Why this course?

The MSc in Forensic Science is the UK’s longest established forensic science course. It'll allow you to qualify as a court-going forensic scientist, as well as preparing you for many alternative careers that require problem-solving and analysis.

You’ll graduate with relevant practical skills combined with analytical and investigative thinking.

You’ll study:

  • crime investigation and legal processes
  • criminalistics (eg shoe marks)
  • forensic chemistry (fires, explosives, glass, paint)
  • toxicology and drugs of abuse (cannabis, heroin cocaine etc)
  • forensic biology (body fluid analysis, blood pattern interpretation)
  • trace evidence and fibre examination
  • questioned documents
  • interpretation of evidence

You’ll become an effective analyst, develop strong written and verbal communication skills and develop knowledge of:

  • common separation techniques (thin layer, HPLC and gas chromatography)
  • modern spectroscopic methods (infra-red, ultraviolet-visible and fluorescence)
  • DNA profiling
  • crime scene investigation

Work placement

MSc students will undertake a three-month work placement in an operational forensic organisation. Previous Strathclyde students have been placed in the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and the Forensic Explosives Laboratory within the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), part of the Ministry of Defence.

The eight-month Postgraduate Diploma course is similar to the MSc but does not include the placement.


Teaching takes place in the Centre for Forensic Science. It’s a modern purpose-built laboratory for practical forensic training, designed and equipped for ultra-clean working for the avoidance of cross-contamination.

Teaching staff

Staff are experienced researchers in forensic science who are internationally recognised. The Centre for Forensic Science offers a unique learning experience, combining ‘case-based’ learning with research-led teaching.


The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences is a professional body with members in over 60 countries and is one of the oldest and largest forensic associations in the world.

Its aim is to set high educational standards through the review and accreditation of courses that contain forensic science.

MSc top-up programme

The Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry also offers an MSc top-up for those who graduated with the Forensic Science Society Diploma after 2010.

Entry requirements

  • first or upper second-class Honours degree
  • an overseas equivalent in a relevant science subject such as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, zoology or botany
  • students with relevant industry experience are also welcome to apply
  • ideal for those who are marginally underqualified for entry to MSc course
  • IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers
  • entry is competitive and students are selected on the basis of academic ability and previous experience
  • final selection decisions are made by the academic selector and successful applicants will be notified
  • in the course of forensic examinations, there is a potential for exposure to body fluids from hepatitis sufferers and prospective students should consider hepatitis immunisation (this takes from four to six months to be effective)

English language

IELTS 6.5 is required for all non-English speakers


Most forensic scientists in the UK are employed by the police, government bodies such as Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and private companies who provide forensic science services to the police.

Forensic scientists can specialise in specific areas such as fire investigation.

Qualified doctors and dentists can also undergo further training to specialise in their field to become forensic medical examiners and forensic odontologists.

Most of the work is laboratory-based but experienced forensic scientists may have to attend crime scenes and give evidence in court.

Program taught in:

See 3 more programs offered by University of Strathclyde: Faculty of Science »

This course is Campus based
Start Date
Aug 2019
3 semesters
4,500 GBP
Scotland/EU. Rest of UK 2015/16 - £5,500. International 2015/16 - £16,700.
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Forensic Science: Our Students