Master of Science in Forensic Science

This programme is designed for graduates with a Bachelor’s degree who would like to pursue a postgraduate degree or enhance their knowledge in Forensic Science. This M.Sc. in Forensic Science course aims to provide students with the understanding of fundamental concepts and principles behind the application of scientific techniques used in forensic investigations.

Besides the fundamental knowledge, this course aims to provide multidisciplinary knowledge in various branches of forensic science such as forensic digital evidence, forensic defense science, advanced crime scene investigation and, forensic psychiatry and psychology.

This programme will train students to think analytically and strategically about crime and forensic science and equip them with transferable skills that are suitable for a wide range of careers.

The M.SC. in Forensic Science aims to equip its participants with the key knowledge and capabilities to:

  • Understand the fundamental concepts and principles behind the application of scientific techniques to forensic investigations and to the criminal justice system
  • Explore the different basic and advanced techniques used in forensic investigation
  • Enhance hands-on advanced problem solving skills by applying the knowledge gained to come up with innovative solutions to problems related to forensic science

Applicants seeking admission to this programme must possess either of the following qualifications:

1. A Bachelor’s degree in relevant disciplines (with Honours or its equivalent); or
2. A Bachelor’s degree in relevant disciplines with at least 2 years of relevant work experience; or
3. A Bachelor’s degree with a relevant Graduate Certificate with a minimum CAP of 3.00

The relevant disciplines would be Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geography, Law, Pharmacy, Physics, Probability and Statistics, Psychology and Social Work.

The relevant work experience considered would be in industries such as enforcement, investigations, front line forensics officers such as CSI, paralegal, forensic science laboratory officers, underwriters, forgery investigators and etc.

Applicants from countries whose native tongue is not English or whose tertiary education is not conducted in English must have a TOEFL score of ≥85 (Internet-based) or a IELTS score of ≥ 6.0.

The M.Sc. in Forensic Science is a 40-modular credit programme. The programme can be completed full-time over one year (two semesters) or part-time over two years (four semesters) with a maximum candidature of two years for full-time students and four years for part-time students.

Students need to complete six modules comprising of one essential module and five elective modules with a workload of 4 modular credits each and one research project module (16 modular credits) which is equivalent to four coursework modules.

Students have to fulfill the following requirements:

1. Read and pass the essential module FSC5101 Survey of Forensic Science (4MCs)
2. Read and pass any 5 elective modules (20MCs) from the following list:

FSC5201 Advanced CSI Techniques (4MCs)
FSC5202 Forensic Defense Science (4MCs)
FSC5203 Digital Forensic Investigation (4MCs)
FSC5204 Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology (4MCs)
FSC5205 Forensic Science in Major Cases (4MCs)
* SP4261 Articulating Probability and Statistics in Court (4MCs)
* SP4262 Forensic Human Identification (4MCs)
* SP4263 Forensic Toxicology and Poision (4MCs)
* SP4264 Criminalistics: Evidence and Proof (2MCs)
* SP4265 Criminalistics: Forgery Exposé with Forensic Science (2MCs)
* LL4362V Advanced Criminal Litigation – Forensics on Trial (5MCs)
* IFS4102 Digital Forensics (4MCs)
* SP4266 Forensic Entomology

* Please note that only a maximum of 2 level-4000 elective modules (8MCs) can be taken in place of 2 level-5000 elective modules

3. Complete the research project module FSC5199 Research Project in Forensic Science (16MCs)
4. Obtain a minimum Cumulative Average Point (CAP) of 3.00

For continuation of candidature, a student must obtain satisfactory progress during his/her candidature.

  1. Academic warnings will be issued to students if their CAP falls below 3.0 (but ≥2.50); and
  2. Dismissal will be issued to students if their CAP falls below 2.50 for two consecutive semesters of study; or CAP below 3.00 (but ≥2.50) for three consecutive semesters of study.

 

To be awarded the M.Sc. (by coursework) in Forensic Science, the student must successfully complete a programme of study consisting of at least 40 MCs with a minimum CAP of 3.00, which consist of the following:

  1. 24 MCs from the prescribed essential and elective modules list
  2. 16 MCs from the module FSC5199 Research Project in Forensic Science

ESSENTIAL MODULES

FSC5101 Survey of Forensic Science (4MCs)

This is a Masters-level course which provides an in-depth survey of the major fields in Forensic Sciences, Criminalistics, Crime Scene Procedures and Documentation and co-relate them to the local context. This course will also look at how forensic evidence is identified, collected, documented and utilised in our Courts. The teaching objective is to provide students with an understanding of forensic science and criminalistics and to prepare them for advanced modules in these fields.

ELECTIVE MODULES

FSC5201 Advanced CSI Techniques (4MCs)

In the courtroom, the presentation of key evidence is important to securing a conviction or acquittal. Anyone can take a photograph, but not everyone possess the ability to take photographs of examinable quality and admissible in legal proceedings. This module covers the management of forensic evidence in Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) and will be delivered by domain experts from the Criminal Investigation Department of the Singapore Police Force. Aspiring investigation officers or forensic scientists will be able to conduct forensic documentation and photography, as well as to learn the internationally established scientific methodology applied in the forensic process of analysis, comparison and evaluation of matching friction ridge pattern evidence.

