This MSc is highly practical and hands-on. It is designed to give an understanding of the cutting-edge research and latest forensic methodologies and is intended to enable graduates to resolve issues in relation to civil and criminal law.

Important information

Decisions are currently being made regarding whether this course (and/or some of its modules) will be taught at Shrivenham or Cranfield in the 2019-2020 academic year and beyond.  The information on this page is up-to-date, but any changes will be sent to those who have already enquired or applied as soon as further details are available.


Overview

  • Start dateOctober
  • DurationMSc: 11 months full-time, up to three years part-time. PgDip/PgCert: Up to 11 months full-time, up to two years part-time
  • DeliveryBy written and practical examinations, continuous assessment, project presentation and viva voce.
  • QualificationMSc, MSc by Research, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusShrivenham or Cranfield (to be confirmed)

Who is it for?

The course offers students a wide range of different experiences with unique facilities available to no other university in the UK.

Places on the MSc Forensic Investigation course are competitive. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds, usually with a science or forensic science first degree. Many students come from abroad, especially Europe, Africa and North America.

Why this course?

The MSc Forensic Investigation course is part of the Forensic MSc Programme which has been formally accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

The course is highly practical and hands-on, aiming to produce forensic experts capable of giving expert witness testimonies in a courtroom situation and elsewhere.

Students are able to choose from a wide range of subject areas, providing a highly flexible course where learners are able to tailor their MSc to their interests.

The course consists of a short period of introductory studies followed by academic instruction in modular form. Most modules are of five days duration, interspersed with weeks devoted to private study. Students are required to take four core modules and choose seven elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements or interests. This is followed by a four-month research project and either a thesis or literature review and paper.

Informed by Industry

The Forensic Investigation course has been devised by academics with operational experience in forensic science and police investigation. Its graduates are highly successful at progressing into forensically-based careers.

Accreditation

 The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences logo

The Forensic Modular Masters Programme at Cranfield Forensic Institute is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

Course details

Students are required to take four compulsory modules and then choose seven elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements or interest. This is followed by a four-month research project and thesis.

Individual project

The individual project takes four months from April to July. The student selects from a range of titles, or may propose their own topic. Most are practically or experimentally based using Cranfield’s unique facilities.

Assessment

By written and practical examinations, continuous assessment, project presentation and viva voce.

University Disclaimer

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory modules and (where applicable) some elective modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2017–2018. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2018 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Analytical Techniques

Module Leader
  • Professor David Lane
  • Dr Fiona Brock
Aim

    To provide an understanding of the principles and practical applications of the major analytical techniques used in materials based investigations.


Syllabus
    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
    DNA profiling.
    Hardness measurements (micro- and nano-hardness)
    Radiography
     
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

describe the fundamental principles of a wide range of analytical techniques,
explain the advantages and disadvantages of different analytical techniques and apply them to the identification and characterisation of materials,
practically apply analytical techniques and interpret their results with appropriate regard to experimental uncertainty,
critically assess experimental data and evaluate through comparison to other samples and reference materials,
present analytical results in a clear and concise written report.

Courtroom Skills

Module Leader
  • Professor Peter Zioupos
Aim

    The module will provide an understanding of the role and responsibilities of expert witnesses in domestic and international criminal and civil cases and how they can present their evidence to the court effectively. You will also apply knowledge gained in previous modules to strengthen arguments presented in expert witness reports.

Syllabus
    Role and legal responsibilities of the forensic expert
    Civil and criminal procedure rules
    Excellence in report and statement writing
    Presentation of evidence in court
    Preparation for examination-in-chief and cross-examination.
     
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

define the role and responsibilities of the expert witness,
construct an effective expert witness report,
develop the skills to present oral evidence in court effectively and respond successfully to cross-examination.

