Seeing the big picture - a sharp eye for detail
The forensic field is complex and becoming more so every day. Forensic science is the area of science that deals with the analysis of traces left behind at a (crime) scene. To reconstruct events from the past, forensic questions have to be answered using information that can be obtained from a wide variety of traces, e.g. DNA, digital traces, fingerprints, explosives, etc. The evidential value of these traces is determined by the use of statistical methods. The number of disciplines that come together, both at the crime scene and during the subsequent investigation, is widening, and the competencies required are becoming ever more specialised. The need for overview and guidance of the overall process is growing proportionally.
As methods and techniques become increasingly refined, specialists require meeting progressively higher standards. Not only must they continually deepen their own specialism, but they must also interact with other specialists in a creative and driven way. The development of new scientific methods for helping solve crimes demands well-educated scientists, who are specialists in their own discipline and have knowledge of the forensic context. Therefore, forensic scientists must be able to combine forensic expertise with sophisticated technologies in an interdisciplinary environment.
Meet Asim and Romy, both students of the Master's programme in Forensic Science. Alumnus and PhD student Nick will tell you about his research on Bloodstain Pattern Analysis for the Netherlands Forensic Institute. And professor Maurice Aalders talks about the Forensic Science research within the UvA.
The study programme
The programme of the first year provides you with the theoretical foundation of forensic science: the forensic process from crime scene to court, including the players and their roles, the judicial context and the quality requirements within the process. Also in the first year, we will go on a study trip to meet other forensic institutions in Europe. In the second year, you deepen your knowledge in your Bachelor’s discipline by following advanced forensic courses and courses from other Master‘s programmes at the Faculty of Science as part of a specialisation. You will write a literature thesis and conduct a research project of six months.
During your Master's in Forensic Science, you will work closely with many lecturers who are influential in their field. The programme is acknowledged for its innovative research methods and close collaboration with other disciplines. Our professors are known as the authorities in the field of Forensic Science.
After a year of learning about the forensic framework followed by a year of specialisation in your own scientific background, you have the knowledge and skills to continue as a researcher (doing a forensic PhD) at the university, or as a forensic expert at forensic institutes or police force, or as a forensic advisor/coordinator/consultant at court, police force or IT companies. Your disciplinary specialisation also gives you the opportunity to continue with a PhD in a particular scientific discipline, or to work as a researcher at research institutes and companies.
Is Forensic Science the right Master's for you?
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.
- Applicants must hold a Bachelor's degree in life sciences, exact sciences, natural sciences, computer sciences, engineering or other beta related fields (see overview below for examples).