This course is subject to University approval.

Over the last decade, heritage crime has become an increasing issue across the world. Efforts from the international heritage community to tackle crime against cultural property have highlighted the increasing demand for highly qualified and skilled subject matter experts. Developed from discussions with cultural heritage bodies, NGOs, military and police, this new forensic MSc will provide you with real world skills that will enhance your employability.


Overview

  • Start dateOctober 2020
  • DurationMSc: one year full-time, three years part-time; PgDip: two years; PgCert: one year
  • DeliveryBy written and practical examinations, continuous assessment, project presentation and oral exam
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Why this course?

This course will fit into the highly successful Forensic Master’s Programme run by Cranfield University. Cranfield teaches a suite of other Forensic MSc titles, which means that students on this course will work alongside those studying other forensic disciplines in depth, including archaeology, anthropology, ballistics and investigations. Optional modules on this new course allow its students to experience one or two modules in some of these other specialties, enhancing their employability and increasing the student experience.

Course details

Students are required to take nine core modules and choose up to two elective modules based on their particular background, future requirements or interests. This is followed by a four-month research project.

Some modules for this MSc may be taught at Cranfield University at Shrivenham. 

Course delivery

By written and practical examinations, continuous assessment, project presentation and oral exam

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.

Modules

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reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons.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 and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.


Course modules

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

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.

 

 

Extended Essay

Aim

    To write a critical account of an aspect of heritage crime, derived from literature based sources and selected from a list of titles, targeted at a specific audience.

Syllabus

    Indicative module content: 

    This is a piece of independent research, well referenced from the literature resources. Face-to-face and online tutorials cover:

    • principles of research,
    • constructing an argument,
    • the importance of supporting evidence,
    •  assessing and dealing with figures and statistics,
    • how to engage an audience in the heritage/forensic sector,
    • understanding the difference between specialist and non-specialist audiences and how this is transferable skill could be wider used.




Intended learning outcomes

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

• present a coherent and well argued account of the subject, supported by relevant evidence and coming to a clear conclusion,
• appraise and critique the views of other experts and develop their own thesis on the subject matter,
• produce an excellently presented summary report using first class images, clear referencing structure and appropriate for the readership.

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.

 

International Heritage Crime

Aim

    To provide an understanding of international heritage crime, the main players and the methods of both attacks and defence.

Syllabus

    Indicative module content: 

    • introduction to international heritage crime,
    • specific legal ordinances of relevance, e.g. Hague Convention,
    • culture and conflict areas,
    • heritage assets during warfare,
    • deliberate destruction of sites,
    • cultural heritage as a terrorist weapon,
    • looting,
    • trafficking of illicit antiques,
    • auction houses, dealers and collectors,
    • ethics of collecting.

     








Intended learning outcomes

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

• compare the main threats to international heritage,
• appraise the dangers of the destruction of trafficking of heritage across borders and the international bodies and laws designed to prevent this,
• critically assess research on the international heritage crime and create methods for combating the threat,
• evaluate how forensic strategies are applied in this field and critique their effectiveness
• be able to apply, summaries and evaluate their knowledge in writing a report about a specific case.




International Heritage Exercise

Aim

    To practically apply learning from the International Heritage Crime module to a real time, operational environment with the added difficulties of the international component. 


Syllabus

    Indicative module content: 

    This is a 'wargame' or exercise environment in which students take the role of one of the key people advising and commenting on a UK based operation. It draws heavily on the content of the International Heritage Crime module, but teaches and examines other skills including:

    • dealing with complex scenarios,
    • limited and asymmetric intelligence,
    • rapid changing situations,
    • lethal and semi-lethal threats to personnel,
    • conducting and responding to briefings



Intended learning outcomes

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

• identify agencies involved in a international heritage crime operation,
• critically assess priorities for actions,
• select appropriate courses of action and appraise their success,
• create briefs for senior officials,
• respond to changing circumstances and judge new intelligence leads,
• evaluate the effectiveness of the overall strategy in the exercise,
• review and investigate other courses of action and assess their applicability.




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

 

 


UK Heritage Crime

Aim

    To provide an understanding of heritage crime in the UK and the methods and agencies to combat it. 

Syllabus

    Indicative module content: 

    • introduction to UK heritage assets,
    • introduction to the main forms of crime committed against these assets,
    • detailed discussion of threats and counter operations
    • architectural theft of metals and other materials,
    • unlawful metal detecting,
    • wreck interference,
    • criminal damage,
    • off-roading,
    • managing heritage assets,
    • illicit cultural property (UK)
    • burden of evidence and proof.

     


Intended learning outcomes

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

• appraise the main threats to UK heritage,
• discriminate between the legal roles of various players and evaluate the part that forensics can play,
• critically assess the various methods for combating UK heritage crime, their successes and failures,
• interpret how forensic strategies are applied in this field and which techniques are of most use,
• be able to apply their knowledge to specific subject area of UK heritage crime to successfully come to a reasoned and balanced conclusion.



UK Heritage Exercise

Aim

    To practically apply learning from the UK Heritage Crime module to a real time, operational environment.

Syllabus

    Indicative module content: 

    This is a 'wargame' or exercise environment in which students take the role of one of the key people advising and commenting on a UK based operation. It draws heavily on the content of the UK Heritage Crime module, but teaches and examines other skills including:

    • operational planning,
    • rapid responses to changing intelligence,
    • teamwork and individual leadership,
    • how to conduct briefings, respond and critically assess briefings from others.


Intended learning outcomes

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

• appraise roles within UK heritage crime operation,
• critically assess the various methods for combating UK heritage crime, their successes and failures,
• select appropriate courses of action and appraise their success,
• create briefs for senior officials
• assess and predict to changing circumstances and judge new intelligence leads,
• evaluate the effectiveness of the overall strategy in the exercise,
• review and investigate other courses of action and assess their applicability.



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

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.

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.


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
    Indicative module content:  

     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 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 and exploitation.


Syllabus
    Indicative module content: 

    • role of communication and information sharing, 
    • the use of FORINT cells in long term policing strategy,
    • exploitation and military intelligence,
    • pattern analysis, geographic information systems (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.


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.

 

 

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.
 

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

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 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.

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

Your career

Key organisations have supported the need for further education within this field, due to the rise in crime and high demand for highly qualified subject matter experts. 

This course aims to meet these demands and improve the employment prospects for students, and promotion prospects for existing heritage professionals. Heritage is a competitive, but expanding field, and the knowledge gained from this MSc should be of real world use to enhance your chances of employment.

How to apply

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