Michelle Csete from Wiltshire studied the Foundation in Science before progressing on to the MSci Forensic Biology, an integrated degree and Masters. Michelle, who graduates in July 2017, has already been offered a job with Cansford Laboratories where she wil be testing hair and oral fluid for levels of alcohol and drugs of abuse.
Are you enjoying the Forensic Biology degree?
Of course! I love how over the course of the undergraduate degree everything is tied in really well. Things you do in the first year are used in the second and third years to create a ‘big picture’ scenario. Your work is divided between lectures and practical work in the laboratories. There’s a really good split between practical and theory work.
What are the facilities like for your biology course?
The facilities are great! We have an entire house devoted to crime scene investigation, with a different scene in each room. We have a blood spatter lab and an evidence lab. When it comes to conducting our final year projects, we have an entire lab devoted to research. One of the most valuable pieces of equipment I have been shown how to use is the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer – it seems to be the go-to instrument for laboratory analysis. I must admit, though, I am a sucker for toxicology so I could be biased!
Favourite project so far
I really enjoyed the toxicology practicals we did this year. We looked at the levels of a drug in hair samples and assessed the results from a forensic point of view – it was set up to be representative of a real case, which made the work more relatable and even more interesting. I also really enjoyed the courtroom investigation. We got the opportunity to prepare evidence and present it in a realistic court-room scenario. This prepares you for when you will have to do it as part of your job and I found that really interesting and quite different. It’s not all about writing! There’s a great interactive side to the course.
What are the other students like?
The students here are brilliant. There’s a real mix of academic backgrounds and the upside to this is that everyone brings their own perspective to the work. I have made lots of friends here. My undergraduate course in Forensic Biology had around twenty students which meant everyone got along really well and we were all very close-knit. The entirety of the forensics courses all know each other too so there’s always someone around for a chat.
How is the teaching?
The teaching here is excellent. Everyone has so much experience and you can tell they’re passionate about what they do. I love learning about toxicology and blood and hair testing for substances, and there’s plenty of staff here who are enthusiastic about teaching it!