MSc Forensic Science
This course is open for applications
Page last updated 7 December 2023
Use scientific problem-solving to benefit society. Designed with input from experienced professionals, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of the scientific methods used in criminal investigations, and the skills to develop a career in the justice system and beyond.
Why study MSc Forensic Science?
MSc Forensic Science is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. It was designed with input from professional forensic scientists to give you a deep understanding of the way science is used to investigate crime.
This conversion course means you do not have to currently hold an undergraduate degree in Forensic Science to apply for this.
It provides you with the required knowledge and skills to enter into a career in forensic science.
During this one year masters, you'll receive high level training in analytical science, incorporating elements of biology, chemistry and law. You'll gain an in-depth understanding of not only the scientific issues that affect the outcome of criminal trials, but also societal factors such as unconscious bias and juror expectation.
Forensic science is the application of a broad range of scientific analyses for the assistance of courts of law. If you have an analytical mind-set and enjoy problem-solving, this master's course will enable you to deepen your knowledge gained from a scientific or analytical background, to specialise in a field where you'll add real value to society.
You'll also undertake a substantial research project based on your interests and career goals.
Why UWE Bristol?
Designed with input from industry professionals and with a strong practical focus that mirrors real life, you'll learn the full range of skills needed to launch a career in this interesting field.
Your learning will follow the journey of evidence from a crime scene, through to analysis in the laboratory, and finishing with the evaluation and presentation of the evidence in the criminal courts.
You'll make full use of our range of simulation facilities, including a 'crime scene house', as well as laboratories,and mock courtrooms.
You'll benefit from specialist guest lectures and research seminars, and be able to take advantage of our broad range of extracurricular activities, such as forensic book club, forensic film club, CV and online portfolio development, and employability workshops and fairs.
Where can it take me?
Your scientific and legal knowledge, combined with the highly analytical nature of this course, means you'll develop skills that will appeal to a wide range of employers.
Careers can include forensic biologist, DNA analyst, forensic chemist (trace evidence), forensic toxicologist, crime scene investigator, geneticist, teacher or project management.
You will study:
- Crime Scene Investigation - The recording, collection and preservation of common and unusual evidence types from volume and serious crime scenes will be explored in theory and in practice at our crime scene facilities.
- Advanced Forensic Analysis - The forensic analysis of biological, chemical, trace and marks and impression evidence will be explored in theory and practically, using a broad range of specialist microscopic and analytical instrumentation.
- Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence - The role and regulation of forensic practitioners in the interpretation, evaluation and presentation of forensic evidence in criminal proceedings. The impact of societal factors upon justice.
- Forensic Research Project - An enquiry-based research project in a negotiated area of forensic practice. Developing and demonstrating advanced skills in forensic scientific research and professionalism.
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
In keeping with the practical nature of Forensic Science and our focus on real world learning, the course delivery balances academic theory with countless opportunities to get hands-on experience using our outstanding facilities. Approximately 50% of the course delivery will take place in the simulation crime scene facilities (house, garden and garages), the laboratory, and the court room.
All topics are taught both theoretically and in practice. The course has been designed to be taught in two days per week for a whole academic year.
See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.
This is a full time master's course, taught over one full academic year. You'll receive an average of at least 12 hours of teaching per week over two days.
During the research project module you'll mostly be studying independently, with support from your academic supervisor. You'll also need to undertake independent reading and research throughout the duration of the course.
This course is assessed on four sequential modules, and there are no examinations. Each module will be assessed on criteria from the module itself in slightly different ways:
Crime scene science module assessment will focus on your investigation of a simulated crime scene.
Advanced Forensic Analysis is assessed by a practical examination of forensic evidence.
Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence is assessed by the presentation of evidence in the mock courtroom.
Forensic Research Project is assessed by the production of a substantial research paper.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences in all the relevant component standards: crime scene investigation, laboratory analysis and interpretation, evaluation and presentation of evidence.
Forensic Science at UWE Bristol is based across two campuses; our main campus Frenchay and also Glenside, our dedicated healthcare campus. Both are welcoming communities that combine beautiful surroundings with first-rate facilities and equipment.
On this MSc Forensic Science course, academic theory is balanced with countless opportunities to get hands-on experience using our outstanding facilities.
Benefit from specialist forensic equipment in our advanced science laboratories. Conduct crime scene investigations in our simulation suite, adapted Crime Scene House and outdoor crime scene area. You'll search a scene, examine the evidence, write a report for court and face questioning in our mock courtroom.
You'll get hands on in our purpose-built simulation suite on Frenchay Campus. This facility comprises of four interactive learning rooms, with video and audio links to breakout rooms, and a mock flat and post office for crime scene simulations. Develop the practical skills needed for your forensic science career, such as documenting and processing a crime scene, interpretation of blood patterns and presenting evidence in court.
You'll then move on to analysing the evidence you've collected in our advanced science laboratories, gaining practical experience on industry-grade equipment.
Finally, you'll present evidence in our mock courtrooms, part of Bristol Law School on Frenchay Campus.
In addition to these specialist facilities you'll have access to our 24/7 library facilities, equipped with a wide range of study resources and different kinds of study spaces, as well as high quality teaching rooms and study spaces.
Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Forensic Science facilities and see what's on offer here for you.
Careers / Further study
The scientific and legal knowledge you'll gain, along with the highly analytical nature of this course, means you'll graduate with skills that are in demand by a wide range of employers.
Forensic science graduates go into varied types of laboratory work, and a significant number become science teachers. Careers within forensic science could include forensic biologist, DNA analyst, forensic chemist (trace evidence), forensic toxicologist, crime scene investigator, and many more. UWE Bristol forensic science graduates have gone on to roles with some of the country's largest forensic science providers, including Eurofins Forensics, Cellmark Forensic Services, and Key Forensic Services, as well as in a range of roles with the police.
The scientific problem-solving, numerical and analytical focus, as well as the communication and collaboration skills you will gain will also put you in a strong position for careers in other sectors. For example genetics, teaching, project management, financial services and law.
Our award-winning careers service can help you to develop your career through coaching, placements and global opportunities, graduate jobs and more.
We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.
Applicants normally have one of the following:
- An honours degree awarded by a UK institute of higher education (at least 2:2), in a relevant applied or social science subject.
- Relevant subjects include but are not exclusive to Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees in Biological Science, Chemical Science, Biomedical Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Physical Geography, Engineering, Mathematics, Psychology etc.
- If your first degree is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or majors in Social Science you will be asked to provide a brief description of your experience of quantitative analysis. This could be from previous study or from employment.
- We will also look at other subjects which include a component of quantitative research.
As this is a conversion course, we do not accept applicants who have a BSc(Hons) or MSci in Forensic Science.
If you do not meet the above grade requirements but have at least 12 months relevant professional experience and/ or equivalent qualifications, we will consider you on an individual basis.
Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. We recommend applying as early as possible if you are interested in this course. Once we have reached the capacity for this course, we may close early for applications.