University of Amsterdam – MSc Forensic Science
The Master’s programme in Forensic 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, such as computer science, physics, chemistry, biological sciences and mathematics. 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.
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, progressively higher standards are set for specialists. 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 that can be applied to help solve crimes demands well- educated scientists who are specialists in their own discipline combined with knowledge of the forensic context. Therefore, forensic scientists must be able to combine forensic expertise with sophisticated technologies in an interdisciplinary environment.
Studying Forensic Science at the UvA
The Master’s in Forensic Science offers an interdisciplinary programme to students with a background in life science, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and others. 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. Students study the fundamentals of forensic science together and will learn to understand the forensic process and the role of forensic evidence herein, dealing with topics such as hypothesis formation, data collection and analysis, integrity of science, and quality management. They will be trained in understanding the relevancy of different traces, the methods used to analyse those traces and the value of evidence they can provide.
Criminalistic reasoning and critical thinking are two skills that are essential to solve ‘the puzzle’ of a crime scene. 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. In order to fulfil the demands of the field, interdisciplinary communication and cooperation is of great importance in the curriculum.
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, whether as an researcher at the university, a forensic expert, or as a forensic advisor.