Luke Ryde

Forensic Science MSci

The labs have amazing equipment with everything you need and the crime scene house is quite special.

Why did you choose Kent?

The campus is a very green, open space and has a great view of Canterbury Cathedral. I also thought the crime scene house sounded great and hearing about the ballistics module at the open day was very interesting and confirmed my choice.

Why did you want to study forensic science?

I’ve been fascinated by forensic science since I was 11. Science was always my favourite subject at school and one of my teachers, who also had a passion for forensics, encouraged me to follow up my interest. I also love watching crime dramas!

Why did you choose to do the integrated Master’s programme?

I thought it would be a good stepping stone between a BSc and a PhD. I haven’t decided whether I will do a PhD, but I think having a Master’s will also help to set me apart when I begin my career.

How is the course going?

It’s going well. Initially, there’s a lot of chemistry, but as I’d studied chemistry at A level that wasn’t too difficult for me. As you progress, it just gets more interesting and enjoyable, your forensics knowledge grows and you study other areas such as biology and law.

What’s been your favourite module so far?

In one of our second-year modules we were in the labs dusting for fingerprints, bagging evidence, swabbing for blood, it was very interesting and great fun. The ballistics modules were brilliant too, we learnt about guns and ammunition and how physics and equations are used in this area.

Are the lecturers supportive?

Yes they are. Chemistry A level is not required for the course so in the first year there was a lot of support for those who didn't have chemistry; online worksheets, videos, tutorials and forums where you can ask questions anonymously. Every lecturer tells you to get in touch with them if you are ever stuck.

What are the facilities like?

They're good. In our School, there is a computer room and study space where you can work with friends. And the library is brilliant, a great place to be if you are in need of somewhere to have a break between lectures and get some work done. The labs have amazing equipment with everything you need to perform the experiments. The crime scene house is also quite special as we have a space to perform forensic tests and the chance to recreate crime scenes in a dedicated area.

How do you relax?

We might play pool at Hut 8, which is fun after a long day of lectures. On a Friday after a busy week, we go to KBar to wind down and chill out. And after that, we might go clubbing in the Venue on campus or go down to Canterbury.

Do you like Canterbury?

It’s very scenic with its cobbled streets and the Cathedral. In my second year, we moved to the outskirts of Canterbury and every day during lockdown my friend and I would go for a walk in the city. We got to know all the side streets and little nooks and crannies, it was fun getting to know new places and finding our way back home.

Did you live on campus?

I lived in Turing; and it was lovely accommodation. There was a great view of Canterbury Cathedral from our kitchen window and the window in my room looked out on to a nice patch of greenery so I could watch the rabbits go past. It was peaceful and calming. Whatever accommodation you choose it’s just a short walk to lectures, I’d meet a few friends on the way and we’d walk together.

Have you joined any societies?

I joined the Forensic Science Society, which has a weekly meeting where they invite guest speakers from the world of forensics. It’s interesting because you find out what it's really like to work in forensics, whether that’s entomology or pathology. It also gives you a chance to start your network. I also joined the Golf Society, which was a nice way to meet new people.

How have your studies been affected by Covid-19?

We do a fair few assessments online anyway, so doing more wasn’t too much of an issue. For a while, although lectures were all online, we still went on to campus for our forensic labs. They were all COVID safe, we had our own individual bubbles, full protective PPE, coat, goggles, gloves, masks, etc. The lab was probably the safest place to be. Then our labs moved online. We all want to be hands-on, watching somebody mixing chemicals is not the same as doing it yourself, but all things considered it hasn’t been too bad.

As soon as I'm allowed I’ll come back to uni. As much as I love being at home, I miss being at uni with my mates.

What are your future plans?

I have always wanted to be a forensic science investigator and that hasn’t changed.

Do you think university has changed you?

I've definitely become more sociable, more resilient and more independent. Moving away from home is a big step but there is a lot of support at university, I think it’s a stepping stone, it makes you grow up but not too quickly.

What advice would you give to a prospective student?

I would say take every opportunity that you’re given, because you’ll meet new people and develop personal connections with your lecturers. I'm a student ambassador which means I talk to prospective students at open days, in-person or virtually, answering any questions they have. I enjoy it and it’s a good addition to my CV.