 

 

Investigation and Evidence Collection

Module Leader
  • Dr Hannah Moore
Aim
    The module provides an understanding of the core responsibilities of evidence recording and collection at the crime scene, both in general and specifically related to operational constraints of a UK investigative context. You will also understand the operation of forensic and police investigators within the context of a major investigation.
Syllabus
    Construction of the forensic strategy
    Evidence selection and collection
    Scene photography
    Digital photography
    Sample integrity and contamination issues
    Assessment of evidence
    Packaging and transportation
    Scene reporting
    Handling intelligence – assessment and communication
     

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

 analyse and evaluate various different strategies of major scene investigation to consider the various effects of different approaches,
 appraise the range of evidence collection and investigation techniques available to the crime scene investigator,
 describe and evaluate the relative merits of the range of systematic crime scene procedures vital to successful investigations,
 evaluate which of these procedures are appropriate to a particular crime scene and apply these procedures appropriately during a crime scene exercise,
 generate a crime scene report which objectively critiques the methodologies used and draws justified conclusions appropriate for the evidence,
 transfer theoretical and practical knowledge of evidence identification, recording and retrieval into the various roles of forensic specialists.

 

 


Reasoning for Forensic Science

Module Leader
  • Professor Peter Zioupos
Aim

    To provide an understanding and experience of the disciplines underpinning critical evaluation of quantitative information applied within the Forensic Sciences.

Syllabus
    • Experimental design
    • Interpretation and assessment
    • Effective framing & rebutting of arguments
    • Problem solving
    • Evidential types
    • Use of relevant statistics for design & interpretation
    • Courtroom statistics

    The syllabus will follow the general course of a generic investigative process from the appropriate framing of a question to the critical interpretation of data and information. The appropriate use of data in well-constructed arguments will be considered in order to distinguish between fact, opinion and speculation.  Intellectual rigour will be challenged, and the ability to identify weakness in argument will be developed. Data will be examined for reliability and reproducibility with a focus on the distinct features of forensically related data.  Appropriate use of descriptive and hypothesis testing statistics will be practiced and the ‘prosecutor’s fallacy’ explored. Bayes’ Theorem will be considered and rehearsed through case studies.  


Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

 Recognise the fundamental features of effective experimental design
 Explain how confidence may be secured through effective reliability and reproducibility assessments
 Frame and defend an effective argument concerning quantitative information
 Apply appropriate statistics to forensic evidence for analysis and interpretation
 Explain the statistical processes to the layman
 Apply Bayes’ Theorem to forensic evidence

 

 


Research Project

Module Leader
  • Professor Keith Rogers
Aim

    To undertake an independent and original investigation, normally experimentally or practically-based, relating to a specific area of the syllabus.

Syllabus
     Project planning
     Safety assessment
     Statistics
     Experimental design
     Library search techniques
     Web search techniques
     Technical writing
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

write a research project plan, with aims, objectives, risk assessment and time line (Gantt chart),
identify novel areas of research and devise optimal experimental solutions to forensic related problems,
investigate new and original forensic techniques investigation through the use of an experimental programme and illustrate how they may impact on criminal/civil investigation,
demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concept, principles and theories relating to a specific area of forensic science or forensic engineering,
combine information from different sources (journals, internet, interview, court proceedings etc.), whilst being aware of the possibility of bias.
Identify and explain key issues and critically assess their value,
evaluate the requirements of a specific test and design and construct appropriate experimental apparatus,
critically evaluate the results of experimental work; especially in the light of other published work in that area should it be available,
summarise their work in a 20,000 word thesis in a clear and concise fashion using appropriate presentation of data,
describe the background of the project, justify the experimental procedures and present results at an oral examination.

 

 

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Failure Mechanisms of Materials

Module Leader
  • Dr Jonathan Painter
Aim

    The module will introduce the different causes of failure, and investigate the mechanisms and subsequent characteristic features of the different failure modes. This will enable the student to be able to evaluate and deduce the cause(s) of failure from the examination of failed engineered components.


Syllabus
    Modes of loading and stress distributions
    Residual stress
    Failure modes – ductile/brittle fracture, fatigue, wear, corrosion, elevated temperature
    Fractography and the interpretation of fracture surfaces
    Crack tip stress fields and linear elastic fracture mechanics
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

 understand the stress distributions associated with different loading conditions,
 describe the mechanisms of the different failure modes and how the loading type, environment and material properties can affect these,
 identify and evaluate the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics associated with different material failure modes.

