Our Forensic and Analytical Science MSci course offers you the opportunity to get a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of forensic science while developing in-depth knowledge of analytical science – the basis of forensic chemistry. Where this course differs from our BSc(Hons) is that in the third year of the MSci you get to experience a placement year in an academic research setting.
This focused time spent in a university or research institute could be the perfect opportunity for you to put the theory you’ve learned to the test in the real world. It could also help boost your employability and open up all sorts of career opportunities beyond graduation. The range of roles in forensic science is vast – from forensic pathologists, forensic examiners and DNA analysts to specialists such as forensic anthropologists, bloodstain pattern and clothing damage analysts.
No matter what career path you’ve set your sights on, this course is designed to help you develop practical and problem-solving skills you need. In our specialised labs and crime-scene facilities, you’ll be able to get to grips with the tools and processes used in real-life investigations and our simulated scenarios will challenge you to apply your know-how on the spot.
Throughout the course, you’ll be supported by academics and experienced practitioners in forensic science, and the course also has independent accreditation from the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
I chose to study the Forensic and Analytical Science BSc(Hons) course here at Huddersfield for the forensic science element of the course, as this covers the laboratory techniques used in the field of forensic science such as analysis of DNA, fingerprint and footwear analysis and examination of fibres. Plus, the course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, and the University is a respectable one and close to home.
Miranda Blackburn, Forensic and Analytical Science BSc(Hons)
This module enables you to gain practical experience in many of the practical techniques used to analyse physical evidence. Techniques covered range from ‘spot tests’ for blood, drugs and firearm residues to the development of latent fingerprints, the identification of glass and paint fragments and the microscopic examination of hairs and fibres. Lectures support the practical work and place it in context. Assessment is by results sheets and an end of year poster.
In this module you’ll be introduced to analytical science. In the first half of the module you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the basic statistical concepts important in analytical science before going on to an introduction to a series of physical and spectroscopic analytical techniques. The second half of the module focuses on the use of various spectroscopic methods for the characterisation of known compounds and for the identification of unknown compounds. You will be assessed by coursework and exam.
This module introduces you to the chemistry of the elements including the earliest events in the universe and the formation of all the elements in stars. The module examines the structure bonding and properties of the elements and simple inorganic materials. You’ll also have the opportunity to investigate the main group elements in more detail. Your learning experience will be augmented by some introductory chemistry practical work, which will involve experimental techniques. Assessment is via practical reports, and MCQ test and a final examination.
In organic chemistry, the focus is on the element carbon. The chemistry of carbon compounds is central to all living organisms. However, thousands of nonliving things (such as drugs, plastics and dyes) are also carbon compounds. This module focuses on the fundamental principles of organic chemistry including structure, bonding, functional groups and the basic language of chemical change. You'll have the opportunity to enhance your learning in a designated block of practical exercises (this element of the coursework is worth 20% of the module mark), which also helps you to develop your hands-on practical skills. Assessment is by coursework and exam.
The aim of this module is to enable you to gain the basic IT and mathematics skills necessary for a science degree. For the mathematics part you’ll have the opportunity to learn scientific notation, basic algebra experimental functions, logarithms, differential calculations and integration techniques. For the computing part you’ll be encouraged to learn how to use Microsoft Word, Excel. You’ll be assessed on a mixture of coursework based tests.
This module introduces you to the basic concepts of physical chemistry, covering the behaviour of gases and the reaction of acids and bases in solutions. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the kinetics of reactions and what has an effect on the rate of a reaction, in addition to thermodynamics, which explains why a particular reaction may, or may not, take place. The lecture material is supported by laboratory practical sessions, which help to reinforce and aid your understanding of the theory delivered in lectures. The module is assessed by coursework, practical reports, an in-class test and an assignment, or second in-class test and an exam.
