The MSc Analytical and Forensic Science has been designed to provide expert laboratory training and help you secure employment in analytical science, DNA analysis or forensic science sectors.
Accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, the MSc Analytical and Forensic Science course focuses on cutting edge research, the latest analytical techniques, and transferable and professional skills that will prepare you to practise as a professional analytical or forensic scientist.
The MSc Analytical and Forensic Science is building a reputation for producing excellent scientists and highly sought-after graduates. Our postgraduates have been offered employment in some of the most prestigious companies in the UK and Europe, in fields ranging from analytical toxicology to forensic DNA analysis.
What you will study
You will study the following modules over a one year period full time, or two years part time:
- Advanced DNA analysis and profiling (20 credits)
You will gain a thorough understanding of DNA analysis and interpretation techniques. There is practical training in a large range of advanced extraction techniques, quantitation, amplification and electrophoresis of DNA, through simulated case-work using our crime scene house and DNA analysis laboratory.
- Analytical Techniques and Quality in the Forensic Laboratory (20 credits)
This module has been designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop your independent learning skills, which is a central part of postgraduate study. You will make use of a web-based learning package to gain the theoretical understanding of the following topics: HPLC, GC, GC-MS, LC-MS, Sample Preparation, Infrared Spectroscopy and Basic Laboratory Skills (laboratory safety, errors, volumetric lab equipment, measuring pH, UV-Visible Spectroscopy). This is supported with tutorial sessions with academic staff, to provide further explanation and support. The critical issues of performing analysis in an analytical forensic laboratory will be explored through practical sessions, during which you will undertake training in method validation principles and processes. By completing this module, you will be able to complete many of the aspects required to work within a laboratory, including; preparation of SOPs. repeatability studies, intra- and inter-day variation studies, calculation of precision, accuracy, LODs, LOQs and signal to noise factors, together with the use of laboratory equipment and analytical instrumentation. You will perform a validation on an analytical method, whilst ensuring that the requirements of ISO17025 are fulfilled from a practical perspective.
- Analytical toxicology (20 credits)
This module focuses on the detection and quantitation of a range of drugs of abuse in biological matrices such as blood, urine saliva and hair. You will receive a high level of practical laboratory training in several drug extraction methods and confirmation techniques such as GCMS and ICP-OES. Practical laboratory work will include method development and validation techniques and in addition we will focus on the challenging area of hair analysis for clinical and forensic toxicology.
- Interpretation, evaluation and presentation of casework (20 credits)
You will learn about the law as it relates to the forensic scientist and their relationship with the police, lawyers and courts, and the role of the expert witness. You will receive training from professional case working forensic scientists in how to draft expert witness statements and how to give testimony in court. You will also be provided with training in Bayesian theory as applied to forensic casework, together with training in Chemometrics, using mathematical and statistical methods enabling you to correlate quality parameters to analytical instrument data.
- Advanced crime scene and evidence analysis (20 credits)
You will learn how to effectively process major and specialist crime scenes through our simulation facilities, and will study novel mapping techniques such as 3D scanning and LIDAR as applied to crime scene investigation.
- Project design, management and enterprise (20 credits)
You have the opportunity to complete a PRINCE 2 foundation certificate as part of this course, which will stand you in good stead for the management of major projects in laboratories. The PRINCE 2 award is a prestigious, internationally recognized qualification. You will also receive training in entrepreneurship, intellectual property, and business skills. Please note there is an additional fee of £1500.00 to study this module. This fee also includes laboratory costs.
- Laboratory research project (60 credits)
A 60 credit research project allows you to customise the MSc and specialise in a chosen field. Projects will normally be completed at the University, there are generally opportunities to complete a project with an industrial partner. Please note there is an additional fee to study this module, this is detailed in the fees and funding section.
You will study your modules sequentially throughout the course. There are periods of self directed learning where you will study online material including journals, research notes and recommended books before engaging in hands on laboratory training, lectures and seminars on campus.
The MSc Analytical and Forensic Science course is available as a one year full time option, or two years part time option. You will complete a research project in your chosen area of specialisation.
Each module will provide up to 36 hours of contact time. For laboratory based modules you will spend most of your time conducting research and experiments in our laboratories. In an average week you may be designing toxicology experiments to investigate drug overdose cases, analysing human DNA from biological fluids or processing major crime scenes. We expect you to study approximately 150 hours in your own time for each 20 credit module to contribute to your learning.
There are usually opportunities for court visits to observe expert witness testimony, and laboratory visits to our industrial partners.
This MSc programme has been designed to meet the requirements of the analytical and forensic science industry. We have developed long standing partnerships with several key employers in industry and these partners have a significant contribution to the course, from helping to design the curriculum, to providing guest lectures and opportunities for student placements.
Please note that placement opportunities are subject to availability.
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