 

 

Fakes and Forgeries

Module Leader
  • Dr Dennis Braekmans
  • Professor Andrew Shortland
Aim

    The module will provide an understanding of the principles of forensic and scientific investigations into art objects.

Syllabus
     Introduction to the art world,
    collectors, auction houses and museums,
    object and material types: (stone, ceramic, glass, metal, pigment, organics),
    scientific versus art historical analysis,
    special considerations of sampling,
    quasi-non-destructive and non-destructive techniques,
    relative and absolute dating,
     provenancing.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• describe the basic functioning of the art market,
• demonstrate a critical awareness of the legal roles of various players and the part that science can play,
• critically assess the various scientific and non-scientific techniques,
• demonstrate an understanding of how sampling strategies are applied and which techniques are of most use,
be able to apply their knowledge to specific investigation of art objects to successfully come to a reasoned and balanced conclusion.

 

Firearms Investigations

Module Leader
  • Dr James Shackel
Aim

    The module will provide an understanding of the principles of firearms design, forensic investigations involving firearms and the classification of firearms against the 1968 Firearms Act (as amended).

Syllabus
    Weapon design and performance
    Serial number restoration 
    Improvised and converted weapons
    Preservation and recording of evidence
    1968 Firearms Act (as amended)
    Gun-shot residue Investigations
    Application of bullet and case matching in forensic investigations
     
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:

 evaluate the component parts of small arms,
 critically assess the techniques employed during gunshot residue and firearms identification casework,
 appraise how the deactivation, reactivation and conversion of firearms is carried out,
 appraise the use the different sections of the 1968 Firearms Act (as amended) as applied to Forensic casework,
 critically assess how firearms investigations are carried out whilst ensuring all evidence is preserved.

 

 


Fires, Explosions and their Investigation

Module Leader
  • Stephen Johnson
Aim

    The course covers fire dynamics and the characteristics of explosives, their effects on buildings and people and the physical effects that would be looked for in their investigation.

Syllabus
    Fire initiation
    Fire spread
    Gas, vapour and dust explosions
    Fire spread in solids
    Effects of fire on the human
    Condensed phase explosives and pyrotechnics
    Explosive effects
    Forensic examination of fires and explosions using visiting speakers from the Fire Service and commercial investigators
    Vehicle fires
    Explosives range demonstration and fire demonstration (weather permitting)
    Laboratory practical
    Laboratory practical
     
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

understand the fundamental principles of fire science theory and fire modelling and demonstrate a critical awareness of the limitations of current theories and modelling processes,
identify the various physical and mechanical processes and mechanisms leading to the initiation of fires and explosives,
analyse the mechanisms involved in the spread of fire and the development of gas, vapour, and dust explosions,
demonstrate an understanding of the forensic techniques used in the examination of fire and explosions.
 

Forensic Archaeology: Mass Grave Excavation

Module Leader
  • Roland Wessling
Aim

    The module will introduce the principles of mass grave investigations; from finding and assessing sites, setting up and carrying out mass grave excavations to analysing and interpreting graves, victims and associated evidence.

Syllabus

    Day 1: Classroom based teaching

    Day 2: Site assessment and setup

    Day 3-6: Site excavation

    Day 7: Site closure and exercise debrief

    The seven days include:

    • basic principles and structure of mass grave investigations
    • methodology of mass grave excavations
    • operational and logistical challenges in mass grave investigations
    • recovery of surface evidence at mass grave/mass killing sites
    • recovery of human remains in a mass grave context
    • recovery of buried evidence associated with human remains
    • documentation of human remains and associated evidence
    • surveying of evidence and site features
    • crime scene photography processes
    • evidence registry processes

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• adapt their methodologies to a single or mass grave environment
• understand the role of the forensic archaeologist and anthropologist within a forensic and criminal investigation team in a mass fatality investigation framework
• recover surface and buried evidence as well as human remains as part of a wider forensic investigation
• interpret non-material, forensic archaeological evidence in mass grave structures, such as tool marks
• interpret the site history in order to reconstruct the series of events that lead to the existence of the grave and the positioning of the victims and evidence

Forensic Archaeology: Recovering Buried Remains

Module Leader
  • Roland Wessling
Aim

    To introduce the role of the forensic archaeologist within the context of major crime investigation, specifically in the UK. The module aims to describe and discuss all aspects of this role, including project design, wide area search techniques, grave location techniques, excavation, evidence recognition and handling, grave and scatter scene interpretation and the production of specialist reports for court.

