M.Sc. Forensic Science

Sheffield Hallam University

Tuition fee:
  • € 4,622 / Year (EEA)
  • € 10,789 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2014, September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
Languages:
  • English
Location:
Disciplines:
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time

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Description

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Forensic study is increasingly popular in universities and a forensic approach is often used in the workplace. This course gives you science skills and knowledge related to forensic investigation.

You gain an understanding of the legal issues in forensic study. A third of your study involves improving your knowledge of the legal system. Science is always studied in a legal context. And through your laboratory work you develop a sophisticated understanding of various analytical techniques.

You can choose which areas of forensic science you wish to develop with option modules that look at various areas of investigation and associated techniques.

One option module is called drugs of abuse, which looks at how to identify elicit drugs in various contexts. Another is fire arms and explosives, where you study ballistics and how explosion damage is used to gain an understanding of the type of explosive used.

You do a dissertation research project which develops your analytical skills under the supervision of an academic tutor.

Contents

Modules

* legal methodology
* criminal litigation
* law of evidence
* DNA in forensic science
* drugs of abuse
* fire arms and explosives
* scenes of crime techniques
* research project

Legal methodology

This module provides the necessary grounding to study law effectively. It teaches the core skills required with emphasis placed on research and legal reasoning. You examine the court system and legal professions and we introduce the Human Rights Act of 1998.

Criminal litigation

Criminal litigation is essentially the steps required to take a criminal case to trial. This module examines the initial stages of an investigation.

You examine

* police powers
* the processing of crime scenes
* the importance of continuity of evidence and establishing a chain of custody
* the general principles of criminal law required to ensure that charges are understood and correctly drafted
* the law on confessions and inferences from silence
* the law concerning taking samples from suspects
* the initial stages of a criminal prosecution with emphasis on how they are significant to expert witnesses.

Law of evidence

This follows on from the criminal litigation module and progresses the investigative process from the initial court hearings through to the completion of the trial.

It addresses subjects including

* rules and principles on expert testimony
* the burden of proof
* the significance of disclosure and pre trial hearings for expert witnesses
* the rules governing advocacy and trials
* salient rules of evidence, such as hearsay.

You also examine recent miscarriages of justice involving expert witnesses to identify how error arose and how to eliminate repetition.

DNA in forensic science

You study

* DNA structure and regions
* extraction methods
* restriction fragment length polymorphisms, short tandem repeats and single nucleotide polymorphisms
* polymerase chain reaction amplification
* sequencing methods
* frequencies and statistics
* cases and applications.

Drugs of abuse

You study

* legal classifications
* sources (natural and synthetic)
* physiological effects
* chemical structures
* physicochemical properties
* metabolism
* methods of analysis.

Fire, firearms and explosives

You study

* fire components, initiation, propagation and fire scene investigation
* types of firearms, ballistics, chemistry, investigation and analysis
* explosive components, energetics, initiation, effects, scene investigation and analytical methods

Scenes of crime techniques

You study

* personnel and duties
* recording
* sampling
* photography
* light sources
* marks and impressions
* fingerprints
* presumptive tests
* microscopy
* fibres
* paint
* documents
* reports
* statistics quality.

Research project

You undertake an eight week research project under the direction of a member of staff. The topics are matters of current interest or concern in the forensic community, and often involve outside organisations such as the police force or forensic laboratories. Before the project you have time to research the background and prepare a plan of work with your supervisor.

Past projects have included

* legal highs - drugs of abuse
* presumptive tests for blood
* gunshot residue analysis
* age of remains through tooth analysis
* DNA from fingerprints
* persistence of accelerants.

Requirements

* normally students must have an undergraduate degree in a relevant field. If you don´t have a degree you may be considered if you have at least five years professional experience.
* you need two appropriate references
* you need a high level of English language competence to successfully complete the course. If the language your first degree was taught in was not English, then typically IELTS 6.5 , TOEFL 620.
* places are limited but there is no discrimination against any group or individual on the grounds of ethnic origin, nationality, gender, disability, marital status, sexuality, political or religious belief
* international applicants, and applicants with disabilities are particularly welcomed onto the programme. For all applicants a good level of English is essential and it is important that international applicants have the level of English required to cope with the demands of the course. If you are concerned, you can attend the TESOL centre´s pre-session induction course. This may be recommended or required.
* we normally interview students before admissions are finalised. International students may be interviewed by telephone or e-mail.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6
CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IETLS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

75 (Grade B)
TOEFL paper-based test score : 620

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

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