A highly flexible MSc for graduates who wish to explore an area of their work or other interests at depth.

This course is designed for graduates with good first degrees who wish to explore an area of their work or other interests at depth. They will have the opportunity to utilise the specialist facilities within the Cranfield Forensic Institute (CFI) and Cranfield University as a whole to carry out a significant research project of their own under the supervision of one or more Cranfield specialists.

The MSc is highly flexible and much of the work can be done from home. Admission to the MSc by Research gives the student access to all the modules run by CFI, the laboratories, equipment and other facilities. 

Potential students are encouraged to consult the staff pages and modules to identify a potential supervisor and topic and approach them directly. They are also strongly advised to visit the site and talk personally with relevant academic staff. Alternatively, email cdsadmissionsoffice@cranfield.ac.uk and state you interests and you will be put in touch with an appropriate person.

On arrival, the student and supervisors plan out the modules the student will take to conduct their project and the equipment needed. See 'Individual project' below for more detail. In consultation with their supervisor, students are usually encouraged to take modules from the Forensic Modular Master's Programme (FMMP). The degrees and courses of the FMMP are accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

The course consists of a short introductory programme of a week, in which the student is introduced to Cranfield and the site – the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom at Shrivenham. The student will meet their supervisor(s) and a research plan will be formulated. This plan will include a detailed look at the modules offered by the Forensic Modular Master's Programme to identify which the student will attend and whether they should take the assessment for that module. Analytical techniques and a timeframe for the research are also identified. The student is then free to carry out their research in contact with their supervisor and other academics in CFI. The culmination of the project is the writing of a thesis which is examined in a similar way to a PhD thesis, by viva with an external academic.

Start date, duration and location

  • Start date: Full-time and Part -time: October, February or June
  • Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part time
  • Teaching location: Shrivenham

Entry requirements

Normally a 1st or 2nd class Honours degree or equivalent in archaeology, forensics or scientific discipline, or the professional equivalent. Students with other degrees who can show a knowledge of and interest in the scientific elements of the subject will also be considered.

English language

Students whose first language is not English must attain an IELTS score of 7.