Syllabus
    • the development of Forensic Archaeology in both UK and international contexts
    • perpetrator behaviour
    • search and location
    • grave digging practical
    • principles of geophysics
    • police search techniques
    • cadaver dog use
    • principles of surveying
    • stratigraphy and recording
    • scatter scenes
    • scavenger behaviour
    • assessing soils
    • running a forensic excavation
    • recording & planning
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• evaluate and critically assess the development of forensic archaeology and its current application on UK and international crime scenes
• identify the main techniques used in the location of buried objects and evaluate their usefulness in different terrains and against different target types
• recognise the importance of stratigraphy and be able to use simple archaeological recording techniques to accurately describe that stratigraphy and interpret how it might have been caused
• understand key aspects of soil characteristics and properties and their impact on both the archaeological record and the excavation techniques
• understand key concepts in forensic taphonomy and consider how these may affect the nature and response of human remains
• recognise the practical aspects of setting up a forensic excavation and their implications.

Forensic Ballistic Investigations

Module Leader
  • Dr James Shackel
Aim

    To provide an understanding of the principles of internal, intermediate, external, terminal and wound ballistics and how they are used in forensic investigations.

Syllabus
    • Internal ballistics
    • Intermediate ballistics
    • External ballistics
    • Terminal ballistics
    • Wound ballistics
    • Fragmenting munitions
    • Shotgun ballistics
    • Hit probability and statistics
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• Investigate and assess the internal, intermediate and external ballistics of projectiles
• Review the factors that affect the relationship between projectiles and targets
• Evaluate the factors affecting wound ballistics.
• Critically assess those factors affecting the performance and ballistics of fragmenting munitions and shotguns

Forensic Investigation of Explosives and Explosive Devices

Module Leader
  • Dr Nathalie Mai
Aim

    The aim of the FIEED course is to educate forensic scientists, police, military and relevant supporting disciplines in the process of investigating an explosive device, scene of explosion or suspected production facility or hide. Students work up from scene processing and evidence recovery, through to selection of analytic techniques, production of witness statements and court hearings.

Syllabus

    • Explosive crime scenes
    • Field detection of explosives
    • X-Ray and XRD methods of bulk detection
    • Infrared and Raman spectroscopy of explosives
    • The Forensic Explosive Laboratory
    • NMR spectroscopy of explosives
    • Mass Spectrometry of explosives
    • Chromatography of explosives
    • Sampling techniques
    • Evidence for explosive cases – a CPS perspective
    • Improvised Explosive Devices
    • IEDs and Bomb scene management
    • Investigation of pre-blast scenes/labs

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student 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
• evaluate the techniques available for the analysis of trace explosives
• compare the relative importance of gas chromatography and reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography, and their associated detection systems, in explosives analysis
• decide on a procedure for identifying an explosive compound and prepare a witness statement on its identification
• analyse an explosive crime scene

Fundamentals of Forensic Anthropology: Osteology

Module Leader
  • Dr Nicholas Marquez-Grant
Aim

    To provide a broad introduction to the subject, focusing on the role of the forensic anthropologist, human skeletal anatomy and the basic biological profile from human skeletal remains.

Syllabus

    Day 1: Introduction to human skeletal anatomy, biomechanics, and forensic anthropology.

    Day 2:  Bone and tooth identification and taphonomy.

    Day 3: Human vs non-human bone; outdoor scatter scene.

    Day 4: Biological profile estimation (age-at-death, sex, stature, ancestry).

