University of Strathclyde Forensic Science

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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What Are the Types of Forensic Science? - National University

The Centre for Forensic Science at Strathclyde has provided degrees in forensic science for longer than any other university in the UK.

You’ll be joining a global network of Strathclyde graduates; our forensic and analytical chemistry graduates are highly respected throughout the world.

This Integrated Masters degree provides you with a comprehensive education in both chemistry and forensic science. The degree qualifies you as an all-round analytical chemist, with thorough training in the applications of forensic science. Graduates of this course go on to careers in all areas of analytical chemistry including the forensic arena.

Key facts

  • UCAS Code: FF41
  • Accreditation: Royal Society of Chemistry, Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
  • Ranked: 1st in the UK for Forensic Science, Complete University Guide 2022
  • High Flyer Programme: qualified applicants can complete the course in 4 years
  • Work placement: 12-month paid placement – UK or abroad

Why this course?

This is the only course in the UK to have dual professional accreditation from the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. It’s delivered in partnership with the Strathclyde Centre for Forensic Science.

Transferable skills are taught in all years and include IT, scientific writing, presentation skills, report writing and problem-solving. You can study at a European University for one year of your degree, and you can choose to spend your placement year abroad.

Transfer is possible between the other MChem courses and also the following shorter BSc degrees within the first three years:

  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Forensic and Analytical Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Drug Discovery

What you’ll study

Year 1

You’ll take foundation classes in chemistry and mathematics, and either physics or biology. In addition, you are given the opportunity to take elective classes including forensic science, drug discovery, chemical engineering, and subjects from other areas of the University.

Practical chemistry laboratory sessions help you to master basic preparative and analytical skills. You’ll spend one afternoon in the laboratory and the rest of your time will be in lectures and tutorials.

Years 2 & 3

You’ll take classes in fundamental inorganic, organic, biological and physical chemistry, plus forensic trace analysis and analytical chemistry. You’ll have a choice of electives as in Year 1.

Laboratory work increases to four afternoons per week and your practical skills are enhanced with computer modelling and group exercises to develop presentational skills.

Year 4

MChem students may undertake a 12-month industrial placement, specialising in either forensic or analytical chemistry. Academic research and knowledge exchange placements are also available.

Year 5

In the final year, you’ll specialise in the areas and applications that interest you most including DNA analysis, toxicology, process analytical chemistry, and atomic/nuclear spectroscopy. In addition, in a specialist topic of your choice, you will undertake a research project leading to the submission of a dissertation.

Overseas study

You can complete a year of your degree studying at a European university. As well as getting an in-depth knowledge of practising chemistry in another country, you’ll have the opportunity to become fluent in another language.

Major projects

You’ll complete a research project in one of our specialist research laboratories in Yera 5. You’ll work with full-time researchers on real forensic and analytical chemistry challenges.


Our high quality, bright and modern laboratories include a range of specialist equipment. You will gain hands-on experience of the state-of-the-art equipment used in industry and research.

Postgraduate study

Many graduates from this course go on to complete a PhD in Chemistry at Strathclyde and elsewhere. This course equips you for life after graduation, be that employment or further study.

Student competitions

Strathclyde chemistry students also compete successfully for national awards. In recent years, our students have won:

  • Salters’ Graduate prize (£1,000)
  • Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award
  • Carnegie Scholarship
  • Most Meritorious Student award from the Forensic Science Society

The Dean of Science recognises exceptional performance each year through the Dean’s certificate for the best students in the faculty. Students can also win prizes including:

  • P&G Bursary (£1,000 a year plus a one-year paid industrial placement)
  • Chemistry International Alumni Ambassadors UG award for overseas travel (£1,000)
  • Group third-year Poster Competition sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline
  • The RSC Prize in Analytical Chemistry
  • Andersonian Centenary Medal Prize
  • Beilby and Huddleston Prize
  • ICI Chemical and Polymers Group Andersonian Centenary Prize
  • GlaxoSmithKline Prize
  • Syngenta Prize


Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Chemist.

Learning & teaching

Each year contains compulsory classes and some years contain either optional classes which relate to different areas of chemistry and/or elective classes from other subject areas in the University.

In Years 1 to 3, lectures deliver the essential knowledge and understanding required by all chemistry graduates. This is supported by small and large group tutorials. Chemistry is a practical subject so students will also gain training in all branches of mainstream practical chemistry.

Your fourth year is a 12-month industrial, research or knowledge exchange placement giving hands-on training. You’ll continue your studies through distance learning assignments.

In your final year, you’ll study advanced topics in forensic and analytical chemistry and complete an independent research project in your chosen field.

