About your course
This Masters-level Forensic Bioscience course from Liverpool John Moores University is ideal for forensic science practitioners and science graduates. You will have access to state-of-the-art learning facilities plus a research-informed curriculum.
- Suitable for Forensic Science practitioners and science graduates, this course is informed by research and industry links
- Enjoy access to state-of-the-art laboratories, crime scene facilities and a moot room
- Learn from forensic anthropologists, biologists, crime scene and fire investigation specialists and leading in-house academics
- Benefit from a local, national or international work placement
- Develop transferrable skills in legal matters and research methods and specialise in your chosen area
- Complete this masters degree in one year (full time)
The realism sets the tone for the level of student engagement and the practicality gives them an experience of learning that will be of great benefit in their real world work upon graduation.
Introduction to the School
The multidisciplinary School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences is one of the oldest providers of Pharmacy education in the world and has been delivering industry-relevant courses since 1849.
We guarantee all of our students a supportive, flexible academic environment, well-structured programmes and 24/7 access to extensive resources.
The School offers high quality education and training in areas including Pharmacy, Applied Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Forensic Science and Biochemistry.
We also have an established reputation for supporting postgraduate students returning to education after a break and for delivering professionally-orientated courses that can be studied alongside full time employment.
All of our courses are influenced by the latest research, ensuring that course content is at the forefront of developments in the field. Indeed, in the 2014 REF, some 68% of LJMU’s health-related research was considered world leading or internationally excellent.
Why study this course at LJMU?
Unique in the North West, this expert-led Masters programme focuses on the biological aspect of forensics.
Forensic bioscience involves the understanding and application of many diverse techniques and this programme aims to enhance your depth and breadth of knowledge, understanding and practical skills via a stimulating and challenging curriculum. Key topics include decomposition, entomology, microbiology, histology and DNA analysis. You will also study forensic medicine and issues such as post mortem interval determination and identification.
The course attracts graduates from disciplines including biology, zoology, biochemistry and forensic science as well as those working in DNA Analysis, forensic biology, anthropology and the environmental sector. Indeed, anyone interested in the molecular and biological aspects of forensics will appreciate this programme.
Taught by leading experts in the field, you will explore emerging and specialist disciplines as well as extending your understanding of current and biological techniques and practice.
Developing analytical, critical and problem solving skills, you will become a creative problem solver. You will also enhance your independent research skills, going on to enjoy excellent career development opportunities in forensic and analytical biosciences.
Programme outline and structure
Forensic Bioscience is one of four forensic programmes offered by LJMU. All four options share a number of common modules, but each course has its own distinct identity.
During this course you will:
- explore the criminal justice system as a setting in which a forensic scientist might work (this relates to British and international law)
- discover how to apply appropriate techniques following the analysis and evaluation of complex forensic cases
- learn to critically evaluate current crime scene techniques
On joining the course you will be appointed a personal tutor who will be able to offer academic and pastoral support. The School also operates an open door policy, providing access to members of staff when you need them.
You will study at the Byrom Street site in the University’s City Campus. With an ongoing £12 million investment in laboratory facilities here and state-of-the-art research facilities in the newly developed Life Sciences building, you’ll enjoy a first class study environment.
The Avril Robarts Library, open 24/7 during semesters, is located just minutes away on Tithebarn Street.
Legal aspects of the course are taught in the Moot Room in the multi-million pound Redmonds building on Brownlow Hill.
What you will study on this degree
Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.
- Forensic Bioscience
Combines theory and practical work in post mortem interval determination, entomology, microbiology and pathology.
- Law and Court Room Skills
Discusses the criminal justice systems under which a forensic scientist may work and examines expert witness testimony. Aspects of regulation and quality assurance are touched upon.
- Research Methods
Covers grant application, critical appraisal of leading research and data interpretation and evaluation. This leads naturally into the dissertation.
- Bioanalytical Techniques
Examines state-of-the-art biomolecular techniques, including DNA and protein analysis. Commonly used techniques in the forensic field will be critically analysed and performed along with emerging techniques which can form the basis of the dissertation or further postgraduate study.