    Day 5: Analysis of a human skeleton.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• Explain the role of the forensic anthropologist
• Learn about the human skeleton
• Recognise, name and accurately describe the bones of the human skeleton
• Distinguish human from non-human bones
• Estimate the sex, age-at-death, stature and ancestry of a skeleton
• Learn about some of the factors influencing decomposition

Further Forensic Anthropology: Identification

Module Leader
  • Dr Nicholas Marquez-Grant
Aim
    To provide an understanding of how skeletal remains are positively identified. The course reviews the basic biological profile (age-at-death, sex, stature, ancestry) but adds further unique identifying features such as pathology and trauma. The course also provides information on cutting-edge research and the latest techniques.
Syllabus

    • Identification of the deceased
    • The role of the forensic pathologist, odontologist and anthropologist in victim identification
    • Review of the human skeletal anatomy and biological profile
    • Latest techniques to identify bone
    • Fire victims and cremated bone
    • Dental pathology
    • Overview of palaeopathology, infectious lesions, joint disease, metabolic and neoplastic disease
    • Ante-mortem vs. peri-mortem vs. post-mortem trauma
    • The use of imaging in forensic anthropology
    • Radiocarbon dating, DNA and chemical analysis of bone
    • Identifying sharp, blunt and gunshot trauma
    • Mock spotter test

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• Understand the evidence that leads to a positive identification and the role of forensic anthropology in assisting in that identification.
• Understand the role of the forensic pathologist and forensic odontologist
• Learn about recent advances in the field and new techniques to help in identification
• Learn about pathological conditions that can be observed on bones and teeth and how to identify these
• Be aware of differences between ante-mortem, peri-mortem and post-mortem trauma
• Learn about the features most commonly employed to distinguish between sharp, blunt and gunshot trauma

Introduction to Firearms Investigations and Forensic Ballistics

Module Leader
  • Dr James Shackel
Aim

    The module shall provide an introduction to the principles of forensic investigations involving firearms and forensic investigations of projectile ballistics.

Syllabus

    • Introduction into weapon functioning and performance
    • Introduction into ammunition construction and materials
    • Introduction into bullet/case matching
    • Provide an overview of the 1968 Firearms Act (as amended)
    • Introduction to internal and external ballistics
    • Introduction to gunshot residue analysis

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• Assess and evaluate how small arms work and operate
• Appraise the science behind bullet/case matching
• Demonstrate a critical awareness of the construction of small arms ammunition
• Assess the use of the different sections of the 1968 Firearms Act (as amended)
• Compare and contrast the science underpinning internal and external ballistics
• Evaluate the science behind gunshot residue analysis

Mass Fatality Incidents

Module Leader
  • Dr Sophie Beckett
Aim

    This course provides an introduction to mass fatality incidents (MFI); their definition, categorisation, mitigation and management. It has a strong focus on disaster victim identification (DVI) but also covers more general effects, challenges, lessons learnt, management developments and, the return to normality following an MFI. In particular, the course considers the roles and responsibilities of the personnel involved in the DVI process, practical application of Interpol guidelines and DVI forms, planning and evaluation of temporary mortuary facilities and, DVI humanitarian assistance aspects of mass fatality incident response.

    The course may be of interest to a wide range of professionals including; emergency planners, emergency response personnel (police, fire and ambulance), family liaison officers, accident investigators, NGO workers, forensic scientists, medical doctors, lawyers, and those involved in the investigation of missing persons.

     


Syllabus
    Introduction to mass fatality incidents (MFI); definitions, categorisations and history,
    MFI mitigation, response planning and management,
     disaster victim identification (DVI) process and challenges,
     roles and responsibilities of DVI personnel,
     role of INTERPOL with respect to MFI,
     needs of the bereaved and humanitarian assistance,
     potential personal impact of MFI on responders,
     case study examples,
     lessons learnt and management developments,
     UK and International perspectives,
     mock MFI scenarios,
     media involvement with, and impact on MFI.
     
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

 demonstrate knowledge of key aspects of mass fatality incidents with respect to definitions, categorisations, mitigation and management,
 apply knowledge of previous mass fatality incidents to critically evaluate general effects, challenges, lessons learnt, management developments and the return to normality following a mass fatality, incident,
 demonstrate a critical awareness of; current best practice guidance for disaster victim identification (DVI), logistical and scientific challenges and, the roles and responsibilities of the personnel involved in the DVI process,
 recognise and explain the needs of the bereaved, best practice for humanitarian assistance and the potential impact of mass fatality incidents on responders,
 demonstrate effective communication, application of reasoning and, collaboration, through participation in a range of mock MFI scenarios.