Guest lectures

The Andersonian Chemical Society (the longest-running student organisation in the UK) organises guest speakers and other events, including very popular social events.

Entry requirements

Required subjects are shown in brackets.

Students joining our MChem Forensic & Analytical Chemistry may transfer into the following BSc degrees from year 2 onward:

  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry with Drug Discovery
  • Forensic & Analytical Chemistry
HighersStandard entry requirements*:Year 1 entry: AABB/AAAC(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology/ Human Biology are required, English preferred as fourth subject)Advanced Higher Chemistry and Maths recommended for S6 study and to compensate for missed Higher grades in S5.Minimum entry requirements**:Year 1 entry: ABBB/AABC (Chemistry and Maths are required. Physics or Biology/Human Biology and English recommended as remaining subjects).Advanced Higher Chemistry and Maths recommended for S6 study and to compensate for missed Higher grades in S5. Applicants with grades slightly below the minimum requirements may be considered for admission subject to successful completion of the Strathclyde STEM Summer School.
Advanced HighersYear 2 entry: ABB(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)
A LevelsMinimum entry requirements:Year 1 entry: ABB(Chemistry, and one of Maths, Physics or Biology)Year 2 entry: ABB(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)
International BaccalaureateYear 2 entry: 34(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology all at HL)Year 1 entry: As year 2 entry but with IB HL including Chemistry and one of Maths, Physics or Biology.
HNC/HNDYear 1 entry: relevant HNC, A in Graded UnitYear 2 entry: relevant HND, AAA in Graded Units
International students
Deferred entryAccepted

*Standard entry requirements

Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.

Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.

In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.

Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland£1,820Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.
England, Wales & Northern Ireland£9,250Assuming no change in fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2021-22, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.
University preparation programme feesInternational students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Additional costslab coats and safety goggles (approximately £30)molecular modelling kits are recommended but are not a compulsory requirement (£20)class materials (such as lecture notes and exercise sheets) for PAC classes are freely available for downloadfor some classes students may wish to supplement their material by accessing textbooks which are in the range of £40-80, however all recommended reading texts are available in the library

University of Strathclyde Forensic Science

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strathclyde university forensic science entry requirements

Minimum second class honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant science subject such as:

  • chemistry
  • biology
  • biochemistry
  • pharmacy
  • zoology
  • botany

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc in Forensic Science is the UK’s longest established forensic science degree course, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016/2017.

You’ll join a global network of Strathclyde forensic science graduates in highly respected positions all over the world.

In addition to preparing you for life as a forensic scientist, you’ll also graduate with a wide range of practical skills, problem solving and investigative thinking relevant to a wide range of careers.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MScFull time12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

NamePostgraduate Admissions TeamEmail[email protected]

forensic and analytical science jobs

Forensic and analytical science opens career options in areas such as illicit drug testing, DNA analysis, trace evidence examination and toxicology.

Potential occupations include:

  • forensic chemist, forensic biologist or forensic
  • analytical chemist
  • forensic technical assistant
  • formulation chemist
  • graduate chemist.

Potential employer sectors include:

  • forensic agencies, analytical laboratories
  • government agencies
  • chemical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, environmental laboratoriess.

Potential employers include:

  • Forensic Science SA
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Defence Science and Technology Group
  • Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine

What you will study

First yearA typical first year may include:core topics in the evolution of biological diversity, the molecular basis of life, chemical structure and bonding, modern chemistry, introduction to forensic science, and the nature of sciencea topic in biostatistics or data sciencean elective topic.
Second yearA typical second year may include:core topics in molecular biology, spectroscopy and data analysis, separation science, and chemical criminalisticstopics in forensic and analytical chemistry, or forensic biologya selection of elective topics.
Third yearA typical third year may include:core topics in biological criminalistics; applied spectroscopy and electrochemistry; and drug action, metabolism, toxicology and analysistopics in forensic and analytical chemistry, or forensic biologya selection of elective topics.
Honours yearA typical honours year may include:a major forensic and analytical science research thesis, which develops core research skills enabling students to progress to a higher degree by research and increases the scope of their options in the job marketfurther development of professional forensic skills such as evaluation and presentation of expert evidence in court.

View study program

Practical experiences

The degree provides you with practical experience that prepares you for the workforce.

  • Get hands-on experience in our laboratories.
  • Undertake research in the field.
  • Carry out honours research with an industry partner such as Forensic Science SA, South Australian Police or the Defence Science Technology Group.

Get hands-on experience in our laboratories, and undertake research in the field. There are opportunities to carry out honours research with an industry partner such as Forensic Science SA, South Australian Police or the Defence Science Technology Group.

What you will need

Compulsory topics in laboratories include practical exercises that require manual dexterity.

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