Full-time: One year, Part-time: Two years.
Campus, Full-time and Part-time
The MSc DNA Profiling is a Forensic Science Society UK (FSSoc) accredited course that aims to instruct in current concepts in molecular biology techniques and laboratory management as applied in the field of Forensic DNA Profiling. The various interpretational skills taught in the course follow International Society of Forensic Genetics (ISFG) and SWGDAM guidelines. The course syllabus exceeds the recommendation of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) USA for the educational requirements for a DNA laboratory technical leader. Intellectually challenging and highly rewarding, the MSc provides excellent hands-on practical learning in various laboratory techniques. It also builds the capabilities to plan and execute a research project. You’ll be well prepared for the forensic DNA profiling sector, including relevant areas like molecular biology, genetics and population genetics.
Specific entry requirements for this course are a 2.2 degree in a related field or equivalent professional experience in the discipline.
We welcome applications from international students to our course. Further information on how to apply if you are an overseas applicant is available. A general guide to the minimum levels of English language requirements for our courses is also available.
The MSc was established in 2003 and reflects the research, current practices, and developments within the forensic DNA profiling sector. The students have access to a state of the art molecular biology facility which is equipped with most modern genetic analysers, PCR and Real Time PCR machines and next generation sequencers. The equipment and software’s used during the course has been chosen carefully to reflect a forensic DNA laboratory. The students also have access to a field taphonomic research facility for relevant outdoor experimentation and a moot court. Our staff includes experienced practitioners who are well known in the field of forensic DNA profiling nationally and internationally. Since we have an active research team with over 16 PhD students, the research environment is a great stimulant during the whole course but especially during the research projects. We have active links with the commercial market leaders within the field.
The MSc consists of 180 course credits and is split into two phases:
The taught phase is comprises of lectures, tutorials/workshops and taught practical experiments that introduce the students to biochemical and molecular biology techniques in the context of forensic DNA laboratory workflow. Hands on training on various important software’s is provided during the course for data analyses. Usually the teaching and learning activities are organised on three days of a given week and enough time is provided for the students to self-study or do additional laboratory work if they required to. The teaching and learning activities aim to develop analytical and reasoning skills as well as learning to plan and practically process forensic casework.
For the research project students are presented with various projects. They can choose the project though they are also encouraged to develop their own projects for which guidance is provided. We do allow the practitioners attending the course to complete the project in their own laboratories. In addition some project are arranged with commercial forensic science providers (FSP) laboratories. The project requires the students to attend a weekly laboratory meeting in which the projects are discussed in a professional manner. These laboratory meetings allow the students to develop further and enhance their research capabilities. During the execution of the project continuous supervision is provided.
Below are a few examples of project titles from previous years (most of these were published as journal articles or presented in International conferences):
Assessment of the research project is based on:
Students submit the project report usually in the first week of September.
The course is structured into three parts :
Part 1 (14 weeks):
Forensic Genetics I: Introduces you to the principles, methods and techniques of molecular biology and genetics that are relevant to current DNA profiling within a forensic context.
Forensic Genetics II: The module trains you in current DNA profiling procedures, techniques and analysis/interpretation. You will study the above within the wider context and investigate potential developments in this area. You will be working with modern PCR machines, Real-Time PCR Machines and Genetic Analysers. You will develop a critical understanding of the procedures involved in DNA profiling through the analysis of mock cases.
Research Methods: The module trains you in a wide range of skills including technical documentation, project design and management, data retrieval/analysis, technical writing and presentation.
Part 2 (14 weeks):
Evaluation of Genetic Data: Covers the principles of population genetics and the mathematical and statistical methods underpinning population genetic theory. The module centres on the statistical analysis and interpretation of genetic data, and on the evolutionary and population genetics that influence the frequencies of various types of DNA markers. You are trained on various standard software’s to analyse the genetic data.
Expert Witness in Legal Process: This module introduces the student to the basics skills of an expert scientific witness. It is designed to provide an in-depth knowledge of the relevant law and procedure that applies to the expert witness in domestic and international legal proceedings, court procedure and the duty of the expert witness in legal proceedings. You also learn the practical skills required to present evidence in both written format and orally in court. Training is provided in the preparation of complex expert reports. The module covers communication skills providing background and training in expert witness delivery, and the study of British and International Law. You present your findings of a casework in a moot court.
Laboratory Management and Quality Assurance: In this module you work in a small group and develop protocols and quality assurance procedures for a Forensic DNA laboratory. The module gives you the opportunity to work as a team of forensic DNA analysts setting up and validating your own laboratory procedures and process simulated casework.