FSC5202 Forensic Defense Science (4MCs)

This module brings in cross-disciplinary practical expertise from the Unconventional Threats Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which acts as our first line of defence against terrorism to detect threats from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials (CBRNE threat materials). Effective anti-terrorism measures utilising new methodologies customised and optimised for forensic use in order to provide fast and accurate detection and identification of CBRNE threat materials will be shared. Students will get the rare opportunity to experience first-hand the applications learnt at MHA’s operational forensic laboratories at checkpoints. Relevant underlying scientific principles will be augmented by internal faculty members. Students will also be exposed to a holistic view of the laws and international conventions involving CBRNE threat materials.

FSC5203 Digital Forensic Investigation (4MCs)

As processes and transactions become increasingly more streamlined using technology, digital forensics rises to be of paramount significance in the context of digital incident investigation. It is an essential methodology and skillset for an effective and efficient analysis of voluminous varieties of digital sources to identify key evidence for investigation and court cases. This module examines the role of digital evidence in the forensic process and demonstrates the skillsets applied to conduct digital forensic investigations.

FSC5204 Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology (4MCs)

Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology are gaining importance in Medicolegal cases where evidence by psychiatry and psychology experts contribute to important legal judgements with a direct bearing on sentences that are imposed on accused persons. This is complicated by the imprecise nature of Psychiatry and Psychology, compared to other branches of Science. This module aims to educate on the skill sets and limitations of Forensic Psychiatric and Psychological practice and how they contribute to legal jurisprudence.

FSC5205 Forensic Science in Major Cases (4MCs)

In recent years, Singapore courts have increasingly relied on forensic evidence, which is considered objective and corroborative of other evidence as compared to the testimony of eyewitnesses and confessions of accused persons, which have at times proved to be unreliable. Forensic evidence also plays a very important role in the assessment of sufficiency of evidence in major cases in Singapore. This module serves the capstone role in which students utilise knowledge and skills gained in preceding forensic science modules to conduct in-depth analysis of major cases in Singapore such as murders and rape, and appreciate how forensic science had decisively shaped the outcome of these cases.

SP4261 Articulating Probability and Statistics in Court (4MCs)

Prerequisite(s): LSM1306 Forensic Science or with department approval

Probability and statistics provide powerful tools for quantifying the weight of forensic evidence. These quantities often come along with associated assumptions and need to be interpreted and articulated in a manner that is easily understood. Students will learn the necessary probability and statistical techniques in quantifying forensic evidence and error evaluation metrics. The fallacies and errors in interpreting results of selected forensic topics such as paternity testing and representative drug sampling will be covered. Additionally, students will learn the art of articulating these quantitative findings to non-scientists through real case studies involving DNA evidence, illegal drugs, forensic toxicology and criminalistics.

SP4262 Forensic Human Identification (4MCs)

Prerequisite(s): LSM1306 Forensic Science or with department approval

Ever wondered how DNA Evidence makes its way from the crime scene to the courtroom? This module is delivered in an interactive seminar-style format, where students will experience first-hand challenges and practical usage relating to Forensic DNA Evidence. Students will undergo practicals to learn the entire chain of forensic DNA techniques, from collection, characterisation, and storage to processing DNA Evidence. Students will also play the role of expert witnesses for the prosecution or defence based on evidence gathered at mock trials. Students will appreciate the importance of DNA as part of a toolkit used for individualisation in forensic investigations.

SP4263 Forensic Toxicology and Poisons (4MCs)

Prerequisite(s): LSM1306 Forensic Science or with department approval

Preclusion: LSM4211 Toxicology

Ever wondered how much of the coffee you consumed is subsequently metabolised? Find out using forensic toxicology! This multi-disciplinary module aims to support medical and legal investigation into the cause of death, poisoning and adverse responses to substances. Drawing from the foundational principles in toxicokinetics, students will be able to (1) study the physicochemical properties of substances and their effect(s) on the host and (2) consider the toxicological outcomes of exposure due to the unique handling of substances by organ systems. The lectures will conclude with real-life applications led by practitioners.

SP4264 Criminalistics: Evidence and Proof (2MCs)

Prerequisite(s): LSM1306 Forensic Science or with department approval

The central dogma of Forensic Science is “every contact leaves a trace”, popularly known as the Locard’s principle. However, in reality, juxtaposed against this central dogma is that evidence of absence is not necessary absence of evidence. To scintillate the bridge between science and law, which is exactly what forensic science is, this interactive module will be taught in three parts, 1) proof beyond a reasonable doubt; 2) not all evidence are proof; and 3) evidence of absence is not absence of evidence.