 

 

Practical Archaeological Excavation

Module Leader
  • Peter Masters
  • Dr Dennis Braekmans
Aim

    To provide students with an understanding of the manner in which traditional archaeology uses field techniques to address practical research questions.


Syllabus
    Planning an excavation,
    logistical practical and health and safety issues,
    practical excavation skills,
    man management and organisation skills,
    drawing, planning and recording an excavation,
    small finds,
    the care of human remains,
    press, the public and other partners.
     
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

explain how an excavation is planned and run,
transfer theoretical knowledge of excavation techniques into practical use,
recover safely and record rigorously material uncovered in the excavation,
critically assess the most important features of an excavation and determine appropriate techniques,
communicate results to other persons both archaeological experts and lay member of the public.
 

Radiographic Investigations in Forensic Science

Module Leader
  • Roland Wessling
Aim

    To provide an understanding of the principles and practical applications of radiographic imaging techniques used in forensic science.

Syllabus

    • Physics of X-ray production and utilization
    • Radiographic equipment and complimentary imaging modalities – computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound
    • Analogue and digital image recording media
    • Radiation protection and legislation
    • Medical imaging techniques and their application in the forensic examination of human subjects; ballistic trauma, narcotics trafficking, abuse, assault, homicide,  unexplained sudden death, human identification.
    • Virtopsy ® and the virtual post-mortem
    • Radiographic techniques applied to art work and counterfeit objects
    • Industrial radiographic techniques for engineering components including weapons, missiles and improvised explosive devices

Intended learning outcomes

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

• explain the fundamental principles of a wide range of imaging techniques
• identify current ionising radiations regulations and interpret them so as to be able to apply appropriate radiation protection measures when employing radiographic imaging techniques
• list and critically assess the advantages and disadvantages of different imaging techniques and their use in the individualisation of human remains and characterisation of trauma and/or disease states
• list and critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of imaging techniques and their use in the identification and characterisation of components and component failure
• practically apply appropriate imaging techniques for defined situations and interpret the results

Trace Evidence

Module Leader
  • Professor David Lane
Aim

    The module will provide an understanding of the trace physical evidence and its associated forensic examination.

Syllabus
     Trace evidence concepts, direct and indirect transfer, retention time, transfer diagrams
     Fibre and hair construction
     Fibre and hair microscopy for identification and comparison
     Fabric comparison and damage
     Glass construction and forensic examination
     Paint characterization
     Soil analysis
     Blood spatter
     Finger prints
     Marks as evidence
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

 investigate a wide range of physical evidence using the concept of ‘trace’ evidence
 project manage a systematic trace evidence search using appropriate detection and collection techniques  to recover trace evidence of different types,
 justify the categorisation of trace evidence by identifying and measuring their most important features using appropriate analytical techniques,
 assess the number and distributions of different types of trace evidence and use appropriate statistical techniques to compare samples and groups of samples,
 appraise different categories of trace evidence and synthesise a model for how trace evidence transfer has occurred,
 present a case for physical contact between two (or more) objects or persons using a transfer diagram,
 report on a trace evidence investigation in a clear and concise manner.

Forensic Exploitation and Intelligence

Module Leader
  • Stephen Johnson
Aim

    To provide an understanding of the principles and practical applications of the major forensic analytical techniques used in Forensic Intelligence (FORINT) and exploitation.

Syllabus
      • role of communication and information sharing
      • FORINT in long term policing strategy
      • exploitation and military intelligence
      • pattern analysis, GIS and mathematics in forensic intelligence
      • technical exploitation
      • forensic exploitation
      • planning and direction of forensic intelligence
      • collection, processing, production, management and dissemination of FORINT
      • forms of output and report from FORINT
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

• distinguish evidential types for use in court and for intelligence purposes
• evaluate the levels and range of forensic exploitation techniques
• manage and prioritise the exploitation of forensic intelligence derived from people, places and vehicles
• critically assess how forensic intelligence interfaces with other intelligence sources
• establish and maintain a FORINT exploitation policy within the frameworks of forensic best practice and the recognized intelligence cycle

Digital Crime and Investigation

Module Leader
  • Dr Sarah Morris
Aim

    The aim of this module is to develop knowledge and understanding of the processes involved in the investigation of digital crime. These include the investigation of crime, the seizure of digital evidence, the examination of seized devices, the construction of reports and knowledge of relevant law.


