Master Forensic Science
- MSc Forensic Science
- Regulier onderwijs
- 120 EC, 24 maanden
Studying Forensic Science at the University of Amsterdam
The Master's programme in Forensic Science, offered by the Faculty of Science, is unique in the Netherlands. The programme distinguishes itself from most international Master's programmes in Forensic Science by building on a range of scientific backgrounds and disciplines. The goal of the programme is to train good scientists, armed with forensic knowledge and professional skills.
Do you want to make your scientific knowledge socially relevant within the context of law and order? Then you should apply for Forensic Science!
Forensic science deals with the reconstruction of an event in the past on the basis of physical traces found at a (crime) scene.
A dead body is found in a harbour. The body is completely packed in black industrial foil, bound together with tape and weighed down with pavement tiles secured by steel cables and chains. The police decide to transport the remains undisturbed to the forensic institute.
Careful photography and recovery of the binding material is followed by unpacking of the foil. A series of investigations follow: an autopsy by the pathologist, blood analysis by toxicologists, examination of microtraces under the fingernails, examination of the tape for fingerprints and determination of DNA samples, fibres and chemical composition of traces. Later the body is identified by the tattoo on the victim's ankle, which matches the description of that on a missing person. Ultimately, a physical match between the victim's broken artificial nail and a piece of it found at the suspected crime scene turns out to be a valuable clue.
Forensic Science is a complex and diverse field with many different fields of expertise as shown in the example above. An ever increasing amount of information can be obtained from an ever smaller amount of material. Scientific research yields new developments all the time, generating more advanced methods. Researchers must, therefore, be able to combine forensic expertise with sophisticated technologies in an interdisciplinary environment. The Master's programme in Forensic Science brings together a range of disciplines. Students acquire forensic knowledge and scientific expertise that builds on knowledge gained during the Bachelor's programme. Our students have Bachelor’s degrees in a variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematics and computer science to life science and chemistry.
In our Master’s programme we train students to become more than an average scientist. We train them to be able to make a contribution to the forensic field by applying specialist knowledge in a forensic context.
The need for overview and guidance in the overall forensic process, from police investigation to court, is growing every day. Criminalistic reasoning and critical thinking are two skills that are essential in evaluating the forensic evidence in a case. These skills are trained explicitly within the Master’s. Next to that, the Master’s programme in Forensic Science teaches students to understand and communicate with all partners in the forensic chain.
Our lecturers are not only university professors, but also experts from the forensic field, as well as from the Dutch Police Force and the Netherlands Forensic Institute.
As a forensic scientist you can make yourself socially relevant in different roles in the chain of evidence - the route the evidence travels from crime scene to court room. You could be working in a crime lab, analyzing evidence that has been collected from the crime scene whilst making use of the latest analytical techniques. As a forensic expert you write reports to inform the investigative team of the lab’s findings and you could be summoned to court to explain your findings to the judge or jury as an expert witness. Or maybe the greatest part of your work takes place even before evidence is collected from a crime scene: you could be the researcher that developed the latest technique that is being used in the lab or at the crime scene.
No matter what your position in the chain of evidence is, as a forensic scientist you are working at the service of the judicial system, in an interdiscplinary field which develops rapidly and where the stakes are high.
Accreditation and degree
The Master's programme in Forensic Science has been legally accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that upon successful completion of the programme, students will receive a legally accredited Master's degree in Forensic Science and the title of Master of Science (MSc).
More information on accreditation and degrees is available via the links below.