MChem Forensic & Analytical Chemistry


Key facts

  • UCAS Code: FF41
  • Accreditation: Royal Society of Chemistry, Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
  • 1st in the UK for Forensic Science (Complete University Guide Subject Tables 2024)

  • Work placement: 12-month paid placement - UK or abroad

Study with us

The Centre for Forensic Science at Strathclyde has provided degrees in forensic science for longer than any other university in the UK.

You’ll be joining a global network of Strathclyde graduates; our forensic and analytical chemistry graduates are highly respected throughout the world.

This Integrated Masters degree provides you with a comprehensive education in both chemistry and forensic science. The degree qualifies you as an all-round analytical chemist, with thorough training in the applications of forensic science. Graduates of this course go on to careers in all areas of analytical chemistry including the forensic arena.

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Why this course?

This is the only course in the UK to have dual professional accreditation from the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. It’s delivered in partnership with the Strathclyde Centre for Forensic Science.

Transferable skills are taught in all years and include IT, scientific writing, presentation skills, report writing and problem-solving. You can study at a European University for one year of your degree, and you can choose to spend your placement year abroad.

Transfer is possible between the other MChem courses and also the following shorter BSc degrees within the first three years:

  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Forensic and Analytical Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Drug Discovery

Laboratory ultraviolet light box during electrophoresis for detection of DNA

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

Year 1

You'll take foundation classes in chemistry and mathematics, and either physics or biology. In addition, you are given the opportunity to take elective classes including forensic science, drug discovery, chemical engineering, and subjects from other areas of the University.

Practical chemistry laboratory sessions help you to master basic preparative and analytical skills. You’ll spend one afternoon in the laboratory and the rest of your time will be in lectures and tutorials.

Years 2 & 3

You'll take classes in fundamental inorganic, organic, biological and physical chemistry, plus forensic trace analysis and analytical chemistry. You'll have a choice of electives as in Year 1.

Laboratory work increases to four afternoons per week and your practical skills are enhanced with computer modelling and group exercises to develop presentational skills.

Year 4

MChem students may undertake a 12-month industrial placement, specialising in either forensic or analytical chemistry. Academic research and knowledge exchange placements are also available.

Year 5

In the final year, you’ll specialise in the areas and applications that interest you most including DNA analysis, toxicology, process analytical chemistry, and atomic/nuclear spectroscopy. In addition, in a specialist topic of your choice, you will undertake a research project leading to the submission of a dissertation.

Overseas study

You can complete a year of your degree studying at a European university. As well as getting an in-depth knowledge of practising chemistry in another country, you’ll have the opportunity to become fluent in another language.

Major projects

You’ll complete a research project in one of our specialist research laboratories in Yera 5. You'll work with full-time researchers on real forensic and analytical chemistry challenges.


Our high quality, bright and modern laboratories include a range of specialist equipment. You will gain hands-on experience of the state-of-the-art equipment used in industry and research.

Postgraduate study

Many graduates from this course go on to complete a PhD in Chemistry at Strathclyde and elsewhere. This course equips you for life after graduation, be that employment or further study.

Student competitions

Strathclyde chemistry students also compete successfully for national awards. In recent years, our students have won:

  • Salters’ Graduate prize (£1,000)
  • Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award
  • Carnegie Scholarship
  • Most Meritorious Student award from the Forensic Science Society

The Dean of Science recognises exceptional performance each year through the Dean’s certificate for the best students in the faculty. Students can also win prizes including:

  • P&G Bursary (£1,000 a year plus a one-year paid industrial placement)
  • Chemistry International Alumni Ambassadors UG award for overseas travel (£1,000)
  • Group third-year Poster Competition sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline
  • The RSC Prize in Analytical Chemistry
  • Andersonian Centenary Medal Prize
  • Beilby and Huddleston Prize
  • ICI Chemical and Polymers Group Andersonian Centenary Prize
  • GlaxoSmithKline Prize
  • Syngenta Prize


Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Chemist.

Why Rose chose Forensic & Analytical Chemistry

"It gave me that experience that I couldn't get at any other university"

In the video below, Rose McHardy explains how this course has helped her go on to to study a PhD:

Work placement

You’ll undertake a paid 12-month placement in the pharmaceutical industry, either in the UK or abroad. Research and Knowledge Exchange placements within the Department's 'Chemistry Clinic' are also available. 

The Strathclyde chemistry industrial placement scheme is one of the longest-running in the UK, and more than 70 students are placed with companies each year.