Part 3 (16 weeks):
Research Project: In the research project, you will undertake a laboratory based research project which will allow you to investigate a current aspect of DNA profiling that interests you. You are allowed to choose a project or develop your own. You will utilise and develop many of the skills learnt on the course to design the experiments and will carry them out independently under the guidance of an assigned supervisor. Following conclusion of the work, you are required to produce a project dissertation. The project can be entirely based within the University or in an approved collaborating institution. You are encouraged to publish or present your project in a national or international conferences.
Assistant Professor Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USAAfter completing my BSc. Biochemistry degree in Cork, Ireland, I was searching for an MSc program. Forensics had always been an interest and more specifically DNA analysis. I applied for the MSc DNA Profiling program at UCLAN and to this day I am so very glad I did. The grounding and training that I was given in this intense 1 year program provided me with the necessary skills to quickly obtain a research assistant job in Australia in a sequencing facility.
Assistant Professor and Technical Director Forensic DNA Laboratory, University of Leuven
Criminalist III, Forensic Biology / DNA Unit Supervisor Criminalistics Laboratory, San Francisco Police DepartmentThe DNA Profiling MSc Course at UCLAN has proven to be a solid and reliable foundation for my career in Forensic Biology & DNA Analysis. I have worked on hundreds of cases and testified to DNA evidence in many jury trials within the USA.
Forensic DNA Analyst at Boise State University, USA
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Lancashire Constabulary and UCLan School of Forensic and Applied Sciences have joined forces to create the Lancashire Forensic Science Academy.
In the first collaboration of its kind, CSIs, forensic science experts, academics and students will work alongside each other in purpose-built facilities to research, investigate and deliver forensic science services in Lancashire.
This ground-breaking partnership gives students access to an operational environment.
We have a wide variety of links with local, national and international laboratories and academic institutions, all of which provide valuable contacts for students wishing to enter professions related to DNA profiling. Further details and contacts are available from members of the teaching team.
An interesting and informative book on forensic genetics written by the members of the course team which has been widely adapted and referenced. The book explains the key concepts and advancements in forensic genetics in detail. The book includes a chapter on non-human forensic genetics. This book has great reviews.
Masters in DNA profiling has received the prestigious accreditation from The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
You will, on average, attend fifteen hours of lectures/seminars/practicals per week and may participate in both workshops and tutorials. Personal study also forms an integral part of the programme. The students are required to complete challenging assessments that are mostly course work, group projects, presentations, moot court and practical assessments. There is only one theory based examination in the course.
We do our best to give our students key employability and transferable skills which will serve them in the various scientific and non-scientific fields thus our students emerge as well rounded individuals.
Bekaert B, Zainuddin Z, Hadi S, Goodwin W. 2006. A comparison of mtDNA and Y chromosome diversity in Malay populations. International Congress Series, 1288: 252-255
Hadi S, Bekaert B, Goodwin W, The AMOVA analyses and phylogenetic relationships of Pakistani population using Y STRs. 2006. International Congress Series, 1288: 171-173
Almohammed E, Alghafri R, Goodwin W, Hadi S. 2015. Development and validation of an allelic frequency database for Qatari population using 13 rapidly mutating Y-STRs multiplex assay. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series, 5: e365-e367
Alhmoudi OA, Jones RJ, Tay GK, Alsafar H, Hadi S. 2015. Population genetics data for 21 autosomal STR loci for United Arab Emirates (UAE) population using next generation multiplex STR kit, Forensic Science International: Genetics, 19: 190-191.
Abuidrees, A. S., Alghafri, R. H. and Hadi, S. (2016). Rapid amplification of the RM-Yplex assay. Electrophoresis. doi:10.1002/elps.201500549
Hadi is a reader, an active researcher and academician in Forensic Medicine & Genetics. He has co-authored an undergraduate text book ‘An Introduction to Forensic Genetics’ and several book chapters. He has published widely in various forensic journals and is a reviewer for several of them.
Will is a well-known researcher in the field of forensic genetics and has published over 50 papers. He has authored the undergraduate text book An Introduction to Forensic Genetics’ and edited ‘Forensic DNA Typing Protocols (Second Edition); he is also a current Editor for ‘Science and Justice’, which is the journal of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, UK.
Judith is an active researcher with interests in areas of forensic entomology, wildlife forensics, conservation genetics and molecular ecology. She has ongoing projects investigating insect development and species identification, the analysis of ancient sheep, environmental DNA analysis and forensic microbiomics.
Sue is a consultant forensic biologist and professional member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. Her specialisms include body fluid testing, DNA interpretation, blood pattern analysis, fabric damage assessment, Bayesian forensic interpretation and the application of quality standards.