Ever since the popular TV show CSI: Crime Scenes Investigation hit our screens in 2000, forensic science has become a sought-after career for curious scientific minds.
And while it may not always be the glamourous high-tech depiction we’ve seen on TV, forensic scientists are a crucial part of society, helping decode evidence used to deliver justice and maintain law & order.
From analysing genetic fingerprints to using forensic linguistics to interpret audio evidence, being a member of the police force or forensic sector makes you an integral part of the legal system.
And as crime rates increase in the US and beyond, the demand for professionals in the crime sector is consistently growing, ensuring the safety of residents and solving complex problems in the face of changing morals and technology.
Within the industry, no two jobs, cases or days are alike.
One position could see you collect evidence from crime scenes to debunk who the culprits are, while another may require you to analyse forensic trace evidence of suspects to establish a critical link between victim and perpetrator.
No matter which area of forensics or policing you enter, you will be applying scientific theory and practice with law to analyse and interpret a range of situations. Because of this, employers value graduates who have gained interdisciplinary skills and the ability to apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems in a professional setting.
The impressive breadth of material covered through a degree in forensics or policing also lets you take your degree anywhere you desire within the industry or beyond. You will graduate with skills in decision making, objective data, and evidence analytics which can be applied to any field beyond your studies.
That’s why the University of Central Lancaster’s (UCLan) School of Forensic and Applied Sciences is committed to teaching specialised programmes with an interdisciplinary focus and a strong emphasis on industry experience for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The university acknowledges that the curriculum serves as a launch pad into the industry, allowing students to learn from practitioners with state-of-the art facilities, similar to the those they will be using beyond graduation.
From specialised bone laboratories enabling students to develop the analytical skills in assessing human and animal remains, to the Hydra Minerva Suite that contains three crime scene houses mirrored to reflect the complexities and subtleties of real life crime scene investigations; students in the forensic and police disciplines will receive expert guidance to apply their classroom knowledge.
In fact, the facilities are so renowned at UCLan’s School of Forensic and Applied Sciences , Mitch Curzon, Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation graduate said this was what originally attracted him to the school.
Combined with expert teaching and leading facilities, Curzon gained skills in the field, enabling him to be one of the first students to ever attend the Dr Henry Lee Forensic Institute at the University of Newhaven, USA for a Ballistic Reconstruction course, before succeeding in a range of internships and kick-starting his career.
“The combination of the above helped me acquire the role that I am currently in with West Yorkshire Police. The reconstruction course gave me a great talking point in the interview as it was unique during the recruitment process,” says Curzon.
“Studying and working on accreditation also helped me be successfully appointed as it is a very current topic within all police forces/forensic service providers.”
Every course is focused on providing you with the breadth of knowledge and critical application necessary to progress your influence in a range of fields beyond your studies. This school curates innovative programmes that break the mould from traditional forensic and policing courses.
Sarah Margarson, MSc Financial Investigation graduate, says: “UCLan is one of only two universities to provide this particular Master’s. This qualification is the first and most important stepping stone to my future. Without it, I would not have achieved a successful career in such a short space of time.”
Thanks to the course, Margarson secured an internship with Martin Kenney & Co, a law firm which usually reserves its internship program for Harvard graduates. Soon after, she found a position at the UK Serious Fraud Office in London.
“Ordinarily we only take interns from Harvard University Law School, USA, priding ourselves on being able to attract the best possible candidates,” explains Martin Kenney, a managing partner of the firm.
“[But] Sarah’s qualifications were ideally suited to the Investigation Unit and their role, and we have thoroughly enjoyed her stay with us. She is a credit to the university, her family and herself.”
If you’re considering a career in forensics or policing, or want to gain an interdisciplinary degree which combines scientific investigation with law, discover the postgraduate and undergraduate opportunities available at UCLan