Syllabus
    Background and introduction to digital forensic science
    Investigation of digital crime
    Planning and executing a search and seizure operation in the context of a digital crime based investigation
    Introduction to the tools and techniques used to examine digital evidence
    Reports and statements
    Relevant UK and European law
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

 evaluate the impact of key concepts in digital forensic science and related legislation on the forensic workflow,
 create an effective search and seizure plan for a digital investigation,
 conduct a simple digital forensic examination,
 construct an appropriate report in respect of a digital crime investigation and examination,
 apply knowledge to act as a source of assistance and information in relation to digital evidence and crime.

 

 

Hazardous Forensics

Module Leader
  • Stephen Johnson
Aim

    To present the fundamental principles of hazardous investigations including CBRN and to introduce techniques and working practices that promote risk management during a methodical investigation.

Syllabus
    Introduction to hazardous investigations – principles and practices
    Recognising a CBRN incident
    Understanding hazardous scenes, sites, and situations (operational to strategic)
    Management of hazardous scenes
    CBRN contamination as an evidence challenge
    Reporting on investigations
    Techniques and technologies for operating in hazardous environments
     
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

define the types of hazard that might be present at a crime scene, including those associated with an improvised CBRN device or military munition,
discriminate between a range of systematic options for managing hazardous crime scenes, including CBRN-contaminated scenes,
demonstrate critical thinking by planning and executing a time-bounded recovery task, prioritising items of greatest forensic value whilst considering  their admissibility into evidence based on possible contamination,
discuss the range of forensic evidence that might be associated with each item recovered, and how the impact of any contamination may be mitigated or otherwise accommodated,
prepare a crime scene report for a hazardous crime scene that objectively critiques the methodologies used on-scene and draws justified conclusions appropriate for the evidence recovered.

 

 

Materials Engineering and Processing

Aim

    The module provides an understanding of the structure and properties of materials, to understand how the processing and fabrication methods affect them, and to familiarise the student with the common faults that can arise during production.

Syllabus
    • Introduction to materials families; metals, ceramics, polymers and composites
    • Atomic/crystal structures, defects and dislocations
    • Principles of metallography
    • Phase diagrams and transformations
    • Mechanical properties of materials
    • Material processing, common faults and the resulting modes of failure
    • Fabrication methods, common faults and the resulting modes of failure.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module a diligent student will be able to:

  • Assess and differentiate the macro and micro material structures of the various material families
  • Evaluate the material properties and how they are affected by the material microstructures
  • Evaluate how the chemical composition, microstructure and processing influences the properties of steels and non-ferrous metals
  • Formulate likely causes of failure in a manufactured component.

Approach to Failure Investigation and Analysis

Module Leader
  • Dr Dennis Braekmans
Aim

    The module will introduce the failure investigation process, the importance of defining the objective(s) and planning the investigation, and the steps and common tools involved in failure analysis.


Syllabus
    Importance of defining the goal(s) and planning a failure investigation
    Requirements for leading a failure investigation and the importance of determining the root cause
    Root cause analysis techniques
    Failure investigation pitfalls
    Steps involved in failure analysis
    Cleaning and preservation of samples
    NDT and the common tools used in failure examinations
    Present engineering information
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
explain the steps involved in failure investigations and the importance of determining the root cause,
plan a systematic approach to problem solving,
evaluate the tools used in failure analysis, and the limitations.

Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Capability

Module Leader
  • Stephen Johnson
Aim

    The aim of the C-IED Capability course is to educate industry, military and civilian MoD C-IED staff in the Counter IED/Threat systems with emphasis on supporting capabilities and technology.



Syllabus
    Subjects covered will include:

    describe and explain the C-IED approach in accordance with JDP 3-65(AJP-3.15(A)),
    understand the development of IED threats based on historical perspective and how these have been countered (adversary tactics techniques and procedures and the philosophies and principles underpinning IEDD),
    technologies involved in C-IED across detect, neutralise, mitigate and exploit. Includes roles of ISTAR and ECM,
    how to advise senior and specialist staff on C-IED,
    the importance of ‘Understand’ and information management to maintain effectiveness,
    application of influence activities to C-IED,
    analysing adversary IED systems and identifying points of influence and effect. 
     

