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.
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
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.
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 commended Kingston University on the following:
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.
For a student to go on placement they are required to pass every module first time with no reassessments.
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:
A mock trial will also help you develop the practical skills of expert witness testimony and report writing.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Read more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.
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.
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.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to take the option of 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 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.
Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.
Please note: each application is assessed on an individual basis and may be subject to additional requirements, such as undertaking short course(s), work experience and/or English language qualification(s). Meeting particular minimum entry requirements does not automatically guarantee a place.
In order to complete your programme successfully, it is important to have a good command of English and be able to apply this in an academic environment. Therefore, if you are a non-UK applicant* you will usually be required to provide certificated proof of English language competence before commencing your studies.
For this course the minimum requirement is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.
* Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.
As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services.
34% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose.
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which provides dedicated academic guidance and advice as well as the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes, therefore you may be taught alongside postgraduates from other courses.
This course is delivered by the School of Life Sciences, and Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing.
The Faculty's wide selection of undergraduate and postgraduate courses covers a diverse range of subject areas, from aerospace to geography; from maths and computing to biotechnology; and many more. Our collaborative set-up provides new opportunities for our students, and we design our courses with industry professionals to ensure you stay up to date with the latest developments.
The School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry is well known for the high quality of its undergraduate and postgraduate courses. These include full- and part-time foundation programmes.
Excellent facilities support our teaching - students benefit from new, purpose-built laboratories, equipped with state-of-the-art instruments. Strong links with industry and other key sectors ensure our students are well prepared for today's employment market. These include connections with hospitals and community pharmacies, accreditation from industry bodies, and involvement with active research groups.
Postgraduate students may run or assist in lab sessions and may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.
There is a wide range of facilities for practical work at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based.
You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including our 'scene of crime house' where we recreate crime scenes. This allows you to put your forensic skills to the test, from dusting for fingerprints to searching for and analysing samples (read more below).
You will also benefit from:
The library offers:
The 'scene of crime house' is a real semi-detached house located on-site. Its five rooms contain various types of mock crime scenes, including burglary, arson, assault and sexual crime.
Students have to pick up evidence carefully and transport it back to the labs for preservation and analysis. Even the garden contains evidence and is used by the forensic team's archaeologist for teaching.
If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
In the UK, forensic analysts are now mainly employed in independent laboratories. They perform a variety of roles including laboratory technical support, laboratory management, forensic investigations (sampling, chemical analysis and data interpretation) and are expected to present evidence through formal reports or directly in court. Whilst a qualification in Forensic Analysis can allow access to employment opportunities in forensic laboratories, the training required for a forensic analyst is valuable in a wide range of related employment sectors. The MSc Forensic Analysis helps to prepare you for roles such as:
Our links with practitioners and industry provide a practical base for our courses. They also help us to ensure your studies are kept up-to-date and relevant to the working environment.
If you choose to study this course, you will benefit from:
You can take your MSc project:
Recent guest speakers include:
Recent trips include:
Many of our staff in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.
Areas of interest to this course include:
Research in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing comprises three recognised University Centres of Research Excellence, led by internationally-renowned experts in their fields, plus research groups and interdisciplinary projects in specific strategic areas.
Our nationally- and internationally-recognised research activity is supported by strong links with industry and funding from a range of sources including the European Commission, UK research councils, charities and multinational corporations.
The Digital Information Research Centre is dedicated to the advancement of the theory and applicability of computer science to enable internationally-leading work in the field of informatics, addressing the needs of society in the thematic areas of health, communications, security and data. The centre provides an inclusive and outward looking environment for research development, fostering interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research to achieve maximum impact in real-world applications.
The Hub brings together established researchers, early career researchers, post-doctoral fellows and research students from specific research areas in life and health sciences. The research is organised around six themes: Diabetes and Cardiovascular Pathologies; Cancer Research; Vision, Cognition and Neuroscience; Drug Discovery, Delivery and Patient Care; Infection and Immunity; Sport, Exercise, Nutrition and Public Health.
This Research Centre brings together researchers at all levels who work in engineering and environmental sciences and related disciplines to which engineering solutions are increasingly critical in modern society (e.g. medical sciences). The research areas within CEESR comprise seven 'Themes' that reflect existing research strengths and collaborations. These are: Civil Engineering; Earth, Environmental and Social Sciences; Fire, Explosion and Fluid Dynamics.
We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.
In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.
We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.
Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.
While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.
For laboratory practicals, there are no changes to the number of sessions. But in some cases, for safety reasons, they may not be delivered on campus, but delivered as virtual online practicals.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.
Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
On-campus teaching may involve smaller class sizes in line with social distance requirements.
Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.
Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.
As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.
The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.
Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.
In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.
The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.