In 2019-2020 a new course will be added to the curriculum titled: Cybercrime, Digital Traces and Forensic Data Analysis. Data Science and digital forensics are expected to become increasingly important areas of expertise in the forensic field. This is due to the fact that new methodologies and techniques are expected to produce increasingly larger datasets and that the amount of digital evidence is growing exponentially in case work. Whereas at the same time there is a lack of digital forensic specialists. This new course incorporates digital evidence at the same level as physical traces and will be an obligatory for all students.
The programme of the first year provides students 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. Attention is paid to the statistical foundation for the interpretation of evidence, criminalistics reasoning and the importance and underlying principles of hypothesis formulation and validation. Furthermore, students will learn about the most common traces found on a crime scene and the scientific principles of the main techniques used to analyze those traces. As such, students will learn to apply the theoretical knowledge to forensic cases, e.g. in a crime scene setting and as an expert in a moot court. In most of the courses, experts from the field, e.g. from the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) and the Dutch Police Force, participate through giving lectures about the practice in the forensic field.
Within the different courses, attention will be paid to critical reflection skills as well as to problem solving skills. Students will learn about the role of forensic science in society and the standards required for scientific research. The personal and professional development of each student is addressed in the courses and supported by a portfolio, which students fill up during the year.
Another important aspect within the programme is the interdisciplinary nature of forensic science. Students will work in groups and will be stimulated to address interdisciplinary issues contribute to group work by putting their own specialistic knowledge from their bachelors programme into use.
At the end of the first year, everything that has been dealt with up to that point will come together in the casework offered in the course Chain of Evidence. This course allows students to work through a simulated case, beginning with practical forensic examination - e.g. the collection and analysis of traces - then providing interpretations of the data obtained and concluding with a written and oral defense of the expert opinion in a moot court, complete with prosecutor, defense lawyer, judge and counter-expert.
Every year our students organize a study trip for the new first year students. The study trip takes place halfway the first block usually early October. During the study trip we visit several forensic institutes and/or universities and in addition visit the city. It is a great opportunity to extend your forensic network and get to know each other. Want to know more? Follow the link below!
In the second year students deepen their knowledge in their 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.
Within the programme, special attention is paid to the link with scientific research. All students have to write a literature thesis and conduct a research project. In preparation students attend ‘Frontiers of Forensic science’ seminars organized in cooperation with the Research Centre for Forensic Science and Medicine (Co van Ledden Hulsebosch Centre).
Students finish the programme by carrying out a research project to expand their scientific and forensic knowledge and to prove their professional skills. This research can be done in the Netherlands or abroad, within or outside the university, a Dutch or foreign forensic institute, a police department or with other organizations in which forensics play a role. The topics span a wide range of forensic areas, from epigenetics to fire investigation to cybercrime and more.
A Master of Science degree in Forensic Science is awarded upon successful completion of all the core and specialization courses in the curriculum and a written Master's thesis based on an independent research project. This translates into a total of 120 ECTS credits.