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MSc Forensic Science

1 year 2 years School of Chemistry Lincoln Campus [L] Validated

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Introduction

This scientifically rigorous Master’s programme is designed to provide extensive training in the latest techniques being employed in forensic science laboratories around the world.

At Lincoln, you will be taught by experienced academics and practitioners with specialist expertise in analytical and organic chemistry, pharmacy, entomology, anthropology and molecular biology. You will be encouraged to engage in the interdisciplinary research culture at the University of Lincoln and to work alongside academics who are striving to advance forensic science techniques.

Teaching incorporates forensic principles, operating within the context of legal considerations, the role of the expert witness and presentation of evidence. You will have the opportunity to learn about the processes involved in providing impartial evidence in criminal investigations, from crime scenes to laboratory and, finally, to the courtroom.

Research Areas, Projects & Topics

Research in the School is organised around six main themes, although collaboration and cross-disciplinary research between these groups occurs at all levels:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Materials
  • Organic Synthesis.

How You Study

Contact Hours and Independent Study

Students on this course should expect to typically receive 350 hours of contact time over the duration of the programme. The amount of contact time will vary depending on the various module option choices chosen.

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

The composition and delivery for the course breaks down differently for each module and may include lectures, seminars, workshops, independent study, laboratory practicals, research and one-to-one learning.

How You Are Assessed

The grading system for modules and award will follow the standard regulations for postgraduate taught degrees. The pass mark for modules is 50% or above and the distinction mark is 70% or above.

The module mark will be awarded based on different assessment methods: coursework, examinations, presentations, practical sessions or work contributions to the module. Details will be provided a module handbook given to students at the beginning of the academic year.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Entry Requirements

A minimum 2:1 honours degree in a science subject.

International Students will require English Language at IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element, or equivalent. http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/englishrequirements

Key Contacts

Academic:
Dr Jose Gonzalez-Rodriguez
chemistry@lincoln.ac.uk

Enquiries:
pgenquiries@lincoln.ac.uk

Master's Level

Advanced Forensic Biology (Option)

The module addresses a number of specialist areas in forensic science relating to biological evidence and the analysis of biological molecules: DNA Profiling and DNA Evidence in Court, Forensic Applications of Non-human DNA typing, Authentication of Foodstuffs, Blood Pattern Analysis, Wound Ballistics, Bio-terrorism.

Advanced Forensic Toxicology (Option)

This module aims 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 which aim to provide a realistic experience of the role of the forensic toxicologist in legal cases.

Use of external practitioners, laboratory visits and specialist equipment is designed to further add to this experience and strengthen the opportunity for employment in this highly competitive field. Laboratory problems will be less directed and so aim to further develop skills in team work and independent learning.

Skills in interpretation of results and presentation in court can be developed 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 as expected for this level of study. Ethical issues around this forensic discipline will also be discussed in context.

Fire and Explosions (Option)

Students will acquire knowledge in the physics and chemistry of fire and explosions which is needed in order to understand and interpret scene indicators. The module will be centred around the analysis and interpretation of scene items submitted to the forensic laboratory. This will be in the context of case studies and analytical challenges faced by the forensic chemist of which avoidance of cross contamination will be a key aspect in investigation design and reporting of results and considering all ethical implications of these. Laboratory skills will be further developed from modules covered earlier in the course and greater emphasis will be placed on students working on problems and so developing their team work and independent learning skills. The professional and research literature will be a major information source that will inform module content and provide the context of the role of forensic scientists in fire and explosion investigation within the framework of the present legal system.

Forensic Anthropology (Option)

Forensic Anthropology is increasingly in demand on an international level with specialists travelling around the globe to participate in Forensic Anthropological investigations. This module is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology and to equip them with the knowledge and professional skills to participate in these investigations and to defend their findings in a court of law as an expert witness. Throughout this module students will have the chance to be taught the methodologies and procedures of forensic archaeological recovery, analysis and identification of human remains and to consider the ethical implications of the work to be undertaken.

Forensic Entomology (Option)

This module is designed to evaluate the procedures used to interpret entomological information of value to the court for the interpretation of evidence. It is designed to teach students to critically appraise the entomological evidence gathered.

The main features of importance are the life cycles of selected fly and beetle species, the chance to develop of an understanding of the morphological characteristics of the life-cycle stages and judgement of the influence of environmental conditions on insect growth and development.

