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Expand your knowledge in all areas of forensic science, from gathering evidence at the crime scene itself, right through to the courtroom. Develop your skills and knowledge on our accredited course, as you collect and analyse evidence, equipping you to become a confident and effective practitioner.
In-keeping with its industry-focus our Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences accredited course is taught by experienced forensics practitioners. We’ll immerse you in a practical environment that closely emulates a real forensics laboratory. The analytical skills and expertise you gain apply equally well in the broader scientific and technological fields as they do in forensics.
Our course combines practical skills with high-level theoretical knowledge of the wide range of forensic techniques you need to apply at all stages of an investigation. Going further still, you’ll be trained to design and execute your own research project in a relevant area, which particularly interests you. This will include guidance on research methods, good practice, presentation and the application of your research.
Our course is enhanced by our excellent working relationships with most of the major employers in the forensic science industry, including the police and fire services.
This focus on theory and good laboratory practice, analytical measurement and research and management skills, together with our industry contacts will make you an attractive candidate for employment. It’ll open up career opportunities in specialist forensic science laboratories in the chemical, biological, environmental, pharmaceutical and law enforcement industries.
You’re also in the perfect position to continue your academic career and move up to our Forensic Science PhD.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Evidence Collection and ManagementFrom crime scene through to the laboratory, you will discuss in depth the examination, analysis and interpretation of a range of criminalistics evidence. You will gain the theoretical and practical skills necessary for examining crime scenes and collecting the evidence. The basis of all forensic science is material collected and placed into context at the crime scene. Evidence incorrectly collected, packaged, stored or managed is compromised. Therefore, evidence recovery will be covered in depth, as well as related examination and analytical methods. As a result of this module you will prepare a witness statement and defend this in a moot court.
Mastering Forensic EvidenceDiscover how to identify the evidential value of diverse types of evidence, develop your awareness of the compositional variability of common evidence types, and how to identify and implement the most appropriate analytical methodologies. There will be an emphasis on the numerical evaluation of evidence using appropriate statistical methodologies, including Bayesian statistics and the use of the likelihood ratio. Microscopy is the most important tool in the armoury of the forensic scientist. Conventional visible light microscopy is now widely supplemented by a wide range of advanced techniques such as polarised light microscopy, comparison microscopy and phase-contrast microscopy (the latter being widely applied for the determination of refractive index and the identification of cellular material). In addition, the high spatial resolution of microscopes is now routinely applied to the ‚front end’ of advanced analytical devices such as infrared and Raman spectrometers. Evidential types to be considered will be hair, fibres, glass, paint, cosmetics, documents, fire debris.
Mastering Forensic AnalysisThis module is broadly divided into three categories: forensic genetics; forensic toxicology and chemical criminalistics. Forensic genetics involves the analysis of biological materials within a forensic science context. The presence of body fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions) in a case scenario is paramount in identifying what events took place at a crime scene. Their subsequent analyses through DNA profiling usually become part of most serious crime (murder, rape and assault) investigations. This module examines in depth the analysis of DNA and the challenges faced in forensic investigations. Emerging technologies including next generation sequencing (NGS), lab-on-a-chip, RNA profiling, DNA methylation are also covered. Forensic toxicology combines the specialist areas of analytical chemistry and pathology. In general, a forensic toxicologist detects and identifies foreign chemicals (toxins) in the body. In order to interpret toxicological findings accurately, it is essential that the toxicologist also has an understanding of the pharmacology of the substance in question and the pathological effects it has upon the body. The main analytical techniques covered are GC-MS and HPLC.
Specialised Topics in Forensic ScienceThis module provides an opportunity to customise your Masters course to include subject areas not otherwise covered on the course. You may well have personal expertise or other professional interest that you wish to research. You will be required to originate, design and execute the topic with minimal involvement of staff. However, at the beginning of the module, you will be required to meet regularly with the module leader to ensure the topic selected and the work proposed is acceptable. This initial contact is the design phase. The work may include laboratory or other practical work provided that such work does not require formal ethical approval and can be conducted with minimal training and supervision (consistent with health, safety and COSHH requirements).
Research MethodsGain support and foundations in the research skills needed for your Masters level dissertation. You’ll investigate research activities including project management, research project design and analyses, ethical considerations and dissertation preparation.
Masters Research ProjectThis module supports you in the preparation and submission of a Master’s stage project, dissertation or artefact. The Module provides the opportunity for you to select and explore in-depth, a topic that is of interest and relevant to your course so you can develop a significant level of expertise. It enables you to: – Demonstrate your ability to generate significant and meaningful questions in relation to your specialism. – Undertake independent research using appropriate, recognised methods based on current theoretical research knowledge; critically understand method and its relationship to knowledge. – Develop a critical understanding of current knowledge in relation to your chosen subject and to critically analyse and evaluate information and data, which may be complex or contradictory, and draw meaningful and justifiable conclusions. – Develop the capability to expand or redefine existing knowledge; to develop new approaches to changing situations and/or develop new approaches to changing situations and contribute to the development of best practice. – Demonstrate an awareness of and to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in your research or professional practice. – Communicate these processes in a clear and elegant fashion – Evaluate your work from the perspective of an autonomous reflective learner.