More about the industrial placement scheme

The Chemistry Clinic

Find out more about the work of the Chemistry Clinic.

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Course content

Personal Development Planning (PDP)

You normally have the same Personal Development Adviser (PDA) throughout your degree. PDP is an important part of learning and personal development. It's not only associated with your university course, it allows you to plan for the future.

Chemistry: Principles & Practice 1 & 2 (40 Credits)

These lectures and tutorials cover all the broad areas of chemistry including: Analytical Chemistry, Structure & Bonding, Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopy.

Practical & Transferable Skills (20 Credits)

You will have one laboratory class per week which runs in both Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Mathematics 1C (20 Credits)

This module will provide you with a basic understanding of mathematical functions, differentiation, integration, complex numbers, matrices and vectors.

Foundation Science: Big Ideas for Chemists (20 Credits) (optional)

This module will provide you with a broad foundation in fundamental scientific thought and theory, underpinning your future as a professional scientist.

Elective modules (20 or 40 Credits) (Optional)

You can select elective modules freely from the University timetable subject to your possessing appropriate entrance qualifications, there being places available, and the times do not clash with compulsory chemistry classes.

Subjects are available in:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Business
  • Arts & Humanities

Chemistry students are provided with a list of classes where the timetable is suitable, although other options are also available. Students often choose a language class as an elective.

Inorganic Chemistry (20 Credits)

This module will provide you with a broad knowledge of the important concepts in inorganic chemistry from which more specialist topics can be tackled. This includes investigation of the chemistry of the main group and transition metals and introduces topics at the forefront of inorganic and materials chemistry.

Fundamental Organic Chemistry (20 Credits)

This module covers the fundamental principles of infra-red, ultra-violet, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy; develops competence in the interpretation of spectra and the your awareness of the role of spectroscopic techniques. It will also develop your knowledge of reactions, understanding of mechanisms and appreciation of the role of reactivity in organic chemistry.

Physical Chemistry 1 (20 Credits)

This module provides a broad knowledge of the important concepts in Thermodynamics, investigating the major features as applied to chemical systems. Topics include:

  • the importance of reaction rates in chemical systems
  • concepts of the electrode/solution interface
  • equilibrium and electron transfer kinetics
  • mass transport
  • the composition and utilisation of fossil fuels with their environmental pollutants
  • nuclear and renewable energy sources

Practical Organic & Inorganic Chemistry (20 Credits)

You'll receive a practical demonstration of topics contained in the lectures. You'll develop basic laboratory skills in preparative chemistry and analysis, and gain experience in the applications of spectroscopy and common instrumental techniques.

Practical Physical and Applied Chemistry and Chemical Analysis (20 Credits)

You'll conduct experiments and gain practical experience of the theoretical aspects covered in lectures. You'll develop skills in the demonstration of physical chemical principles, observation, the use of statistical methods, interpretation of data and the writing of laboratory reports.

Forensic Trace Analysis and Analytical Chemistry (20 Credits)

This module provides fundamental concepts of separation science and outlines its importance in obtaining information about analytes in a sample. Also covers the fundamental concepts of recovery of trace evidence and treatment of materials to provide identification. You're taught how to handle, examine and assess errors in chemical measurements.

Study abroad (Optional)

You have the option to spend your third year studying abroad in a sister University in the European Union or the European Free Trade Area.

We're leading practitioners of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), designed to simplify and facilitate the planning and recognition of periods of study in other universities. Additional EU funding under the ERASMUS programme may be available to some students each year to supplement their SAAS grants. There will also be opportunities to spend third year at one of the premier universities in the USA or in Canada, but you will have to find some money towards the costs.

Physical Chemistry 2 (20 Credits)

This module provides you with an understanding of intermolecular forces and their importance in defining key aspects of chemical behaviour and molecular organization. It introduces:

  • surface chemistry and the common systems in which it plays a major role
  • the electronic structure of atoms and molecules through the prism of quantum chemistry
  • group theory and how it can be applied to the determination of the symmetry of molecules and their properties
  • the principles of bonding in molecules as described by valence bond and molecular orbital theories

Practical Organic & Inorganic Chemistry (20 Credits)

In this module you'll receive a practical demonstration of topics contained in the lectures. You'll develop basic laboratory skills in preparative chemistry and analysis, and gain experience in the applications of spectroscopy and common instrumental techniques.

