• For Entry: September 2018
  • Duration: 12 - 24 months
  • School: Humanities
  • Study Mode: Full Time+Part Time

Have a passion for crime writing? Fascinated by the use of forensic science to solve mysteries? Study with world-leading creative writing and forensics experts.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Our creative writing and forensic science experts have joined forces to offer this unique course. It is for budding authors and scientists who want to write crime novels or non-fiction involving the use of forensic investigation and evidence.

Study for a creative writing qualification and enjoy the expertise of our world-leading Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. Our experts are leading authorities in their field.

You will get access to authoritative advice on how forensic scientists, police and the law work in the real world. Offering you an opportunity to learn about the forensic expert in a criminal court of law.

You will delve into the fascinating history of forensic investigation, from its beginnings in the nineteenth century right up to the present.

Your creative writing classes are delivered by experienced staff who will immerse you in the strong writing community in Dundee. Giving you the opportunity to meet acclaimed authors and publishers from around the UK and beyond.


You will learn how to

  • Work with world-leading forensic scientists and acclaimed authors.
  • Get the skills needed to create an imaginative piece of writing making use of forensic cultures, histories, investigation and evidence.
  • Gain a postgraduate qualification in creative writing on a course that is distinctive in its approach and teaching, highly creative, and designed to fit around your individual writing needs.
  • Become part of a thriving community that will immerse you in a richly creative and productive environment.
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Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Teaching staff include:

Dr Aliki Varvogli Senior Lecturer in English, Associate Dean for L&T, specialises in American fiction and teaches Crime Writing and critical approaches to creative writing at UG and PG level.

Dr Lucina Hackman is a Certified Level 1 Forensic Anthropologist accredited by examination by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. She is also a registered expert practitioner in forensic anthropology on the forensic expert database of the National Crime Agency. 

Dr. Anja Johansen Senior Lecturer of European History specialised in Crime and Criminal justice History, 18th-20th centuries 

Dr. Nandini Bhattacharya, Lecturer of History of Medicine and Colonial History, specialised in pharmaceutical substances in South-Asia.

Mr Eddie Small, Lecturer in Creative Writing

You will also have the opportunity to attend master classes with published authors.

What you will study

Core modules

Credit rating: 20

Legal systems, courts and jurisdictions, court structures and powers; expert witnesses and expertise; expert witnesses in court; managing novel and complex science in court; inquiries into death; interpretation of forensic evidence and evidence evaluation; contentious forensic evidence cases; miscarriages of justice; interpretation of forensic evidence and evidence evaluation; physical forensic evidence and the chain of custody.

Credit rating: 40

This module aims to develop your creative writing and so, in many respects, it is the core element of our writing programme at Dundee, establishing key writing practices and approaches that are designed to explore your creativity and help you to discover the sort of creative project for which you are most suited.

For those on the Writing Practice & Study programme these skills can be continued, if you wish, into Refining Writing and then as the basis for a Dissertation in Creative Writing.

Credit rating: 20


Students will write a piece of fiction or non-fiction that makes significant reference to elements of science used in a forensic context. They will also study some of the following:


The role of women in the forensic novel.


The use and abuse of forensic evidence in literature.


The creation of character and plot.


Questions of genre.


Two masterclasses with a published author.




Credit rating: 60

The Creative Writing Dissertation gives you the opportunity to utilise all creative, aesthetic and scholarly resources that are relevant to the completion of your manuscript and its accompanying introduction.

At the end of the period of writing and study in your area you will have gained the confidence and sense of ability that comes with postgraduate research activity.

This alone sets your creative practice in a serious, objective context that is a proper indication of your sense of yourself as a writer and artist – and gives you, upon completion and presentation of your masters Creative Writing Dissertation, a literary example that you can use as an marker for all other creative and intellectual work that may follow.

Credit rating: 20

This module aims at introducing students to the complexities of the historical developments in forensic science technologies. The successful student will acquire an understanding of the highly complex interactions which sometimes promoted, sometimes hindered progress in forensic science technique in the 19th and first half of the twentieth century. This involves asymmetrical access to knowledge; exchange, withholding and suppression of information, and with nationalist, colonial and non-Western aspects shaping knowledge and technologies.

The course will focus on the following topics as key themes:

 Science and crime investigation in the 19th and 20th centuries: Histories of collaboration and competition. - Production of evidence for criminal prosecution: different requirements for evidence in court leading to dissimilar discoveries.

  • Traditional techniques: bones and teeth; medical evidence.
  • Human identification: Linking bodies to individuals or collective entities (Lombroso, ideas of ‘the born criminal’ and Criminal Tribes).
  • Poisonous substances and their trancing: traditional knowledge and new discoveries in chemistry across the globe: Datura, opium, arsenic.
  • Bertillonage and anthropometrics;
  • A global history of fingerprinting
  • Photography as evidence: mugshots crime scene photography;
  • Development of forensic technologies around entomology, soil and dust.
  • New paths of scientific identification: Blood, DNA, Biometrics, the role of the State and surveillance.


Plus optional modules

Credit rating: 40

This module allows you to explore in depth the full range of your chosen author's works, whether it might be the Harry Potter series, Walter Scott's Waverley novels, or the poems of Geoffrey Hill. Other examples include: Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Robert Burns, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Joseph Conrad, Angela Carter, Paul Auster and Philip Roth.

In agreement with an assigned tutor, when available, the student or students will read a wide range of a chosen author's works, typically in different genres (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama) and over different periods of the author’s life.

You may also explore adaptations or appropriations of your author's works, including continuations by other writers or artists.


Credit rating: 20

This module introduces students to the study of professional detectives in Britain, Europe and North America from the 19th to the mid-20th centuries. The module aims at providing students with the skills and knowledge to understand crime detection in a variety of social, political and cultural contexts.

The course will focus on the following topics as key themes:


  • The early development of police detectives in Britain and France, 1840s-1870s.
  • The Private Eye from Vidocq to Pinkerton.
  • Social Investigation of the Urban Underworld of nineteenth-century London and Paris.
  • Professionalisation and scientification of crime investigation 1880s to 1914.
  • Institutionalisation of Criminal Investigation Departments.
  • Profiling the Detective: education, professionalization, and career.
  • The Politics of Professional Crime Detection in the 20th century.
  • Comparing and contrasting across the detective profession: between cultural specificities and functional necessity

How you will be taught

Your Creative Writing classes will be taught in small group seminars and workshops. Your classes for Forensic Science will be mainly in lecture form, and you will also have the opportunity to observe forensic experts being trained to give evidence in court, in mock trials assisted by our colleagues in the Law department.

How you will be assessed

You will produce a series of creative pieces, as well as reports and essays of criticism and analysis. We provide full training, some of it on a one-to-one basis, to help you with your assignments.

Our practice-based teaching helps you find your strengths. You learn to produce critically aware and creative work . You will emerge with a sharpened sense of literary and cultural life and have an impressive body of work.

You may work in publishing, editing, teaching, festival management and writer in residence roles. As well as publishing novels, short stories and poetry.

Students will normally be expected to have a 2:1 honours degree in any subject. Applicants with alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience may also be considered. All applicants should submit a piece of their creative writing. An explanation of the creative project may also be included with the application.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.5
Speaking 6.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are 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.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting academic year 2018-19
Scottish and EU students £6,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £6,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £16,450 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants
Fee statusFees for students starting academic year 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £7,300 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £7,300 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £17,275 per year of study
See our scholarships for International applicants

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the how to apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course code
Apply nowCrime Writing and Forensic Investigation MLittP060503

Course Contact

Dr Aliki Varvogli
+44(01382) 384418