Forensic and Analytical Science MSci 2017-18This course also available for 2018-19 entry
Find out more about Forensic Science at Huddersfield
About the course
This course is an undergraduate Master's degree and includes a compulsory placement year in an academic research setting. This could be ideal for you if you want to pursue a career in research and development in the forensic and analytical science sectors.
This course looks at the essential science (forensic chemistry and biology) that is used to solve problems and provide robust evidence for courts and the legal profession. Analytical science, which is the basis of forensic chemistry, is also widely used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, hospitals and analytical service laboratories. This gives you the opportunity to gain a comprehensive grounding in analytical chemistry and forensic and analytical science. You'll also have the chance to learn how to problem solve and how to plan and carry out academic and applied research.
You'll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in our modern science laboratory facilities using analytical instrumentation including scanning electron microscopy, infra-red spectroscopy, ultra-violet spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography (hplc). To enable you to practise in ‘real-life simulated' situations, there's also a dedicated crime scene suite including a crime scene room with integral CCTV. We also include several outdoor crime scenes.
This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
18 / 09 / 2017
4 years inc. placement year
Inc. placement year
03301 232 277
Watch our Forensics Science subject area video to hear how student Miranda has found her course at Huddersfield.
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.
Practical Forensic Science 1
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.
Analytical Science 1
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.
Inorganic Chemistry 1
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.
Organic Chemistry 1
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.
Data Handling for Forensic Science
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.
Option modules: Choose one from a list which may include-
Physical Chemistry 1
This module gives you an introduction to five key areas in physical chemistry: 1. Ideal and real gases and how temperature, pressure and volume affect the properties of individual gas molecules. 2. Energy changes in chemical reactions and physical processes. 3. Aqueous equilibria involving acids, bases, salts and buffer solutions. 4. Factors influencing the rate of a reaction such as reactant concentration, temperature and catalysts. 5. Applications and properties of catalysts. Lectures are backed up by a series of laboratory exercises. Assessment is via a combination of coursework (practical, multiple choice question test and assignment) and an end of module exam.
Physical Chemistry A
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.
Crime Scene Investigation
This module introduces you to the principles of crime scene examination (such as anti-contamination and quality procedures), and you'll learn about a wide range of different evidence types within the crime scene context including fire investigation and crime scene photography. In addition to this, you'll have the opportunity to learn how to produce written reports and to defend them orally. This is assessed by a written exam, a practical crime scene exercise and a practical mock court room exercise.
Biology for the Chemical and Forensic Sciences
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.
Practical Forensic Science 2
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.
Analytical Science 2
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.
Organic Chemistry 2
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.
Option modules: Choose one from a list which may include-
Inorganic Chemistry 2
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.
Physical Chemistry 2
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.
Criminal Law and Presentation of Evidence
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.
Specialised Analytical Techniques
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.
Forensic Investigation and Evidence Types
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.
Advanced Crime Scene Sciences
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.
Analytical Science 3
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.
Advanced Spectroscopic Techniques; Electroanalysis and Sensors
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.
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 spend two days per week undertaking the research. There’s a wide range of different projects available, from developing light-harvesting devices to the synthesis of new antibiotics. There may also be an opportunity to work within companies based at the University. The module is assessed by continual assessment, project dissertation, poster presentation and an oral presentation.
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.
During the MSci degree you will spend year 3 as a student (unsalaried) in a research group usually in a university or a research institute.This is an ideal choice for those who may wish to pursue a PhD upon graduation.We provide guidance and support to help you secure a placement.
You may also have the opportunity to apply for an optional transatlantic placement programme with a department of Forensic Science in an American university, which offers the opportunity for you to spend your placement year doing a research project in the USA. Places are available each year to those who express an interest and are successful in the application process. If successful you would need to cover the entire costs, including travel and subsistence, of your 48 week placement, which may vary depending on the location and nature of the placement.
85-94% of graduates from courses in this subject area go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating.
Previous graduates from this course have gone on to roles such as Designated Examiner, Spectroscopy and Chromatography Analyst and Research Scientist in organisations including West Yorkshire Police, Unilever and Eurofins.*
Analytical chemists can be employed in various chemical companies, including pharmaceutical companies, fine chemical industries, food and drink manufacturers, water companies and the health sector.
Professional links and accreditations
This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
Teaching and assessment
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
How much will it cost me?
The full-time undergraduate tuition fee for 17/18 entry is £9,250.
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 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.
You may have the opportunity during the course to attend an optional 5 day study visit to the Romanian Institute of Legal Medicine. The study visit is open to all students of any year of the degree course. If you choose to attend you'll need to cover the costs, which in recent years have been approximately £450 per student, (this includes airport transfers, flights, accommodation and the study course costs, but does not include subsistence).
You may also have the opportunity to apply for an optional transatlantic placement programme with a department of Forensic Science in an American university, which offers the opportunity for you to spend your placement year doing a research project in the USA.Places are available each year to those who express an interest and are successful in the application process. If successful you would need to cover the entire costs, including travel and subsistence, of your 48 week placement, which may vary depending on the location and nature of the placement.
Optional short field trips eg. one day, are sometimes also arranged. Previous field trips have included the Wellcome Trust Forensic Exhibition and Bart's Pathology Museum in London. The costs of these field trips must be covered by students and vary dependent on the trip. Previous trip costs have ranged from £10 to £100 per student but are dependent on location.
If at any point during the first three years of your degree you decide that you would like to switch to the Forensic and Analytical Science BSc(Hons) course, you'll be able to do so.
Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies. There may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this.
If you're an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC). You can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.
If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree course. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.
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.
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