Intermediate Organic Chemistry & Spectroscopy (20 Credits)

This module teaches you modern NMR spectroscopy as it is applied to chemistry. It covers:

  • skills for handling and interpreting NMR data for the purposes of chemical structure elucidation
  • theoretical basis of the NMR experiment using the vector formalism
  • reactivities of organic molecules
  • organic syntheses using the disconnection approach
  • synthesis and reactivities of electron-poor and electron-rich heterocyclic molecules

It provides an insight into the role of computational chemistry in chemical research and training in the use of modern computational chemistry software.

Inorganic Chemistry, Structures & Spectroscopy (20 Credits)

This module provides you with a more advanced view of main group and transition metal coordination and organometallic chemistry. Themes to be covered include ligands and their influence on complexes, trends in structure and bonding, stereochemistry, reactivity, and the application of spectroscopic and other methods of identification. Also, modern spectroscopy as it is applied in chemistry.

Practical Physical, Applied, Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (20 Credits)

You'll conduct experiments and gain practical experience of the theoretical aspects covered in lectures. You'll develop skills in: the demonstration of physical chemical principles; observation; the use of statistical methods; interpretation of data and the writing of laboratory and court reports.

Analytical Chemistry & Drugs of Abuse (20 Credits)

This module covers the fundamental analytical methods and advanced theories in chromatography, mass spectrometry and electroseparations.

It introduces the concept of experimental design and its application in analytical, forensic and preparative chemistry, and how to perform analytical calculations and interpret data. The analytical procedures used to identify substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, the Medicines Act 1968 and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

You're introduced to methods of clandestine synthesis and how drug profiling can identify the synthetic route used. The pharmacology of drugs of abuse and the various biological matrices used in drug screening will also be described.

Distance Learning (40 Credits)

Students on placement in Year 4 continue their studies using online learning materials, with progress assessed through the submission of coursework. Topics studied through distance learning include:

  • Process analytical chemistry
  • Oxidation and reduction processes in organic synthesis
  • Polymers and mechanism


Choose one from the following:

Industrial Placement (80 Credits) (Optional)

Students may undertake a 12-month placement in the UK or overseas at a chemical company. Examples of companies with which our students have been placed include GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Roche. In addition to providing you with relevant industrial experience, you will receive a salary from the company that you work for.

Research Placement (80 Credits) (Optional)

Students may opt to undertake a 12-month placement within the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, working on a research project with one of our experienced academic staff to address real-life challenges in the field.

Knowledge Exchange Placement (80 Credits) (Optional)

Students may opt to undertake a 12-month placement within Strathclyde’s ‘Chemistry Clinic’. This initiative provides opportunities for businesses to access advice, facilities and instrumentation from students and staff within Strathclyde’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, to further their projects, processes and materials.

Core chemistry (20 Credits)

This module covers more advanced topics in chemistry, such as:

  • Key reactions in organic chemistry
  • Cage & cluster molecules
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Chemistry in the Excited State

MChem Forensic and Analytical Chemistry Specialisation (40 Credits)

In this module, you'll have the opportunity to specialise in a number of areas within chemistry, such as:

  • Atomic and Nuclear Spectroscopy
  • Surface Analysis and X-Ray Techniques
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Forensic Science Principles and Practice Parts 1 and 2
  • Toxicology and Alcohol
  • The Chemistry of DNA Profiling
  • Fires and Explosives

Final-Year Project & Dissertation (60 Credits)

Over the course of the year, you'll complete a practical research project relating to your chosen area of chemistry under the supervision of one of our experienced academics, leading to the production of a dissertation.

Learning & teaching

Each year contains compulsory classes and some years contain either optional classes which relate to different areas of chemistry and/or elective classes from other subject areas in the University.

In Years 1 to 3, lectures deliver the essential knowledge and understanding required by all chemistry graduates. This is supported by small and large group tutorials. Chemistry is a practical subject so students will also gain training in all branches of mainstream practical chemistry.

Your fourth year is a 12-month industrial, research or knowledge exchange placement giving hands-on training. You’ll continue your studies through distance learning assignments.

In your final year, you’ll study advanced topics in forensic and analytical chemistry and complete an independent research project in your chosen field.


Assessment methods include short-answer class tests, multiple-choice tests, end-of-year examinations, oral presentation and group project work.

Guest lectures

The Andersonian Chemical Society (the longest-running student organisation in the UK) organises guest speakers and other events, including very popular social events.

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Entry requirements

Required subjects are shown in brackets.

