Students from the UK/EU are eligible for a departmental bursary of £2,000 for MSc, £1200 for PgDip and £600 for PgCert


This course is designed to give a broad introduction to the application of engineering and physical sciences to forensic problems. Particular emphasis is given to understanding metallic component failures and the principles of failure analysis. The course offers students a wide range of different experiences with unique facilities available to no other university in the UK and is part of the MSc Forensic Programme which has been formally accredited by The Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds, usually with a science, engineering or forensic science first degree. Many students come from abroad, especially in Europe, Africa and North America. The course is highly practical and hands-on, aiming to produce forensic experts capable of giving an expert opinion in a courtroom situation and elsewhere. The course consists of a one-week period of introductory studies followed by academic instruction in modular form. Most modules are of five days’ duration, interspersed with weeks devoted to private study. Students are required to take four core modules, four role specific modules and choose three elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements or interests. This is followed by a four-month research project and either a thesis or literature review and paper.

Course structure

Students are required to take eight core modules and choose three elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements, or interests. This is followed by a fourmonth research project and thesis.

Example modules


  • Analytical Techniques,
  • Approach to Failure Investigation and Analysis,
  • Courtroom Skills,
  • Failure Mechanisms of Materials,
  • Fires, Explosions and their Investigation,
  • Investigation and Evidence Collection,
  • Reasoning for Forensic Science,
  • Materials Engineering and Processing,
  • Research Project.


  • Introductory Studies,
  • Aircraft Accident Investigation and Response,
  • Digital Crime and Investigation,
  • Fakes and Forgeries,
  • Firearms Investigations,
  • Forensic Archaeology: Recovering Buried Remains,
  • Forensic Ballistic Investigations,
  • Forensic Exploitation and Intelligence,
  • Forensic Investigation of Explosives and Explosive Devices,
  • Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology: Osteology,
  • Hazardous Forensics,
  • Introduction to Firearms Investigations and Forensic Ballistics,
  • Mass Fatality Incidents,
  • Radiographic Investigations in Forensic Science,
  • Trace Evidence,
  • Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Capability,
  • Environmental Forensic Science,
  • Research Project.

Individual project

The individual project takes four months from April to July. The student selects from a range of titles or may propose their own topic. Most are practically or experimentally based using Cranfield’s unique facilities.

Future career

Opens career opportunities in forensic engineering and science with, for example, forensic laboratories, government bodies, police departments and independent consultants working for insurance companies.

Entry requirements

A first of second class Honours degree or equivalent in engineering, forensic science or scientific discipline, or the professional equivalent. Students with other degrees who can show a knowledge of and interest in the scientific elements of the subject will also be considered.

Important information

Decisions are currently being made regarding whether this course (and/or some of its modules) will be taught at Shrivenham or Cranfield in the 2019-2020 academic year and beyond. The information on this page was correct at the date shown below, but any changes will be sent to those who have already enquired or applied as soon as further details are available.

Program taught in:

See 98 more programs offered by Cranfield University »

Last updated March 25, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Oct 2019
11 - 36 months
20,500 GBP
Overseas - Home/EU: £12,000
By locations
By date
Start Date
Oct 2019
End Date
Application deadline
Start Date
Oct 2019
End Date
Application deadline

Oct 2019

Application deadline
End Date
Application deadline
End Date