Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Forensic Science

Subject description

Postgraduate candidate, Forensic Science, School of Chemical Sciences

Forensic Science is the application of science to matters of law. As our knowledge and technical expertise in science increase, so does the complexity and importance of the science presented to the courts in the legal system.

Forensic science covers a broad range, from the statistical evaluation of glass evidence to the development of new molecules to aid in the visualisation of fingerprint residues. Some past and possible future research areas are:

  • Field Science
  • Physical Evidence
  • Forensic Biology
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Environmental Forensic Science


Undergraduate Forensic Science

We do not prescribe an undergraduate course to be taken as preparation for the Forensic Science programme, except to make a strong recommendation that students take at least one university-level chemistry course. We have had successful students with majors in anthropology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, geology, medical laboratory science, pharmacology, and zoology. However, certain undergraduate courses are required for forensic science majors:

  • If you are interested in DNA analysis you should concentrate on biochemistry and molecular biology.
  • If you are interested in glass, paint, physical evidence, or drugs analysis you should concentrate on chemistry.

Postgraduate Forensic Science

The PGDipSci in Forensic Science is for students who wish to obtain knowledge of forensic science to augment their science degree. It is particularly useful for professionals wishing to broaden their expertise into the area of forensic science.

The MSc programme is for students who have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Science who wish to perform independent research in forensic science.



Structure and prerequisites

Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Science (PGDipForensic)

The prerequisite is a Bachelors degree in science or other relevant areas as approved by the Programme Director.



Master of Science (MSc) - Forensic Science major

The prerequisite is a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Science with an average of B– or higher or other relevant qualifications as approved by the Programme Director.

Requirements: Research Masters


Career opportunities

In the last four years there have been approximately 4-5 positions become available earch year for forensic scientists or technicians. Most of those positions have been filled by graduates of this programme. Many of our other graduates have chosen related careers or have decided to pursue further degrees.

Employment of our alumni (* indicates that person was already in that field prior to completing the course)

  • Documents examiners
  • Fingerprint examiner
  • Forensic scientists or technicians with ESR forensic geologist*
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Patent officer
  • Pharmaceutical representative
  • Police inspector*

Help and advice

For further information, refer to the Forensic Science Postgraduate Handbook.

You can also visit the Forensic Science website or contact:

Dr Douglas Elliot
Undergraduate Advice and Postgraduate Options
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 85860
Email: douglas.elliot@esr.cri.nz

Dr Gordon Miskelly
Undergraduate Advice and Postgraduate Options
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 88338
Email: g.miskelly@auckland.ac.nz