Dr Hilary Hamnett - Programme Leader
Hilary received her MChem and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford, followed by an MSc in Forensic Science from the University of Strathclyde. She has seven years of experience analysing and reporting forensic toxicology cases in England, Scotland, and New Zealand, and has written journal articles and book chapters related to drugs and toxicology, including drugs and driving, new psychoactive substances, and carbon monoxide poisoning. She is also a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.School Staff List Make an Enquiry
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, customs and excise, and investigatory agencies in the private sector.
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 in independent study.
We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. To help you choose the course that’s right for you, we aim to bring to your attention all the important information you may need. Our What You Need to Know page offers detailed information on key areas including contact hours, assessment, optional modules, and additional costs. For research programmes this includes research fees and research support fees.
In 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.
This 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.
This inter-disciplinary module introduces the biology, physics and chemistry behind some the most common and emerging sensors used in analytical science and their mode of action. The special challenges of bioanalytical methods provides a modern context for specific sensor development and case studies will be presented from forensic, pharmaceutical and healthcare contexts for development of sensors.
This 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.
This 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.
This 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 modules
This 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.
This 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.
† 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.
Assessment methods used on this course may include coursework, examinations, presentations, and practical sessions. Details of the methods used will be provided in a module handbook given to students at the beginning of the academic year.
The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics return in-course assessments to students promptly – usually within 15 working days of the submission date.
Postgraduate study is an investment in yourself and your future, and it's important to understand the costs involved and the funding options available before you start. A full breakdown of the fees associated with this programme can be found on our course fees pages.
There are more ways than ever before to fund your postgraduate study, whether you want to do a taught or research course. For those wishing to undertake a Master's course, you can apply for a loan as a contribution towards the course and living costs. Loans are also available to those who wish to undertake doctoral study. The University offers a number of scholarships and funded studentships for those interested in postgraduate study. Learn how Master's and PhD loans, scholarships, and studentships can help you fund your studies on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.
For each programme you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required. Some programmes 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 textbooks, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or online 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.
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:
At Lincoln, Covid-19 has encouraged us to review our practices and, as a result, to take the opportunity to find new ways to enhance the student experience. We have made changes to our teaching and learning approach and to our campus, to ensure that students and staff can enjoy a safe and positive learning experience. We will continue to follow Government guidance and work closely with the local Public Health experts as the situation progresses, and adapt our teaching and learning accordingly to keep our campus as safe as possible.
Students on this course will have the opportunity to complete a research project in an area related to forensic toxicology.
Research in the School of Chemistry includes four relevant themes, although collaboration and cross-disciplinary research between these occurs at all levels. These themes are forensic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biological chemistry, and environmental chemistry.
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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, customs and excise, and investigatory agencies in the private sector. Students may also choose to pursue advanced study at doctoral level.
Find out more about how postgraduate study can help further your career, develop your knowledge, or even prepare you to start your own business at one of our postgraduate events.Find out More