SP4265 Criminalistics: Forgery Expose with Forensic Science (2MCs)

Prerequisite(s): LSM1306 Forensic Science or with department approval

Forgery is a perennial problem and exists everywhere – in fake jewellery, counterfeit medications, fake death to scam insurance, fake signatures. The question this module seeks is how do we use forensic science to expose forgery for justice to be meted out. Students will learn fundamental scientific concepts and will apply them in case studies, such as establishing anachronism in cheques and wills; determining whether the person is dead or alive when an insurance payout for his death was made and if the gold bars which were stolen were indeed gold.

LL4362V Advanced Criminal Litigation – Forensics On Trial (5MCs)

Forensic science can play a large part in criminal litigation, from DNA and fingerprint evidence to the detection of forgery. Forensic scientists can play a significant role by presenting evidence in a trial, and effective trial lawyers should be equipped with the skills and knowledge to manage, present, and challenge forensic evidence. This interdisciplinary module brings law and science undergraduates together to equip them with key communication and analytical skills to present forensic evidence in Court in the most effective way. Key topics covered include advanced trial techniques, the law of evidence, and aspects of forensic science.

IFS4102 Digital Forensics (4MCs)

Prerequisite(s): CS3235

Digital forensics encompasses the recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices in relation to cyber crime and other crimes where digital evidence is relevant. This module gives an introduction to principles, techniques, and tools to perform digital forensics. Students will gain a good understanding of the fundamentals of digital forensics; key techniques for performing evidence extraction and analysis on UNIX/Linux systems, Windows systems, networks, Web applications, and mobile devices; and gain exposure to available tools. Some legal aspects of digital forensics will also be discussed.

RESEARCH PROJECT MODULE

FSC5199 Research Project in Forensic Science (16MCs)

This is a compulsory project-based module for students taking the M.Sc. in Forensic Science programme. Students will conduct research on topics related to forensic science, under the supervision of a faculty member and/or co-supervisors with our industry partners. Through this independent project, students will gain hands-on practical knowledge in solving forensic science related problems using scientific techniques. The project is concluded with a written report and oral presentation.

AY2020/2021 

Pathways1

A) Direct Admission Route 

Full programme fee of S$45,000 (before GST), payable in equal installments over 2 regular semesters for full-time students and 4 regular semesters for part-time students.

Semester

Full-time MFS (before GST)

Part-time MFS (before GST)

Acceptance fee

$5,000

$5,000

1

$20,000

$10,000

2

$20,000

$10,000

3

$10,000

4

$10,000

B) ‘Stackable’ Route (including Graduate Certificate) 

– SC/SPR students may be eligible to receive course fee subsidies for SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) funded modular courses)

Module Type

Full Module Fee (excluding GST)

FSC5101 (Non-SSG subsidised)

$5,400

FSC5199 (Non-SSG subsidised)

$18,000

Electives (SSG subsidised)

Full Module fee (Excluding GST and before SSG subsidy)2

Level-5000 Non-Lab modules

$5,400

Level-5000 Lab based modules

$5,800

Level-4000 Non-Lab modules

$4,200

Level-4000 Lab based modules

$4,600

  • No scholarship support is available.
  • Student Service Fees is payable for every regular semester, subject to prevailing rates 
  • For miscellaneous student fees, please refer here.
  • For application fee payment, please refer here.

1 Students who have started on a selected pathway are not allowed to switch over to the other route. 

Modular course fees can be found in the Online Application Portal or course catalogue. For updates on SSF for CPE students, please refer to the NUS SCALE website at https://scale.nus.edu.sg/.

  1. 1. Read the detailed application procedure HERE. This programme has two intakes a year.
    2. Applications and/or payment received after the closing dates will not be processed for that intake. Incomplete applications will also not be processed.
    3. Shortlisted candidates may be required to sit for an interview. They will be informed of the details in due course.

    Closing Date

    • 15 March (online application system opens from 1 December in the previous year) for August intake
    • 15 September (online application system opens from 1 July) for January intake

    Kindly prepare the following documents/items to upload in the application system:

    1) A original/certified copy of Bachelor’s transcript in English translation
    2) A original/certified copy of Bachelor’s degree scroll in English translation
    3) A certified copy of TOEFL or IELTS scoresheet (non-English medium only)

    *TOEFL/IELTS score reports are only valid for two years after the test and the validity period should not expire before the beginning of the application period for the relevant intake for which you are applying.

    4) Recommendations from two (2) academic referees are to be submitted via the online admission system. Applicants should check with their referees and obtain their institutional email address. Email addresses from domains other than the “.edu” may be subjected to additional screening and filtering. Once applicant’s online application is submitted, an automated email will be sent to their referees.
    5) Curriculum vitae
    6) Personal statement about broad research interests, previous research accomplishments, and personal vision of future career (2 pages).
    7) Copy of Employment Pass/Work Permit/S-Pass) if applicable
    8) Copy of Financial Statement/ Sponsorship
    9) Copy of your NRIC/passport

    For enquiries, please email us at dbsbox37@nus.edu.sg