Forensic Science (Toxicology) MSc 2016-17

About the course

This course provides postgraduate education in Forensic Science with a further specialisation in Forensic Toxicology. Forensic Science involves the use of scientific techniques and principles to address questions of interest to a court of law. This course provides you with an overview of forensic science in general, following the crime scene to court model. This includes a series of crime scene exercises in our crime scene facilities, covering strategies for crime scene examination and an exploration of techniques associated with crime scene examination.

Start date:
19 / 09 / 2016


1 year full-time

Entry requirements

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree in science or equivalent is required.


Admissions Assistant
Tel: 01484 473867

For informal enquiries please contact the Course Leader, Dr Graham Williams at

Places available:
(this number may be subject to change)

Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

Apply now Book on an Open Day or Study Fair Order a prospectus Ask a question

Course content

You will also receive a comprehensive overview of a variety of forensic science disciplines through the forensic biology and forensic chemistry module. You will also explore quality, which is an increasingly fundamental issue within forensic science industry; as well as the presentation of evidence and preparations for defending your evidence in a court of law. The course then moves onto more specialised modules focusing on Forensic Toxicology. The course will cover post-mortem forensic toxicology, human performance testing. You will receive hands on experience of Forensic Toxicology analysis and interpreting Forensic Toxicology results. This course is comprised of two thirds taught component and one third research project component.

The course is designed to train you in the scientific methodology relating to forensic toxicology and extend your interest and knowledge in all areas of the subject. The first term of the course consists of four general forensic science modules (covering fundamental and basic principles of forensic science). The second term focuses on the subject specific aspects of the course; namely, Forensic Toxicology. The research project will be on based upon forensic toxicology and requires 50 days of laboratory work and takes place during the summer term. The modules are:

Crime Scene Science Awareness

An overview of Search and Recovery of evidence at the crime scene, Handling Exhibits, Collection of Evidence, Crime Scene Management, Quality, Continuity, Storage of Evidence, Finger Marks, Finger Marks Development, Footwear Marks, Documents, Handwriting and Signatures, E-forensics, Photography and CCTV.

Forensic Biology Awareness

An overview of various forensic biology disciplines; including, DNA profiling, Body Fluids, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Fibres Evidence, Anthropology, Osteology, Odontology, Botany, Entomology and Pathology

Forensic Chemistry Awareness

An overview of various forensic chemistry disciplines; including Toxicology, Abuse of Harmful Substances, Drug testing, Explosives, Arson, Firearms Chemistry, Firearms, Glass, Paint.

Quality and Presentation of Evidence

Quality control and assurance, An introduction to case assessment and interpretation, Note taking (Crime Scene Reports and Forensic Examination Notes), Report Writing and Production of Expert Witness Statements, Giving oral Evidence and the Role of Forensic Sciences in the courts.

Forensic Toxicology

This module will cover the operational fundamentals of the forensic toxicology including data analysis and interpretation. This will specifically focus on the most common groups of drugs of abuse and concentrate on their pharmacology, toxicity and clinical effects. There is also directed self-study into the more specialised aspects of Forensic Toxicology, such as new psychoactive substance (designer cannabinoids and the ever changing drugs that are abused)

Forensic Casework Practice

This module will use simulated case data in the relevant subject speciality. The students will be expected to identify and critically evaluate the most up to date forensic literature in order to interpret, write-up and report the case in a mock court room exercise as an expert witness.

Forensic Research Skills

This module will cover various skills required of a good researcher, including statistics, literature searching, critical analysis of published works, and presentation skills. The statistics section will quickly review basic statistics (mean, standard deviations, probability theory, etc) before moving on to more applied statistical methods particularly analyses of variances, assessing significance, amongst others.


This module will give you research experience in methods of experimental design and either to develop new analytical methods or to solve a novel analytical problem. The research project is carried out over a 50 day period working in the laboratory. Part-time student may carry out their project at their place of employment. You will become familiar with the current analytical literature and gain skills in being able to select and review relevant papers on a particular topic. It will test your ability to handle and interpret analytical data. You will also further develop communication skills in report writing (50% of assessment), poster and oral presentations (10% of assessment each). Further feedback will be provided by regular meetings with your project supervisor on a day-to-day basis (30% of assessment).

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.


There may be the opportunity for some students to carry out their research project in an industrial setting. Placements are normally a minimum of eight weeks in the period between June and September.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the course can obtain forensic science positions in the UK with forensic science providers or with police services, which have their own in-house forensic provisions. There are also forensic opportunities overseas. In addition, the course provides transferable skills, meaning that the graduate is also employable in other sectors, particularly in those where a degree of quality control and assurance is required. This course can also act as a precursor to a research position or a higher degree such as a PhD.

Teaching and assessment

Considerable emphasis is placed on independent learning. You will be taught through regular tutorials, workshops and practical laboratory classes. Additional learning materials are provided on the University's VLE. There is an Academic Skills Tutor within the School of Applied Sciences who can help with report writing, revision and examination technique, numeracy skills, etc. Modules are assessed by assignments, problem solving exercises, laboratory skills and written examinations. The research project is assessed by written report and oral presentation.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks - unless the submission was made toward the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feed back on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the UK's only University where 100% of the permanent teaching staff are fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

How much will it cost me?

In 2016/17, the tuition fee for UK and EU postgraduate students at the University of Huddersfield will generally be £4,950 (see Fees and Finance for exceptions). Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, please see Fees and Finance.

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Other information

Hands-on experience using a wide range of analytical instrumentation in our well-equipped laboratories, through structured practicals.

Statistical analysis of data which is essential in the interpretation of all analytical data.

Research active staff with forensic case experience.

Science research at Huddersfield is thriving and expanding.

Excellent ratings in the 2014 RAE.

How to apply

We hope you are interested in what you have seen and want to apply to join us. If you are a student from the UK or from a country in the European Union (EU), you can find application information on the website. If you are an international student from outside the European Union (EU), you can find application information on the international website

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website

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