This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit.

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

This course provides an understanding of the principles and practical applications of some of the main analytical techniques found in a Forensic laboratory. Read more Read less

Our objective is to develop an understanding of a wide range of techniques, including microscopy and X-ray and chemical techniques; to examine their practical application and the interpretation of their results; to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different techniques and their use in the identification and characterisation of materials.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration10 days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost


    Concessions available

Course structure

The first week covers theoretical background with time allotted for directed study in preparation for tutorials in the second week. In the second week there are practical classes in microscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence and chromatography.

What you will learn

The practical approach followed in this course equips you to plan your own materials based investigations and to evaluate the work of others. The capabilities and limitations of the different methods are discussed and while forensic examples are used to illustrate the techniques they can be equally well applied to other aspects of material science.

Core content

  • Laboratory accreditation and standard operating procedures
  • Specimen collection and sample preparation
  • Mass/volume of interaction
  • Materials identification by X-ray diffraction
  • Special techniques used in X-ray diffraction
  • X-ray fluorescence
  • Electron microscopy and micro-analysis
  • Optical microscopy
  • Spectroscopic methods: Infrared and Raman spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Chromatographic and other separation methods: GC, HPLC, CE
  • Hyphenated techniques
  • Isotope ratios and carbon dating
  • Introduction to DNA profiling
  • Radiography.

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.

Find out more about short course credit points.


Who should attend

  • A graduate who is new to the field of forensic analysis
  • A graduate employed in materials science, failure analysis or quality assurance
  • Requires 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 - £3,500

Individual (anyone paying for themselves to attend) - £1,750 

Alumni/Current Student - £875


There are limited places on these modules. You may not receive an offer until places have been confirmed, usually 1 to 2 weeks before the start date.

Accommodation options and prices

We are pleased to offer an exclusive accommodation package at our Mitchell Hall  hotel. Located on campus, all rooms are en-suite and available on a half-board basis from Sunday to Friday. The cost of this package is £495. If you would like to book this accommodation package* for this short course, please indicate this on the registration form. 

Alternatively, you may wish to make your own arrangement 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

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.