Forensic Science (Forensic Biology) MSc

2019-20 (also available for 2020-21)

This course is eligible for Master's loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

23 September 2019

Duration

1 year full-time

Phone contact: +44 (0)1484 473867

About the course

This course provides postgraduate education in Forensic Science with a further specialisation in DNA/Body fluids; which is the main discipline of Forensic Biology. Forensic Science involves the use of scientific techniques and principles to address questions of interest to a court of law. This course aims to provide you with an overview of forensic science in general, following the crime scene to court model. This includes a series of crime scene exercises in our crime scene facilities, covering strategies for crime scene examination and an exploration of techniques associated with crime scene examination.

Course detail

Crime Scene Science Awareness

An overview of Search and Recovery of evidence at the crime scene, Handling Exhibits, Collection of Evidence, Crime Scene Management, Quality, Continuity, Storage of Evidence, Finger Marks, Finger Marks Development, Footwear Marks, Documents, Handwriting and Signatures, E-forensics, Photography and CCTV.

Forensic Biology Awareness

An overview of various forensic biology disciplines; including, DNA profiling, Body Fluids, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Fibres Evidence, Anthropology, Osteology, Odontology, Botany, Entomology and Pathology

Forensic Chemistry Awareness

An overview of various forensic chemistry disciplines; including Toxicology, Abuse of Harmful Substances, Drug testing, Explosives, Arson, Firearms Chemistry, Firearms, Glass, Paint.

Quality and Presentation of Evidence

Quality control and assurance, An introduction to case assessment and interpretation, Note taking (Crime Scene Reports and Forensic Examination Notes), Report Writing and Production of Expert Witness Statements, Giving oral Evidence and the Role of Forensic Sciences in the courts.

Forensic Casework Practice

This module will use simulated case data in the relevant subject speciality. The students will be expected to identify and critically evaluate the most up to date forensic literature in order to interpret, write-up and report the case in a mock court room exercise as an expert witness.

Advanced Forensic Practicals

The module aims to provide students with a more in-depth knowledge in two forensic disciplines: core and an elective. The core will be based on the student’s MSc pathway and the elective from one other area. Typical topics covered could include: • Anthropology: and interpretation of skeletal evidence • Biology: DNA profiling and body fluid examination, • Toxicology: drugs and metabolites and the use of techniques such as GC and HPLC, • Entomology: insect recovery, identification and PMI estimation. Other electives may also be offered but the University reserves the right not to run an elective if insufficient students choose it. The module includes a statistics section initially covering basic methods (mean, standard deviations, probability theory, etc.) before moving on to more applied statistical methods including the analyses of variances, and assessing significance. In addition this module will cover various skills required of a good forensic scientist and practitioner, including literature searching, critical analysis of published works and presentation skills.

You will also receive a comprehensive overview of most of the forensic science disciplines through the forensic biology and forensic chemistry module. You will also explore quality, which is an increasingly fundamental issue within forensic science industry; as well as the presentation of evidence and preparations for defending your evidence in a court of law.

The course then moves onto more specialised modules including forensic genetics and body fluid examination. Forensic genetics covers biochemistry and molecular biology as pertaining to forensics, STR analysis, including interpretation of DNA profiling results. In addition you will explore body fluid examination. This course is comprised of two thirds taught component and one third research project component.

The course is designed to train you in the scientific methodology relating to forensic biology and extend your interest and knowledge in all areas of the subject. The taught part of the course consists of four general forensic science modules (covering fundamental and basic principles of forensic science). The research project requires 50 days of laboratory work and takes place during the summer term.

Considerable emphasis is placed on independent learning. You will be taught through regular lectures, tutorials and workshops and practical laboratory classes. Additional learning materials are provided on the University’s VLE. There is an Academic Skills Tutor within the School of Applied Sciences who can help with report writing, revision and examination technique, numeracy skills, etc. Assessment will include assignments, problem solving exercises, laboratory skills and written examinations. The research project is assessed by written report and oral presentation.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks - unless the submission was made toward the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feed back on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the UK's only University where 100% of the permanent teaching staff are fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are normally:

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree in any science related subject or equivalent is required.

Why Choose Huddersfield?


Watch this clip to find out five great reasons to choose the University of Huddersfield for postgraduate study.

Placements


Placements are normally a minimum of eight weeks in the period between June and September

Teaching excellence

  1. Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated institution delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning of the highest quality found in the UK (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2017).
  2. We won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award recognising the University’s commitment to world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners and critical thinkers (HEA, 2017).
  3. Here at Huddersfield, you’ll be taught by some of the best lecturers in the country. We’ve been the English university with the highest proportion of professionally-qualified teaching staff for the past four years*.
  4. For the past ten years, we’ve been the UK’s leading university for National Teaching Fellowships too, which rate Britain’s best lecturers. It’s all part of our ongoing drive for teaching excellence, which helps our students to achieve great things too.
  5. We’re unique in the fact that all our permanent teaching staff** have, or are completing, doctorates. This expertise, together with our teaching credentials, means that students here learn from knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers and academics who are at the forefront of their subject area.

*HESA - First awarded in 2016, maintained in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

**Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching; research degrees applies to those on contracts of more than half-time.

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

Changes to a course you have applied for

If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.

Changes to your course after you enrol as a student

We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:

Changes to option modules

Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.

Major changes

We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.

For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.

Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

Termination of course

In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

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The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.