An overview of commonly encountered evidence types at crime scenes will be provided, with a focus on crime scene specific issues, such as location, recovery, packaging contamination, health and safety. In addition, the forensic significance of the evidence will be discussed reflecting the new roles of the crime scene practitioner in formulating submission strategies, as well as crime scene management. Crime scene examination strategies will be covered, along with strategies to preserve the continuity and integrity of the evidence and information obtained, as well as photography. An introduction to the legal system will be provided along with report production and defending witness statements in a mock court of law. A series of practical will also be provided where the students place the theory in to practice. You will also be introduced to Digital Forensics and Cyber Crime.
This module provides an introduction to selected topics in modern biology suitable for students of forensic science and chemistry, and it provides a basis for further study for those whose interests lie at the interface of the biological and chemical sciences. Such topics include a review of fundamental biochemistry, physiology and an introduction to forensic genetics. In addition, you’ll be introduced to pharmacology and pharmacokinetics providing you with a solid foundation for potential toxicology routes. Assessment is by continual practical assessment and a final examination.
This module enables you to extend your practical skills in the analysis of physical evidence to include instrumental methods such as chromatography (gas, liquid and ion), spectroscopy (UV-Vis, IR, fluorescence and mass) and microscopy (optical and electron). Physical evidence types ranging from accelerants used in arson cases to explosive residues, poisons, inks, drugs and soils will be analysed. Other experiments include ballistics, bloodstain pattern analysis and gel electrophoresis of proteins. Assessment is by results sheets.
This module builds on your knowledge of molecular and atomic spectroscopy techniques. You’ll have the opportunity to develop more in-depth interpretation skills for spectroscopic data and be introduced to a range of separation techniques. You’ll also examine the principles and applications of a range of instrumental methods such as differential scanning calorimetry, atomic absorbance spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence and polarography. The application of advanced statistical analysis to analytical data will also be introduced. The module is assessed on a mixture of coursework and a final exam.
The module builds on the fundamental principles explored in the Organic Chemistry 1 module. The knowledge and ability to form carbon-carbon bonds under controlled conditions is an essential skill that all aspiring organic chemists should possess, and this is a major focus that you’ll have the opportunity to explore in this module. You’ll also delve into other aspects of synthetic chemistry, such as the use of a wide range of inorganic compounds that provide a valuable resource to the organic chemist. The skill of designing logical processes to synthesise target molecules is also introduced. A short series of related assessed practical exercises take place in term two. At the end of term one, a written assignment will be set. The module assessment culminates in a final exam.
Choose one from a list which may include-
This module builds on your knowledge developed in the Inorganic Chemistry 1 module and introduces the chemistry of the transition metals (d-block). You’ll be introduced to how the d-block metals react to form complexes and how their bonding can explain the optical and magnetic properties observed, in addition to the stability of compounds. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about more advanced types of solid state structure and how to classify solids as semiconductors, metals or insulators. The lecture material is supported by laboratory practical sessions, which reinforce and aid understanding of the theory delivered in lectures. The module is assessed by coursework and formal exam.
Building on Physical Chemistry I, you’ll study the behaviour of electrolyte solutions. This is followed by both equilibrium and dynamic electrochemistry and electrochemical processes. The second law of thermodynamics will be applied to chemical systems, describing the driving forces for reactions and the factors controlling chemical equilibria and phase equilibria. Colligative properties of solutions will be covered, as will the properties of colloidal systems. A major practical component is included to illustrate these topics. The module is assessed by exam (and coursework.
This module covers three aspects of communication of importance in science – the ability to read and understand scientific journal papers, the ability to write a scientific journal paper and the ability to give oral presentations. Assessment is by coursework and oral presentation.
The project module involves you developing an independent research programme. Academic supervisors will outline the aims of the project and direct you to the most recent literature. You’ll plan your project in light of the current state of the field of research and undertake the research. The module is assessed by continual assessment, project dissertation and an oral presentation.
You'll carry out a substantial research project, under supervision, in an industrial or academic research environment, during the course of Year 3 of the MChem/MSci integrated Master’s degrees. The subject of the research may be any relevant and topical area of chemistry, forensic or pharmaceutical science, but must be agreed in advance between you, your project supervisor and the University course or module leader.
This is a practice-based training module which normally takes place across a 48-week period in a suitable organisation, usually a university laboratory. The exact nature of the training will vary depending on the specific background and requirements of individual students and the opportunities available within the differing laboratory environments.
