Huddersfield is first in England for professionally qualified teaching staff

Forensic Science (Forensic Anthropology) MSc 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

About the course

This course provides postgraduate education in the discipline of Forensic Anthropology. This course provides intensive training in human osteology and the techniques used by Forensic Anthropologists to build osteological profiles of unknown skeletonised human remains. The first half of the taught phase provides you with a solid foundation in the core skills of forensic science, such as crime scene examination and interpretation and presentation of evidence, using our crime scene facilities and real crime scene expertise and casework. The second half of the taught phase includes specialised modules on human osteology, and techniques of estimation of sex, age, stature and ethnic ancestry in skeletal remains, as well as distinguishing between animal and human bones. It also includes topics such as skeletal development, trauma and pathology; forensic taphonomy (decomposition and decay); and post-mortem interval estimation. The course is very practically and vocationally-focused, and provides hands-on experience of dealing with skeletonised and decomposed human (and animal) remains.

In the last third of the course, you are given the opportunity to pursue an original research project, on a topic provided by supervisors or of a relevant topic of your choice. This requires 50 days of laboratory work, and takes place in the summer term.

Start date:
17 / 09 / 2018


One year full-time

Entry requirements

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


Admissions Assistant
Tel: 01484 473867

For informal enquiries please contact the Course Leader, Dr Graham Williams at

Places available:
(this number may be subject to change)

Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

Apply now Book on an Open Day or Study Fair Order a prospectus Ask a question

Course content

The course is aimed at those wishing to build on their undergraduate science degree, by gaining hands-on experience and critical examination of theory and practice, in order to pursue a career in forensic science, and in particular Forensic Anthropology. It is also designed for scientific or forensic practitioners wishing to re-specialise or hone their Forensic Anthropology skills to pursue an affiliated career path.

The modules are:

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 overall aim of this module is to teach the students’ industry relevant practical skills in the areas of Forensic Biology, Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Anthropology, and Forensic Entomology. For example, Forensic Biology practicals would include DNA profiling and body fluid examination techniques, Forensic Toxicology would include GC and HPLC, Forensic Anthropology would include osteological analyses, and Forensic Entomology would include insect recovery and PMI analysis. In addition the student would receive 12 hours of statistics (basics and including ANOVA and other analyses of variance techniques) and research skills (such as literature searching, referencing, etc)

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.

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.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.


There may be the opportunity for some students to carry out their research project in a relevant academic, commercial or industrial setting, such as a museum or archaeological unit. Placements are normally a minimum of eight weeks in the period between June and September.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the course can obtain positions in the UK with forensic science providers or with individual police forces which have their own in-house forensic scientists or experts. There are also employment opportunities for graduates in museums, archaeological units and non-governmental organisations. Abroad, there may be career opportunities in Forensic Anthropology laboratories, and organisations such as Interpol, International Commission on Missing Persons, and Physicians for Human Rights. This course can also act as a precursor to an academic teaching or research position or PhD.

Teaching and assessment

Considerable emphasis is placed on independent learning. You will be taught through tutorials, lectures, workshops and practical laboratory classes. Additional learning materials are provided on the Univeristy'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.Modules are assessed by assignments, problem solving exercises, assessment of 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.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the full-time tuition fee for UK and EU postgraduate students at the University of Huddersfield will generally be £5,100 (see Fees and Finance for exceptions). Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are interested in studying with us on a part-time basis, please visit our Fees and Finance pages for part-time fee information.

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.

Other information

  • Hand-on experience using a wide range of analytical instrumentation in our well-equipped laboratories, through structured practicals as well as open ended group mini-projects.

*Statistical analysis of data which is essential in the interpretation of all analytical data.

*Research active staff, who are members of professional bodies including the Forensic Science Society, the British Association of Human Identification, the British Association of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology and the Royal Anthropological Institute.

  • Science research at Huddersfield is thriving and expanding.

*Excellent ratings in the 2014 RAE.

How to apply

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.

© 2017 University of Huddersfield - All rights reserved

VAT registration number 516 3101 90