Taught course

DNA Profiling

University of Central Lancashire · School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course are a 2.2 degree in a related field or equivalent professional experience in the discipline.

Months of entry


Course content

MSc DNA Profiling is designed for graduate students and forensic practitioners. It will develop theoretical knowledge and practical application of the key aspects of forensic DNA profiling.

The course will be taught as a combination of lectures, practicals and self-directed study. Students on this course will study the fundamentals of molecular genetics and population biology that underpin the discipline of DNA profiling. The interpretation of DNA evidence will be examined in detail. This will involve the analysis of complex DNA profiles (degraded and mixed) and the statistical analysis that is central to the interpretation of DNA profiles and presentation of evidence. In addition to six taught modules students will undertake a three module research project which will develop research skills.

On this course, students will study the fundamentals of molecular genetics that underpin the discipline of DNA profiling. They will also have the opportunity to undertake simulated cases from the analysis of the evidence through to the DNA analysis and the presentation of a written report. The interpretation of DNA evidence will be examined in detail; this will involve the analysis of complex (degraded and mixed) profiles, and familiarisation with the statistical analysis involved in human population genetics, which is central to the numerical interpretation of DNA profiles. The research project allows students to focus on a particular area of interest and to implement the skills that they have developed over the previous months.

The course is structured into three parts :

Part 1 (14 weeks) :

  • Research Methods: Trains students in a wide range of skills including technical documentation, project design and management, data retrieval and analysis and technical writing.
  • Forensic Genetics I: Introduces you to the principles, methods and techniques of molecular biology and genetics that are relevant to current DNA profiling within a forensic context.
  • Forensic Genetics II: Builds on Forensic Genetics I training you in current DNA profiling procedures, techniques and interpretation. You will develop a critical understanding of the above within the wider context and investigate potential developments in this area.

Part 2 (14 weeks) :

  • Population Genetics & Statistics: Covers the principles of population genetics and the mathematical and statistical methods underpinning population genetic theory.
  • Expert Witness & Communication: Covers communication skills providing background and training in expert witness delivery, and the study of British and International Law.
  • Group Project: Gives you the opportunity to work as a team of forensic investigators setting up and validating your own laboratory procedures and process simulated casework. You will be assessed on the production a laboratory quality manual and case reports.

Part 3 (16 weeks) :

  • Research Project: You will undertake a laboratory based research project which will allow you to investigate in detail an aspect of DNA profiling that interests you. Following conclusion of the work, you will produce a project dissertation and give a presentation of your findings.

Information for international students

See our website for further information.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations25
Written coursework / continuous assessment31
Research Project44

Course contact details

Course Enquiries
+44 (0) 1772 892 400