Enhance your scientific and analytical skills with our four-year Integrated Master’s course in Forensic Science at Kent. As well as developing a range of knowledge and skills including the science behind crime-scene scenarios and insight into legal processes and training in the delivery of expert witness testimony, the MSci course provides you with an exciting opportunity to complete your own research project in an area that fascinates you.
We create simulated crime scenes and conduct major incident exercises where you react in real time to an unfolding event. You can even prepare a case for court and present it at a simulated trial in a realistic court environment. You’ll see how forensic skills can also be applied within archaeology and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
This course is fully accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
Reasons to study Forensic Science at Kent
Forensic Science at Kent was ranked 3rd overall in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2023.Apply your knowledge and practical skills in our fantastic forensic investigation facilities, which include a crime scene house and vehicles along with industry standard laboratories.Spend a year on professional placement gaining valuable experience before you graduate. It’s also possible to spend a year studying abroad.Our unique courses teach you the science behind crime scenes, as well as criminal law and specialist modules such as ballistics, DNA analysis and digital forensics.Flexible Foundation Year options available.
What you'll learn
You start by getting to grips with the broad base of knowledge on which forensic science is built, including core chemistry, biochemistry, drug chemistry, and ballistics. You also develop solid investigative and laboratory skills.
Next you build on this knowledge to cover analytical chemistry, forensic archaeology, digital forensics, fires and explosions, and firearms. You also are trained in forensic expert witness skills.
Our crime scene house helps you to develop your approaches to evidence recording and preservation, and to appreciate the importance of persistence. Extensive use of these practical sessions helps to prepare you for the diverse nature of crime scenes you may encounter in your future career and to develop many transferable skills for the future.
In your final year you develop your skills and knowledge further by undertaking a Master's level research project under the guidance of a supervisor, exploring how to develop an idea into a fully worked-up research proposal.
See the modules you'll study
If you do not have the grades or previous science qualifications for direct entry to the Forensic Science BSc, you can take Forensic Science with a Foundation Year. It is also possible to take a programme with a year abroad or with a professional placement.
Teaching involves a combination of laboratory classes, project work and problem-solving seminars.
Assessment is by a combination of written examinations, continuous assessment and other assignments. You must pass the Stage 1 examinations in order to go on to Stage 2. Coursework assessments include incident analysis, evidence preservation, presentation skills and expert witness testimony.
Please note that there are degree thresholds at stages 2 and 3 that you will be required to pass in order to continue onto the next stages.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- Core and foundation scientific physical, biological, and chemical concepts, terminology, theory, units, conventions, and laboratory methods in relation to forensic science.
- Advanced theory, concepts and practice in the forensic field.
- Areas of chemistry as applied to forensic analysis, and areas of bioscience, including cells, biochemistry, human DNA.
- Numeracy, forensic investigation and interpretation, and apply them to forensic examination and analysis.
- Incident investigation, evidence recovery, preservation, and presentation as an expert witness within the judicial environment.
- Command, management and logistics of major incidents such as air or rail accidents; emergency and disaster planning.
You gain intellectual skills in how to:
- Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject to find the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems.
- Recognise and analyse novel problems and plan strategies for their solution by the evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information and data by a variety of computational methods.
- Recognise and solve forensic-related problems at an advanced level.
- Recognise and implement good measurement science and practice and commonly used forensic laboratory techniques.
- Select the most appropriate techniques for a given analysis and to use a wide range of advanced apparatus.
- Write essays and present scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences including in legal contexts.
- Communicate complex scientific argument to a lay audience.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- Safe handling of chemical materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties, including any specific hazards associated with their use, and risk assessment of such hazards.
- Conduct of standard laboratory procedures involved in analytical work and the operation of standard forensic instrumentation.
- Competence in the planning, design and execution of investigations, from the problem-recognition stage through to the evaluation and appraisal of results and findings.
- Research project planning and implementation.
- Safe handling of firearms, ammunition and propellants; analysis of forensic evidence related to firearms, firearm discharge and ballistic theory; collision analysis: mathematical interpretation, field application and reconstruction.
- Ability to interpret data derived from laboratory observations and measurements, and to present such data to an examining body in the role of expert witness.
- Evidence recovery, preservation, analysis and presentation to professional standards.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication.
- Self-management and organisational skills, with the capacity to support life-long learning.
- Problem-solving skills relating to qualitative and quantitative information.
- Information-retrieval skills in relation to primary and secondary information sources.
- IT skills.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Time-management and organisational skills.
- Skills in effective research costing and planning.
- Study skills needed for continuing professional development and preparation for employment as a practising forensic scientist.
- Skills relevant to a career in forensic science (practice or judiciary) and forensic research.
- Ability to plan and implement large-scale independent projects at MSci level.
The programme aims to:
- Instil enthusiasm for forensic science and an appreciation of its application in different contexts
- Provide a broad and balanced foundation of the science and law that underpins forensic practice and methodology in a modern society
- Extend this knowledge and practical ability to an advanced level in selected specialist area and subjects
- Develop the ability to apply knowledge and skills to the solution of forensic problems
- Teach you the use and understanding of a variety of scientific and quantitative techniques applied to forensic science problems
- Provide a knowledge and skills base from which you can proceed to further studies in the forensic and scientific area or in aspects of chemistry, physics or bioscience that are relevant to forensic and related practices
- Provide a stimulating, research-active environment for teaching and learning
- Provide an understanding of scientific methodology and the ability to undertake and report on an experimental investigation, based in part on an extended research project
- Prepare you for a professional role in forensic science within the criminal or civil judicial system, with the skill necessary to present evidence
- Generate an appreciation of the importance of forensic science and chemistry, and its practice, in a judicial, industrial, economic, environmental and social context, and of the importance of chemistry in an industrial, economic, forensic, and social context.