- Taphonomy and Trauma Analysis
Examines decomposition processes and trauma analysis.
The Dissertation research themes are led by staff and PhD students. Students are encouraged to present their research at conferences.
The following options are typically offered:
- Fire Investigation
Offers specialist knowledge of fire and explosive analysis both at the crime scene and in terms of analytical techniques.
- Trace Evidence Analysis
Teaches you to identify, differentiate and analyse different types of trace evidence using advanced techniques. Microscopy, including SEM (EDX) and atomic force, form the basis of the practical analysis performed, along with other techniques.
Further guidance on modules
The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further guidance or clarification.
How will I be assessed?
With approximately two days a week in timetabled sessions, the focus of this course is on self-guided learning.
There is a 50/50 split between theoretical and practical content and you will be taught via a mix of seminars, workshops, case studies, external visits, lectures, practical sessions and e-learning courtesy of the University’s Blackboard resource.
Most modules have a combination of coursework tasks to provide a balanced schedule of activities throughout the year.
With regular lectures from professional practitioners, the curriculum is directly informed by the latest developments and entirely relevant to the needs of today’s employers.
Each module has specific learning objectives which are assessed by a mix of formal exams and coursework including:
- paper analysis
- scientific reports
- court room presentations
- expert witness statements
The programme has been praised by external bodies for its "modules designed around national standards" and the "realistic environments created to facilitate learning and assessment".
Staff research interests
Course tutors are all leading researchers in their field and regularly represent the University at national and international level.
Special areas of expertise within the department include drug analysis, fingerprints, ballistics, DNA and anthropology.
Entry requirements (Home)
- Next intake September 2016
- You will need an Honours degree (minimum 2:2) in a relevant science, including forensic science.
Entry requirements (International)
LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.0-6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence. If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance. Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application. In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website.
For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.
It is expected that demand for places will be high and applicants will be selected on merit; in some instances interviews may be conducted.
6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)
58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.
All full and part-time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email to LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.
Sources of funding
Postgraduate loans for students from England, Wales and the EU
Postgraduate Masters loans are available for those studying in the 2017/18 academic year. The new government loans, of up to £10,280, are available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses. To be eligible part time courses need to be studied at 50% intensity. Personal Eligibility is based on your age, your residency and if you have studied at Masters level previously.
Loan repayments will begin the April after course completion, with the first cohort of borrowers commencing repayments in April 2019. Repayments will be made at a rate of 6% of income above an earning threshold of £21,000. This threshold will be frozen until 2021. For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to:-
Postgraduate Loans for students from Northern Ireland
The Northern Irish government is also introducing a loan for students commencing postgraduate study from September 2017 onwards. Unlike the loan for students from England and Wales this scheme offers a loan for tuition fees only with no funding available from the NI government for living costs. The loan for tuition fees will be paid direct to LJMU.
The maximum loan for those starting in 2017 is £5,500 per course. Please note this means in some instances the loan will not cover your tuition fees in full and you will need to make alternative arrangements to pay the balance as well as source funding for your living costs.
LJMU Alumni Award
Alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*).
Postgraduate International Scholarships
LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants.
English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary
A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre.
Earn While You Learn
Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.
LJMU’s Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.
Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)
Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you’ve completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs.
Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn’t always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.
Support for disabled students
Disabled Students’ Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don’t have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU’s Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.
Council tax exemption
All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.
The department has an impressive range of national and international industry contacts and works closely with local police forces.
Networking opportunities with your fellow students are also extensive, meaning that useful contacts can be made during your studies.
Numerous career paths are available including forensic practice, working in biology-based industries, the NHS, trading standards and teaching and lecturing in schools, colleges and universities. Further possibilities include roles working with diagnostic products, proficiency testing, quality assurance, reference standards and genomics.
Alternatively, you may choose to further your research career, concentrating on specific areas of forensic science, such as DNA analysis or entomology.
International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.
Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.
Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.
Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting www.ljmu.ac.uk/international for more information and advice.
LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.
These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.
You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here: www.ljmu.ac.uk/international
Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:
- new international applicants
- current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
- LJMU international alumni
The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.
Further guidance on programme changes