Elements of this course will be undertaken at Cranfield University at Shrivenham located on the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. Security clearance will be required. Please refer to our entry requirements section for more details, or see further about security clearance for Cranfield at Shrivenham.

This course can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or a Standalone Short Course.

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

The aim of this course is to provide you with an understanding of the principles of internal, intermediate, external, terminal and wound ballistics and how they are used in forensic investigations.

This short course, which will be taught at MSc standard, is one of the modules that comprise the postgraduate Forensic Modular Masters Programme.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£1,925 Concessions available

Course structure

The course is run once each year. Each course lasts for 5 days. Lectures, Practical firearms and ammunition examinations, Live firing exercises, Group working and individual assessment.

What you will learn

On successful completion of the course you will be able to: 

  • Explain the science underpinning internal and intermediate ballistics and the concepts involved in projectile external ballistics,
  • Describe those factors that affect the relationship between projectile and target,
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the factors affecting wound ballistics,
  • Critically assess those factors affecting the performance and ballistics of fragmenting munitions and shotguns,
  • Recognise and appraise the most common types of weapon failures.

Core content

  • Internal ballistics,
  • Intermediate ballistics,
  • External ballistics,
  • Terminal ballistics,
  • Wound ballistics,
  • Fragmenting munitions,
  • Weapon failures.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

This course will be taught at Masters standard as it is one of the modules that comprise the postgraduate Forensic Modular Masters Programme. Registering for this Short Course for Credit and successfully passing the associated assessment will gain you 10 Cranfield credits. These could then be used to apply for a transfer towards a PgCert/PgDip or MSc in the Forensic Programme should you wish to complete one of these courses within 5 years.

Who should attend

This course will be of interest to graduates and more experienced workers that already have an understanding of firearms and ammunition function who are looking to advance their knowledge in forensic firearms investigations.

You must have completed the Firearms Investigations course in order to take this as a Short Course for Credit or an appropriate degree or relevant work experience with prior knowledge of firearms and ammunition function, and a fundamental understanding of firearms investigations.


The course is a module of the Forensic Modular Masters Programme, which is accredited by  The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.



Concessions are available for Cranfield alumni and multiple bookings from the same organisation, please contact us to discuss.

Accommodation options and prices

This course is non-residential. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information about our on campus accommodation can be found here.  Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Situated close to Milton Keynes and Bedford, the Cranfield campus is situated in Wharley End, very close to Cranfield village, and is about 10 minutes from the M1 motorway.  There is rail and road access to most major airports as well as coach and train stations. Cranfield campus also has its own airport for private executive business travel.

Download a visitor guide including map, directions and health and safety information.

Campus address

College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.