Perhaps your interest in the remarkably strange and sometimes thrilling world of forensic science piqued at a later stage in your academic career — and it’s only after your first undergraduate degree that you really considered taking the plunge. If that’s you (and we’re assuming it is, since you’ve bothered to check this out) we’ve put together a quick list of the most fascinating and most recently-added MSc degrees added to the prospectuses of Universities throughout the UK.
The bare necessities
A large proportion of these degrees are from highly-competitive institutions. Most of these courses will require a 2:1 at your undergraduate degree (as a minimum), require some research or supplementary evidence of your interest in the relevant subject for an extended duration. Going forward, this is an excellent place to start before you start your endless UCAS search for available degrees — as you’ll get a feel of the sheer variety of courses on offer and how to get there.
1. Crime and Forensic Science MSc, University College London
This MSc programme is designed to “train graduates to think strategically and critically about crime and forensic science” (pulled verbatim from their online prospectus).
Like several new initiatives at UCL, this course has a strong multi-disciplinary core: this is brochure-speak for tying several programmes and areas of knowledge together in a complementary and mutually beneficial way. It means you’ll take away how to apply research from across several fields: security and crime science, psychology, chemistry, computer science, biosciences, and archaeology; to name a few.
Take-away tip: This degree is purposefully open-ended to provide graduates with a breadth of career choices upon leaving; and also has a practical component led by the London Metropolitan Police.
2. Forensic Medical Sciences MSc, Queen Mary University
It’s an intriguing new offering by Queen Mary: a degree which integrates forensic science with medical sciences without necessarily focusing on a specific element (e.g. pathology). Core subjects include “Clinical Aspects of Forensic Medicine” to help a students transition from their previous life sciences undergraduate degree (required); and two forensic pathology modules.
It’s after the required subjects that the course paves the way for additional optional modules in legal and ethical issues relevant to forensic medicine, forensic toxicology and forensic identification. Add a laboratory-based research project (or a dissertation) to the mix, and you’ve produced quite an extensive and newfangled approach (which we actually quite like!) to forensic science allied with health.
Take-away tip: Whilst this course is undoubtedly creative in its assemblage of health-related subjects, you should be keenly aware of what career opportunities you might have upon graduation (it’s a question to be posed to the course organiser should you be interested).
3. Clinical Forensic Psychology MSc, King’s College London
Perhaps it’s a bit off-putting to read a key benefit of this course is evidently, “a unique focus on mentally disordered offenders.” Whilst this might sound slightly troubling, the course is quite an intriguing one; it prepares psychology postgraduates with the skills required to work within the justice system in another dimension. Part of it involves a 75-day clinical forensic placement (sounds long-ish, doesn’t it?), which we’d advise is strictly not for the faint-of-heart.
The majority of the taught portion of this course occurs at the prestigious King’s College Institute of Psychiatry and is very practical-based, from the sound of things. Modules include the somewhat terrifying “risk management, treatment and services” to the average “dissertation” which appears to be part-and-parcel of all science-based MSc courses (expect this to be a must — there is no escaping the endless word-counting for any postgraduate degree aspirant).
Take-way tip: It’s probably the only Masters programme in the UK which focuses distinctly on the demands and clinical aspects of forensic psychology.
Your Turn: Studying for an MSc at another University? Mention the good, the bad and the ugly here. We’d love to hear from you.