Students joining our MChem Forensic & Analytical Chemistry may transfer into the following BSc degrees from year 2 onward:

  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry with Drug Discovery
  • Forensic & Analytical Chemistry

Standard entry requirements*:

Year 1 entry: AABB/AAAC

(Chemistry B, Maths B)

Advanced Higher Chemistry and Maths recommended for S6 study and to compensate for missed Higher grades in S5.

Minimum entry requirements**:

Year 1 entry: ABBB/AABC (Chemistry B and Maths B)

Advanced Higher Chemistry and Maths recommended for S6 study and to compensate for missed Higher grades in S5. Applicants with grades slightly below the minimum requirements may be considered for admission subject to successful completion of the Strathclyde STEM Summer School.

Advanced Highers

Year 2 entry: ABB

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)

A Levels

Standard entry requirements*:

Year 1 entry: ABB

(Chemistry, and one of Maths, Physics or Biology)

Year 2 entry: ABB

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)

International Baccalaureate

Standard entry requirements*:

Year 2 entry: 34

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology all at HL)

Year 1 entry: 34

(Chemistry at HL and one of Maths, Physics or Biology at HL)


Year 1 entry: relevant HNC, A in Graded Unit

Year 2 entry: relevant HND, AAA in Graded Units

International students

View the entry requirements for your country.

Deferred entry


*Standard entry requirements

Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.

Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.

In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.

**Minimum entry requirements

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Contextual Admissions for Widening Access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background.

Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential, and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

University preparation programme for international students

We offer international students (non-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Business and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre. ​

Upon successful completion, you can progress to your chosen degree at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 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

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Fees & funding

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

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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  • 2024/25: TBC
  • 2023/24: £1,820

Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.

England, Wales & Northern Ireland


Assuming no change in fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2024/25, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.



University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Additional costs
  • lab coats and safety goggles (approximately £30)
  • molecular modelling kits are recommended but are not a compulsory requirement (£20)
  • class materials (such as lecture notes and exercise sheets) for PAC classes are freely available for download
  • for some classes students may wish to supplement their material by accessing textbooks which are in the range of £40 to £80, however all recommended reading texts are available in the library

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

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

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Students from Scotland

Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

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Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

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International Students

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

Callum Davidson, Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (MChem) student
I think the university has student experience at the heart of every decision they make on campus and student wellbeing as a top priority.
Callum Davidson
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A degree in chemistry opens doors to a wide variety of employment opportunities and our graduates compete successfully for jobs in the chemical industry. Your chances of employment are substantially increased by having completed training in an industrial placement.

Developments in forensic science move quickly, with new means of gathering and characterising minute traces of evidence constantly being sought.

The skills of analytical chemists are also increasingly in demand for checking the quality of our food and water, protecting the environment and monitoring industrial materials and processes.

Another emerging area is the restoration of artworks and historical artefacts, proving that the career opportunities for a well-trained analytical chemist are both wide and interesting.

This course is accredited by both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. Graduates are eligible to apply for the status of Chartered Chemist, the qualification recognised in the UK and EU for professional chemists.

How much will I earn?

The average (median) salary of graduates in full-time work is £18,500**

With management experience, you could earn up to £50,000.*

Where are they now?

Job options**

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Analytical chemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Clinical scientist, biochemistry
  • Colour technologist
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Forensic scientist
  • Medicinal chemist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Operating department practitioner
  • Palaeontologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research scientist (physical sciences)
  • Toxicologist

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  • Civil service fast streamer
  • Environmental consultant
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Nuclear engineer
  • Patent attorney
  • Product/process development scientist
  • Radiation protection practitioner
  • Science writer
  • Secondary school teacher

**Information taken from Prospects 2022

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Start date:

Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (1 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2024

Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (1 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2024

UCAS Applications

Apply through UCAS if you are a UK applicant. International applicants may apply through UCAS if they are applying to more than one UK University.

Apply now

Direct Applications

Our Direct applications service is for international applicants who wish to apply to Strathclyde University at this time.

Apply now

Start date:

Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (2 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2024

Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (2 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2024

UCAS Applications

Apply through UCAS if you are a UK applicant. International applicants may apply through UCAS if they are applying to more than one UK University.

Apply now

Direct Applications

Our Direct applications service is for international applicants who wish to apply to Strathclyde University at this time.

Apply now
Back to course

Contact us

Find out more about the programme

Roslyn Nimmo

Admissions Assistant

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2282


Dr Fraser Scott

Academic Selector

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2800


Charlie O’Hara

Director of Teaching

Telephone: 0141 548 3537