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.
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
You will study the following modules over a one year period full time, or two years part time:
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.
The following data explains how each module is assessed:
Advanced DNA Analysis and Profiling (20 credits)
Analytical Techniques and Quality in the Forensic Laboratory (20 credits)
Analytical toxicology (20 credits)
Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Casework (20 credits)
Advanced Crime Scene and Evidence Analysis (20 credits)
Project Design, Management and Enterprise (20 credits)
(This module also includes a separate Prince2 foundation course exam)
Laboratory Research Project (60 credits)
Laboratory research plan and log: 20%
There is no formal placement associated with this course, but there are often opportunities for students to carry out their research project in collaboration with industrial partners in the forensic science sector.
There is also an opportunity to conduct your research project in collaboration with Synergy Health with the possibility of working towards developing UKAS accredited methods of analysis -the ultimate standard in analytical science and a huge boost to your C.V.
The MSc Analytical and Forensic Science course focuses on practical investigative skills at the crime scene and in the forensic laboratory, and the presentation of these findings for legal purposes.
You will benefit from industry standard instruments, providing you with skills in a wide range of evidence examination techniques.
Our excellent facilities include a multi-room Crime Scene Training Facility, dedicated instrument laboratories and a DNA analysis suite. This gives you experience in crime scene examination and chain of custody processes, as well as potential issues at crime scenes.
You will be taught by staff in our analytical and forensic science team which consist of specialist forensic science practitioners, experts in DNA analysis and trace evidence analysis, crime scene investigators and chartered chemists.
We also employ several specialists from industry to deliver training on this course to enhance your study.
Lecturers are members of our applied science research group which comprises biologists, chemists, ecologists, earth, environmental and forensic scientists. Broadly our research falls into two areas - Biological Science and Analytical and Physical Science. Our research includes both fundamental science and very applied science working alongside industrial partners. We have an international outlook with research projects and collaborations world-wide. Our research is supported through excellent dedicated research facilities.
Please note that whilst this course does not require a DBS Check for entry, some professions will not consider candidates who have certain types of criminal convictions.
Therefore, if you have a criminal conviction and you are considering a particular career path we would recommend that you check with the relevant professional body or refer to their recruitment policy to make sure that your conviction will not disadvantage you.
A 2:2 BSc (Hons) degree in either a course accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences in forensic science, forensic chemistry, forensic biology, or, forensic investigation.
Applications from students holding a 2:2 BSc (Hons) degree, which includes chemistry are invited, other applicants will be considered on an individual basis.
The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
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Students are encouraged to equip themselves with a suitable cotton laboratory coat, suitable for working in a chemical laboratory, and a pair of personal protective laboratory goggles, although the School does provide these items. Students who are successful in securing an industry-based project may, in a small number of cases, be required to purchase additional personal protective equipment as specified by the specific organisation or company.
Whilst you’re studying you’ll have two main costs – tuition fees and living costs. You can get a range of funding to help with these costs.
There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate study. This can be through student finance, bursaries or help from grants, trusts and charities (see Alternative Funding), or a combination of all three.
There are many exciting employment opportunities in the analytical and forensic science sector. Key recruitment areas are DNA profiling, analytical chemistry and toxicological analysis. In these competitive fields, a postgraduate qualification will really make you stand out from the crowd. We have had an excellent response to the MSc analytical and forensic science from science companies across the UK. Major national companies regularly contact the University specifically asking for our MSc Analytical and Forensic Science graduates to apply for positions with them.
Our MSc graduates have been offered employment in toxicology, DNA and forensic science companies across the UK. An MSc award in Analytical and Forensic Science will demonstrate to employers the highest level of achievement and training.
Graduates may also progress to a science PhD or science research degree.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.