This module is studied by distance learning and comprises three strands. 1. Structure elucidation using 2D NMR techniques. 2. Polymer science, in particular the application of analytical techniques and the interpretation of results in the characterisation of polymers. 3. The application of surface characterisation techniques, namely electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA), secondary electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM), in forensic analysis. Each strand is assessed by an individual assignment. There is a final exam covering the entire course.
You'll have the opportunity to consider the role of the forensic scientist from scene of crime to court presentation along with aspects of forensic science not covered elsewhere in the course, for example: DNA profiling; Interpreting DNA results; Blood Stain Pattern Analysis; The study of tool marks and impressions; Arson, explosives, firearms and ballistics; Glass and fibre analysis; Illicit drug manufacture, importation, analysis, and the Misuse of Drugs act. The module will be assessed by coursework and an exam.
This module builds upon your knowledge in crime scene investigation and provides you with hands on practical experience of the more specialised forensic disciplines, such as Blood Stain Pattern Analysis, forensic entomology and forensic archaeology and anthropology. These subjects are taught by forensic experts with real case work experience and will be crime scenes based. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to examine the crime scene from the specialists’ point of view and how to interpret the evidence. You’ll be assessed through a series of coursework.
In this module, you’ll have the chance to learn advanced theory of chromatography, with a particular emphasis on techniques that are applicable to toxicological analysis. A range of different chromatographic methods will be presented, with examples of their uses. Principles of analytical toxicology will be introduced, including absorption, distribution and metabolism of drugs in the body and sample collection and preparation. The module is assessed by coursework and a final exam.
In this module you'll be provided with an overview of contemporary spectroscopic techniques and their relevant areas of application. In mass spectrometry you'll be introduced to the range of ionisation and scanning techniques and the ways in which the coupling of chromatographic methods with mass spectrometry can enhance and extend the capabilities of both methods. In nuclear magnetic resonance you'll consider a range of advanced experimental methods to enhance the quality of the analytical information which can be obtained. You’ll be assessed by coursework and an examination.
A chemically-based independent research programme. Academic supervisors will outline the aims of the project and direct you to the most recent literature. Before undertaking experimentation, you'll be expected to undertake a comprehensive review of the literature related to your project and to evaluate this literature. You'll then have the opportunity to plan your project in light of the current state of the field of research. You'll be given some advice on research methods but will be expected to lead the planning yourself. Your project will be expected to show depth and involve advanced laboratory and instrumental techniques. Your project will also be open ended and you'll be expected to review progress regularly and modify research plans accordingly. Group projects will also be encouraged, though you'll also work independently. You'll be required to outline your research plans via an oral at a mini-conference in the early stages of the project and then present your results, interpretation and conclusions on a poster, which you'll defend at a poster day once the project is completed.
Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you’ll be encouraged to gain hands-on experience of a wide range of experimental techniques and instrumentation. You’ll also have the chance to develop your problem solving skillsthrough, for example, analysis of crime scenes.The third year is spent in a research group, usually in a university or a research institute.The final year includes advanced topics in forensic and analytical science as well as a substantial forensic and analytical science related research project.
34.7% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, tutorials, practicals/workshops etc.
You will be taught through a series of lectures, tutorials and practicals/workshops. Assessment will include written exams, problem solving exercises, assessment of laboratory skills, multiple choice questions (mainly in your first year), oral and poster presentation and written reports.
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 towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results.Feedback 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 fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*
*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
The teaching year normally starts in September with breaks at Christmas and Easter, finishing with a main examination/assessment period around May/June. Timetables are normally available one month before registration.
Your course is made up of modules and each module is worth a number of credits. Each year you study modules to the value of 120 credits, adding up to 480 credits in total for an integrated master’s qualification. These credits can come from a combination of core, compulsory and optional modules but please note that optional modules may not run if we do not have enough students interested.
If you achieve 120 credits for the current stage you are at, you may progress to the next stage of your course.
*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.
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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.
We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.
We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.
Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.
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