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Forensic Science (Analysis/Toxicology) Masters (MSc)

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2020

Choose Kingston's Forensic Science (Analysis/Toxicology) MSc

This course will enable you to gain a strong background in the theory of analytical and forensic techniques and how to apply them to complex problems such as those encountered at crime scenes. It emphasises the key skills required in this specialised area of science, including good measurement and scientific practice, sample collection and chain of custody, evaluation and interpretation of data, and constructing expert witness reports.

Kingston University has its own scene-of-crime house located on site, which is used to recreate crime scenes and enables you to put your investigative skills into practice. The property's garden is used by the forensic team's archaeologist for field investigations. 

Lecturers on the course have wide experience in the forensics sector and many have worked either as forensic scientists or as expert witnesses. They are also actively engaged in forensic research, and are supported by visiting speakers from leading forensic consultancies.

Accreditation for this course

This course is accredited by the The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences for the component standards in Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence; Laboratory Analysis; and Crime Scene Investigation. This course is currently accredited until March 2025. 

When you graduate you are eligible to apply to be an Associate of The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (ACSFS post-nominals). Having completed appropriate continuing professional development in a forensic science workplace, you can also become a Professional Member (MCSFS).  Find out more from The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences website.

The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences also commended Kingston University on the following:

  • The provision of state-of-the-art industry-related training schemes was considered both innovative and highly beneficial to the students' employment prospects. The fact that these are free, assessed and provide competence certificates in addition to the Degree award is commendable and was highly supported by the students.
  • Providing the students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) with the experience and opportunities to undertake a crime scene exercise following initial investigation by a team of trainee paramedics was considered an excellent way to introduce a real-life aspect of crime scene management and the awareness of how the work of others can impact on the management and investigation of a scene.
  • Exposure to up-to-date working practice in forensic science through the Training Schemes, Workshops and Employment Seminars.

What will you study?

You will explore recent trends in forensic science and learn about the latest analytical devices used, such as atomic and molecular spectroscopic and separation techniques and DNA profiling.

You will look at the role of the forensic scientist and learn how to, for example, investigate and analyse drugs of abuse, fibres and firearms and conduct fire investigation. There is also the opportunity to present expert evidence at a mock courtroom trial in a magistrates' court, examined by Kingston's own trainee lawyers and/or their law lecturers.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to carry out your research project in industry (depending on your results and project availability) or in Kingston University's extensive forensic and analytical laboratories.

Find out more about the teaching on this course by watching a video of James Barker, reader in analytical science:

Assessment

Exams, laboratory reports, assignments, case studies, oral presentations, including presentation of expert witness evidence in a mock courtroom, poster presentations, practical research project.

 

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's tier 4 visa.

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in year 2. Therefore, students starting in September 2018 would therefore be charged the placement fee of £1,230 in September 2019. Students commencing the course in September 2019 will be invoiced the placement fee in 2020 (provisionally £1,350).

This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

Course structure

You will explore recent trends in forensic science and learn about the latest analytical devices used, such as atomic and molecular spectroscopic and separation techniques and DNA profiling.

You will look at the role of the forensic scientist and learn how to, for example, investigate and analyse drugs of abuse, fibres and firearms and conduct fire investigation. There is also the opportunity to present expert evidence at a mock courtroom trial in a magistrates' court, examined by Kingston's own trainee lawyers and/or their law lecturers.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to carry out your research project in industry (depending on your results and project availability) or in Kingston University's extensive forensic and analytical laboratories.

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Modules

  • This module introduces you to the duties of the forensic scientist, the scene of crime officer and other specialists at a crime scene. It covers the principles of:

    • evidence collection;
    • packaging/labelling;
    • preservation;
    • continuity of evidence; and
    • quality assurance at a crime scene.

    A mock trial will also help you develop the practical skills of expert witness testimony and report writing.

    Read full module description

     
  • This module introduces students to the principles and theory of separation science and its application in the laboratory including solvent extraction, high performance liquid chromatography, gas/liquid chromatography, centrifugation, gel and capillary electrophoresis and hyphenated techniques.

    Read full module description

     
  • This module introduces the main spectroscopic techniques used in industry, e.g. UV/Vis, FTIR, Mass Spectrometry, NMR, AES, AAS and X -Ray methods and later progresses to the more advanced designs and applications, eg MS/MS, FTMS, TOF, sector and quadrupole mass analysers, 2D NMR, LCMS, MALDI, Atomic Fluorescence and ICPMS/AES.

    Read full module description

     
  • This module involves a research- or industry-based in-depth research project. You will develop your ability to critically evaluate your own work as well as the work of others, utilising analytical and laboratory skills.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Prepare a realistic and coherent project proposal, formulate aims and objectives and plan your own time to achieve stated objectives.
    • Critically evaluate the current literature.
    • Carry out appropriate experiments in a safe manner (applying COSHH) and generate reliable data suitably analysed and apply appropriate statistical tests.
    • Communicate the results of the project in a coherent report and in oral and visual manner.

    Read full module description

     
  • The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a Masters programme that incorporates an extended professional placement. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and develops and enhances key employability and subject specific skills in their chosen discipline. Students may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for the major project or future career.

    It is the responsibility of individual students to find and secure a suitable placement opportunity; this should not normally involve more than two placements which must be completed over a minimum period of 10 months and within a maximum of 12 months. The placement must be approved by the Course Leader, prior to commencement to ensure its suitability. Students seeking placements will have access to the standard placement preparation activities offered by Student Engagement and Enhancement (SEE) group.

     

Forensic Science (Analysis) pathway

  • This module introduces students to the analytical and forensic techniques encountered in trace and contact evidence analysis. The module focuses on four areas of forensic casework; drugs of abuse, fibre analysis, fire investigation and ballistics.

    Read full module description

     

Forensic Science (Toxicology) pathway

  • This module provides the student with an in-depth training into pharmacology, analytical chemistry, case law, expert witness and statement writing. These skills form the fundamental duties of a forensic toxicologist. The two major branches of forensic toxicology in the UK are criminal and road traffic toxicology. Both of these require the practitioners to possess a knowledge of the analytical techniques used to analyse drugs and the pharmacology of these drugs. This module will provide students with a clear understanding of the biological effects and therapeutic uses of drugs, before focusing exclusively on both criminal and road traffic toxicology. There will also be a focus on drug testing in sport and its confirmation.

    Read full module description

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9931*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9931*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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