Students will have the opportunity to, through undertaking a case study, develop skills in taxonomy, the use of professional insect keys and of using instruments for environmental analysis. They will have the chance to learn to interpret and expound the value of the arthropod communities associated with particular habitats.

Method Development and Validation (Option)

The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the principles and values (e.g. scientific, ethical and economic) of method development and validation. The module will draw on the student’s prior knowledge of experimental procedures from previous modules of study. The module aims to equip the student to be able to formulate experimental plans for method development and validation, including the selection of statistical tools to evaluate data generated. The module also aims to build the student’s knowledge of quality assurance processes, international norms and accreditation that will make evidence suitable for presentation in a Court of Law. The student will be able to apply their knowledge and understanding from this module to the Masters research project module.

Project Preparation

The aim of this module is to develop the student’s research, project planning and independent learning skills to enable them to undertake and successfully complete a major research project, therefore providing an opportunity for originality in developing and/or applying ideas within a research context.

It aims to equip students to prepare effectively for undertaking an in-depth study of a particular area, which can develop and demonstrate their capacity for the critical appraisal of scientific literature, to construct research questions, aims and objectives, and to formulate an appropriate research framework for the area under investigation including critical appraisal of data collected.

It will also aim to help students to evaluate the potential major ethical issues derived of their research. Students will have the chance to use and apply their knowledge and skills developed in this module in the Masters research project module.

Research Project (Forensic Science)

This module aims to provide the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills gained during the programme, and develop expertise in a specialist area of interest. Students will have the chance to further develop, design and implement a research project taking into consideration all elements of health and safety and ethical issues.

Sensors in Forensic Science (Option)

Students will acquire knowledge in the physics and chemistry behind the most common sensors used in forensic science and how they work. The module will develop knowledge on how sensors are an important part of data acquisition and how these can be used on their own or form part of more complicated devices. Applications on how sensors can assist in the analysis and determination of drugs and explosive residues will also be taught in this module. Students will also learn how short and long range sensing can be used in forensic science to gather information for intelligence and court purposes and their analytical characteristics, which will greatly help to decide the most suitable for different specific applications. The module will also help students to understand the legal repercussions of their use and ethical implications.

Statistics in Forensic Science

The module is designed to develop knowledge of the value of statistical data in forensic science and how this data can be used to draw valid conclusions that can provide with the right interpretation of a set of data to fulfil the legal requirements needed in court.

Students will also have the chance to learn how to research literature for new sources of information on new statistical methodologies suitable for use in forensic cases, and the basic statistical tools used as a routine in forensic investigations and accepted by the present legal system.

Students will have the chance to criticise and evaluate the new statistical methods according to the legal requirements to make them robust enough for a court of law and the ethical implications of their use.

Synthetic Chemistry for Forensic Science (Option)

The module aims to cover the field of synthetic organic chemistry within the forensic science and the present legal framework. The module will provide the students the opportunity to understand the biosynthetic origin of drugs of abuse, organic reactions involved in the clandestine synthesis of these drugs & their analogues. The combined application of advanced analytical techniques such as NMR, IR and MS for the analysis of the drugs and their side products for the identification of the origin and clandestine synthetic method will explored.

Facilities

The course will use specialist instrumentation in anthropology, molecular biology, toxicology, forensic and analytical chemistry, organic chemistry and the teaching facilities in the Science Building and the Joseph Banks Laboratories.

Career and Personal Development

This programme aims to prepare students for a career in forensic science. The specialist skills and technical knowledge that students have the opportunity to acquire may be transferable to roles in laboratory research, law enforcement, customs and excise and investigatory agencies in the private sector. This programme can be excellent preparation for advanced study at doctoral level.

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here http://bit.ly/1lAS1Iz.

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional, you will normally be required to pay your own transport, accommodation and general living costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

Tuition Fees

  2017/18 Entry*
Home/EU £7,300
Home/EU
(including Alumni Scholarship 30% reduction)
£5,110
Home/EU 
(including Non-Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction)
£5,840
International £13,800
International
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)
£11,800
   
 Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
 Part-time International £77 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility

Loans

A new system of postgraduate loans for Master's courses will be introduced in the UK, beginning from the 2016-17 academic year. Find out if you are eligible.

Scholarships

As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studyatlincoln/postgraduateprogrammes/feesandfunding/].

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.