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

This module 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.

This course will present you with the fundamentals of improvised explosive devices and assess how chemical analysis techniques are applied in forensic explosives investigations.

At a glance

Course structure

One course per year. 5 days course. This course is delivered through lectures, laboratory classes, and field exposure to IED scenarios.

What you will learn

On successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • evaluate the methods available for the detection and analysis of explosives,
  • distinguish between the types of improvised explosive device and assess the methods used to identify and investigate them,
  • interpret the infrared, proton nuclear magnetic resonance and electron ionisation mass spectra of important explosive compounds,
  • decide on a procedure for identifying an explosive compound.

Core content

  • survey of methods used for the detection and analysis of explosives,
  • types of improvised explosive devices and their investigation,
  • sampling of bulk and trace explosives for forensic analysis Infrared and Raman spectroscopy,
  • nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy,
  • mass spectrometry techniques including isotope ratio mass spectrometry,
  • chromatographic methods and detectors in explosives analysis,
  • thin layer chromatography,
  • gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry,
  • reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography,
  • ion chromatography and size exclusion chromatography capillary electrophoresis and other separation methods for explosives.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

This short 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.


Find out more about short course credit points.

Who should attend

Appropriate degree or experience.


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


Sponsored by company - £1,750

Individual (anyone paying for themselves to attend) - £875

Alumni/Current Student - £435

Accommodation options and prices

Please contact us for information regarding accommodation.

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.