing your application.

Applicants who receive an offer of admission

To reserve a place on the PgCert Fundamentals in Forensic Science, applicants who have been made an offer of admission will be required to:

  • accept their offer within 21 days
  • pay a deposit of £500 or provide evidence of a valid scholarship/ sponsorship, within 21 days of accepting their offer

Start date: Sep 2022

Fundamentals in Forensic Science

PG Certificate
part-time
Start date: Sep 2022

Have you considered?

We've a range of postgraduate taught and Masters courses similar to this one which may also be of interest.

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 3623

Email: science-masters@strath.ac.uk