Forensic Toxicology

Key Information


1 year


2 years

Start Date

September 2024

Typical Offer

See More


Brayford Pool

Academic Year

Course Overview

Forensic toxicologists use modern analytical procedures to isolate, identify, and quantify drugs, endogenous compounds, and poisonous substances in biological samples. This programme is designed to provide extensive training in the theory and practice of forensic toxicology and is taught by research-active academics and practitioners with specialist expertise. The content of the course is aligned to guidance from the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists on best practice in professional training and development in the field.

Teaching aims to put the theory of forensic toxicology into the context of different case types, including criminal, workplace drug testing, sports doping, family law, and death investigation. Students have the opportunity to learn about the processes involved in providing high-quality forensic toxicology evidence, starting from the chain of custody through to the case strategy, preparation of biological samples and advanced instrumental analysis, to interpretation and presentation of evidence.

The specialist skills and technical knowledge that students can acquire may be transferable to roles in laboratory research, clinical drug monitoring, clinical chemistry, law enforcement, border security, and investigatory agencies in the private sector.

Why Choose Lincoln

Extensive training in the theory and practice of forensic toxicology

Taught by research-active academics and practitioners with specialist expertise

Aligned to guidance from the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists

Develop specialist skills and technical knowledge

Complete a research project in a specialist area

A focus on professional and personal development

A student undertaking work in a lab

How You Study

The composition and delivery of the programme is different for each module and may include lectures, seminars, workshops, independent study, laboratory practicals, research, and one-to-one learning. Following the taught element of the programme, students will be expected to complete a research project in an area related to forensic toxicology.

Postgraduate study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour spent in class, students are expected to spend at least two to three hours on independent study.


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Advanced Forensic Toxicology 2024-25FRS9063MLevel 72024-25In this module students have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the fate of toxins within the human body and the analysis of biological specimens that builds upon the knowledge gained from modules previously studied. Laboratory work will be based upon case work and the development of new methods providing a realistic experience of the role of the forensic toxicologist in legal cases. Use of external practitioners, laboratory visits and specialist equipment aim to further add to this experience and strengthen the opportunity for employment in this highly competitive field. Laboratory problems will be less directed and aim to further develop skills in teamwork and independent learning. Students are also expected to develop skills in interpretation of results and presentation in court, as expected for a professional forensic toxicologist within the present legal system. New method development will be backed up by consideration of research developments across all aspects of the field.CoreAnalytical Data Analysis 2024-25CHM9008MLevel 72024-25This module aims to develop students' knowledge of the value of statistical data in analytical science and how this data can be used to design experiments alongside extracting meaning from data acquired from analytical experiments. The module will also aim to provide knowledge of statistical software and how to best utilise it to achieve reliable and meaningful results and their presentation in a wide range of professional contexts.CoreChromatography and Mass Spectrometric Methods 2024-25CHM9011MLevel 72024-25This module is designed to develop specialist knowledge in the principles of separation science and hyphenated methods of analysis, principally mass spectrometry. The programme introduces instrumental fundamentals, design of experiments, sample preparation and derivatisation. Including case studies related to applications in specialist areas and recent advances. Specialist knowledge is reinforced by the ‘hands-on’ practical component and includes use of the research instrumentation for collecting and analysing data, troubleshooting, method development/enhancement. The practical sessions involve following written experimental protocols, working in a small group, and working to deadlines.CoreForensic Toxicology 2024-25FRS9079Level 72024-25This module is designed to introduce the main drugs and poisons, biological samples, case types, and laboratory techniques in forensic toxicology. This includes the pharmacology of controlled drugs, prescription, and over-the-medications. Students can also acquire knowledge of key forensic concepts such as chain of custody, quality control, and presentation of data. Practicals will focus on sample handling, case strategy, and decision-making in forensic toxicology casework.CoreMethod Development and Validation 2024-25FRS9058MLevel 72024-25This module comprises two main components: The first will provide fundamental knowledge concerning strategies for Sampling, Data analysis, Reporting, Quality assurance and Quality control, Numerical and IT skills, and Safety in relation to analytical science. The second will provide the general introductory principles and a theoretical understanding of a range of instrumental analytical techniques and their applications. The module aims to provide the background knowledge needed for an understanding of the various principles discussed in greater detail in other modulesCoreResearch Project 2024-25CHM9014MLevel 72024-25This module provides students with opportunity to apply chemical knowledge and laboratory skills to an extended practical research study. This is designed to further develop professional skills including the use of online literature and chemical data searching, the ability to critically review relevant published literature, and written and oral presentation of research activities.CoreProfessional and Personal Development 2024-25CHM9007MLevel 72024-25This module aims to develop systematic personal and professional development of a student in a specialist area of chemistry to enhance employability. This is achieved through development and execution of a personal learning plan designed using a process of self-reflection around five development themes: personal development; professional skills development; technical skills development; research interests; career development.Core

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

Assessment methods used on this course may include coursework, examinations, presentations, and practical sessions. Details of the methods used will be provided in a handbook given to students at the beginning of the academic year.

Having completed an undergraduate degree in Forensic Science, studying for an MSc in Forensic Toxicology at the University of Lincoln was the perfect progression towards my career goals. The course provided both hands-on experience and the knowledge required for a future in toxicology.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Application Support

Applying for a postgraduate programme at Lincoln is easy. Find out more about the application process and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page. Here, you'll also be able to find out more about the entry requirements we accept and how to contact us for dedicated support during the process.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

First or second class honours degree in chemistry or a closely related discipline (forensic chemistry, pharmaceutical science, pharmacy, forensic science, biochemistry) or substantive equivalent experience.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages:

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study:

Course Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below.

Course Fees

The University offers a range of merit-based, subject-specific, and country-focused scholarships for UK and international students. To help support students from outside of the UK, we offer a number of international scholarships which range from £1,000 up to the value of 50 per cent of tuition fees. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Funding Your Study

Postgraduate Funding Options

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate study, from Master's Loans to scholarship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Career Development

This programme aims to prepare students for a career in forensic toxicology. The specialist skills and technical knowledge that students have the opportunity to acquire may be transferable to roles in laboratory research, clinical drug monitoring, clinical chemistry, law enforcement, border security, and investigatory agencies in the private sector. Students may also choose to pursue advanced study at doctoral level.

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact the Programme Leader.

Dr Hilary Hamnett

Postgraduate Events

To get a real feel for what it is like to study at the University of Lincoln, we hold a number of dedicated postgraduate events and activities throughout the year for you to take part in.

Upcoming Postgraduate Events
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.