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

discuss the C-IED approach in accordance with Joint Doctrine Publication 3-65 (AJP-3.15(A)), 
evaluate the benefit of C-IED activities (Predict, Pursue, Prevent, Detect, Neutralise and Mitigate and Exploit) with respect to Prepare the Force, Attack the Network and Defeat the Device,
explain the technologies involved in C-IED,
formulate a situation report to inform the ‘Understand’ function,
explain the meaning of Influence Activity,
plan the use of Airborne assets for ISTAR and ECM in support of C-IED,
analyse the development of IED threats,
recommend a strategy to counter an adversary’s IED/Threat systems.


Introductory Studies

Module Leader
  • Peter Masters
Aim

    The aim of Introductory Studies is to prepare students for their subsequent programme of study on the assessed modules. It is optional and carries a formal credit rating of zero, although a student’s understanding of the material covered may be tested as part of the assessments for the course modules. Students are advised to participate in Introductory Studies.

Syllabus
    The emphasis in Introductory Studies is on fundamentals and subjects are covered at first-degree level. Topics include:

    chemistry,
    archaeology and anthropology,
    computing services and library briefings,
    materials engineering,
    study skills and research methods,
    maths (including statistics),
    physics.


Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

• revise, consolidate and expand their skill and knowledge base so that they can derive maximum benefit from the course.

 

 

Cyber Security and Information Assurance

Module Leader
  • Darren Lawrence
Aim

    To enable students to understand the field of Cyber Security & Information Assurance (IA), to be able to make use of the concepts that underpin the subject and to appreciate the dependencies between them.



Syllabus
    Foundations of cyber security and IA,
     risk theory and practice,
     strategy,
     threats and vulnerabilities,
     governance and management,
     socio-technical perspectives.


Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a diligent student should be able to:

 design and assess organisation - wide processes to ensure good Cyber Security and IA,
 evaluate Cyber Security and IA risk from a nation state, societal and organisational perspective,
 assess the dependencies between people, process and technology when developing risk mitigation strategies for Cyber Security and IA.

 

 




Fees and Funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2019 to 2020 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (24 July 2018).

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.

.



MSc Full-time £12,000
MSc Part-time £12,000 *
PgDip Full-time £10,000
PgDip Part-time £10,000 *
PgCert Full-time £5,000
PgCert Part-time £5,000 *
  • * Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

MSc Full-time £20,500
MSc Part-time £20,500 *
PgDip Full-time £16,400
PgDip Part-time £16,400 *
PgCert Full-time £8,000
PgCert Part-time £8,000 *
  • * Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

Funding Opportunities

To help students find and secure appropriate funding, we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia)
Cranfield offers competitive scholarships for Mexican students in conjunction with Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia) in science, technology and engineering.

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England
A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship
The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships
Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries
Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans
Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

Please contact studentfunding@cranfield.ac.uk for more information of funding.

Additional information on fees and funding can be found here.

Entry requirements

A first or second class Honours degree or equivalent in archaeology, forensic science 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

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.


Security clearance for Shrivenham

Some Cranfield University courses are delivered at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham which is a Ministry of Defence (MOD) site. All applicants to courses that are wholly or partially delivered at Shrivenham must complete the BPSS (HMG Baseline Personnel Security Standard V4 April 2014) prior to registration on the course or must already hold a security clearance to this level or higher.

Please visit our security clearance page for further information.



Your career

The Forensic Investigation course offers career opportunities across a broad range of applications. Past students have gone on to work in forensic laboratories, government bodies and police forces.

How to apply

You may be invited to attend an interview. If you are based outside the UK, you may be interviewed either by telephone or video conference.

Important information

Decisions are currently being made regarding whether this course (and/or some of its modules) will be taught at Shrivenham or Cranfield in the 2019-2020 academic year and beyond.  The information on this page is up-to-date, but any changes will be sent to those who have already enquired or applied as soon as further details are available.