Forensic Science Research Project MSCI - PS740

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
7 60 (30) DR D Arnold


Completion of Stage 3 Forensic Science to a prescribed threshold (50% average mark with no credits to be awarded by compensation).


School of Physical Sciences
Procedures for Projects Involving Human Participation

It is a University requirement that any final year project undergraduate, postgraduate or staff research project involving human participants should be subject to a procedure to determine whether ethics approval is needed. The procedure employed by SPS and the Faculty of Science are described here:

Undergraduate projects PH600, PH603, PS620, CH620, PS720, PS740 and PH700
Each project proposal collected from academics will include an ethics approval checklist designed to determine if ethical approval is required from the faculty i.e. does the project involve human participants. It is the responsibility of convenors to ask supervisors to fill in these checklists with students. If the answer to any of the questions on the checklist is yes please see below;

The following text will be introduced into the information pack or the handbooks of the module:

“Before you commence any work, it is important that the ethics of that work be considered; for example, taking fingerprints or collecting images of faces of your colleagues etc. Your supervisor will discuss any ethics issues with you and you should keep a copy of the documentation”

For projects involving human participants other than those conducting the project itself, students and their supervisors are required to read, note and act upon the guidelines available at to obtain approval from the Sciences Research Ethics (Human Participation) Advisory Group.

Further information on Ethics can be obtained from Dr Donna Arnold, SPS representative on the Sciences Research Ethics Advisory Group.



Students will undertake a project from an available project listing and will work under the guidance of a supervisor. The student will be encouraged to develop some level of research independence within the project remit appropriate of an M-level masters' student. The project will be assessed on a number of criteria which will include the project work (the amount, quality etc appropriate for the level), effort put in by the student, the preparation of a written report and an oral presentation session. The student’s progress will be assessed at the end of the first term through some form of progress report. This will also involve some degree of forward planning such that the students assess their own project requirements for the following term allowing the student to learn time management and forward planning skills.

• To conduct individual masters level research.
• To develop research independence such that the student can take responsibility for the research direction of the project within the confines of the project remit.
• To further deepen the student’s knowledge within a specific research area.
• To prepare students for independent research careers in industry or at PhD level.
• To further enhance student’s abilities for scientific communication through oral presentations and report writing.
• Time management and forward planning skills


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Minimum of 2 days per week for 22 weeks.
This module is expected to occupy 600 total study hours including the contact hours above.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

100% coursework, this can be broken down into the following;

  • Project report (50%) - this report will include a detailed account, analysis and interpretation of the experiments conducted in the laboratory including a detailed literature review.
  • Oral presentation (20%) - this presentation will be aimed at communicating the aims and motivations of the research conducted as well as presenting background information, key results and conclusions.
  • Supervisor mark (20%) - this will allow the supervisor to assess the students' progress and competency within the laboratory.
  • Progress report (10%) - the progress report will allow for the assessment of the project about half way through and allow for the student to assess their own progress in relation to their objectives as well as assess what is required moving forward.

  • Indicative reading

    Appropriate learned journals and texts as set by project supervisor and sourced by student

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

    Learning outcomes

    • To build on the research independence gained in year 3 as part of PS720 (Advanced Forensic Science Laboratory).
    • To establish advanced research skills at M level.
    • The capacity to undertake advanced scientific investigations, advanced problem solving and data analysis in a research environment.
    • Ability to communicate scientific ideas through presentations and written reports.
    • In conjunction with PS700 (Physical Science Research Planning) to gain knowledge of how research is structured and funded.
    • Time management and forward planning skills

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