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Forensic Art


Forensic art encompasses a wide range of subjects, notably facial anthropology and identification, such as two and three-dimensional facial reconstruction, craniofacial superimposition, post-mortem depiction, composite art and age progression.

This highly innovative one-year taught Masters course will encompass all these fields, employing highly specialised tutors from scientific backgrounds alongside experienced forensic art supervisors.

Closing date: For entry Sept 2014, apply before 18th July 2014, if you need a visa to study in the UK

Why study Forensic Art at Dundee?

Forensic Art is the presentation of visual information in relation to legal procedures. A forensic artist may aid in the identification or location of victims of crime, missing persons or human remains, and may facilitate the identification, apprehension or conviction of criminals.

Forensic artists require technical and conceptual art skills alongside comprehensive medical and anatomical knowledge.

What's so good about studying Forensic Art at Dundee?

You will benefit from the facilities of a well-established art college, whilst appreciating the newly-refurbished laboratories, a dedicated library and access to human material in a modern medical science environment.

The award-winning staff in the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) are amongst the most experienced in the UK in the fields of human identification, forensic anthropology, craniofacial identification and the study of the human body. The core remit of the Centre is the study of anatomy and staff deliver high quality anatomy teaching at all levels, via whole body dissection which allows students to develop a sound knowledge of the human body.

The Centre was awarded a prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in November 2013. Presented in recognition of 'world class excellence', the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are among the most highly-regarded awards for the UK’s universities and colleges.


Short term internships in forensic and medical institutes throughout the world will be offered to selected students following graduation. Internship institutes offer these internships based on the reputation of the course and its tutors and include the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), USA; the Turkish Police Forensic Laboratory, Ankara and Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

Who should study this course?

This course will benefit artists with specific interests in the medical and forensic applications of visual art.

It will also provide a postgraduate qualification for police artists, and medical artists working in the NHS, who are seeking validation or further specialisation of existing skills to conform with medico-legal procedures and for registration with relevant professional bodies.

"The computer software training on the MSc has better equipped me with the skills I need to undertake this project as the image modifications are all computer generated. Alongside this, the knowledge I gained on facial anatomy and morphology on the course has been invaluable in contributing towards the finished images of the faces for the project."
Sarah Shrimpton, MSc Forensic Art

Learn more about the course by watching our video below:

Related courses

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by staff based in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID).

The MSc will be taught full-time over one year (September to August).

How you will be taught

The course is delivered using traditional methods including lectures, practical studio sessions and small group discussions with an encouragement into debate and theoretical solutions to current problems.

What you will study

Forensic Art students study:

Semester 1 (60 credits)

  • Anatomy - Head and Neck
  • Life Art
  • Digital Media Practice
  • Research Training
  • Facial Analysis and Imaging

Semester 2 (60 credits)

  • Medico-legal Ethics
  • Depiction and Identification of the Dead
  • Depiction and Identification of the Living

Semester 3 (60 credits) - dissertation resulting from a research project undertaken either at the university or as a placement.

On successful completion of Semesters 1 and 2 there is an exit award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Art.

How you will be assessed

The Anatomy and Facial Analysis and Imaging modules will be assessed by spot-tests, practical examinations and coursework. Medico-legal ethics will be assessed by both a written exam and coursework. All other modules will be assessed by coursework.


This programme aims to provide professional vocational training to underpin your first degree, so that you can enter employment at the leading edge of your discipline. Career opportunities in forensic art are varied and will depend on individual background and interests.

In forensic art, potential careers exist within the police force and overseas law enforcement. Possible careers include:

  • Police art & design departments producing law enforcement documents, image enhancement, CCTV surveillance, image collection, staff posters and presentations.
  • SOCO/CSIs in UK or overseas law enforcement agencies
  • Facial composite practitioner and witness interview expert in police force
  • Archaeological artist working with museums, institutes and exhibitions
  • Facial identification services
  • Medico-legal artwork
  • Freelance art applications
  • Special effects and the media/film world
  • Academia – teaching or research
  • PhD research

Entry Requirements

EU and International students visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country.

First or upper second class honours degree in Art/Design or related forensic/anatomical science.

All applicants must provide evidence of artwork, in the form of a portfolio on CD, which you should submit with your application. Relevant professional experience will be taken into account if you have no graduate qualifications.

English Language Requirement: IELTS of 6.5 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English. Please check our Language Requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English Language courses.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes throughout the year and Foundation Programme(s) for both undergraduate and postgraduate students which start at the beginning of the academic year.  These programmes are all designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.  Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer.

The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

The 24 week Pre-Sessional programme (March – August) provides additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and the 10 week Pre-Sessional programme  (June – August) (October – December) provides specialist English Language tuition for students who are 0.5 IELTS below the requirement for their degree programme.

Fees and Funding

Academic Year Home/EU Overseas
2014-15 full time: £8,000
full time: £15,000

Sources of Funding

Information about CAHID scholarships can be found on the CAHID scholarships webpage.

Other sources of funding for postgraduate students can be found on our Scholarships webpage.

SAAS tuition fee loans are available for this course for students who meet the eligibility criteria. Visit our SAAS tuition fee loan webpage for more information and links.

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

How to Apply

Apply online, for full time study

Programme Director

Chris Rynn
Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 386433 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 386433 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 385893 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 385893 (from outside the UK)


Admissions Contact

Postgraduate Admissions
Admissions and Student Recruitment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 384 384 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 384 384 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 385 500 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 385 500 (from outside the UK)