Emma Payne has worked in international higher education for 16 years in various roles, for the majority of student recruitment. Emma’s genuine warmth and passion about study in the UK comes through especially when speaking to students about their futures. Emma’s empathetic and sincere nature comes from her intercultural communication abilities to support students on a daily basis. Emma is from the UK and lives in the city of Hull, she loves travelling to India and misses the people when in the UK. She currently works as an International Recruitment Manager for South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa in the Global Student Recruitment Office at the University of Hull.
Forensic science is a well-established academic and professional field. As science and technology continue to push the boundaries of how forensics helps to solve crimes, enhance commercial security and provide answers through insightful laboratory results, career opportunities for forensic science graduates become even more extensive and attractive.
Many choose this subject area with the aim of becoming a ‘Forensic Scientist’. Through an undergraduate programme, students develop knowledge and expertise in preserving and examining different types evidence which will help them to get started in their first graduate forensics role. Students also become skilled in biochemistry, molecular biology and physiology which opens the door to different career options such as toxicology and biomedical science.
Another popular career route for forensic science graduates is to work for the police or the criminal justice system as a crime scene investigator. Within this area there are many different roles open to graduates, from those who work directly on crime scenes, using their physiology, human anatomy and ballistics knowledge to those who work in forensic psychology to provide expertise on crime detection, the origins of crime and human genetics. There are different opportunities available for those who prefer to be in the action at the crime scene, in the lab or primarily desk-based.
Throughout their degree programme many forensic science students will also spend time in the lab, for example running biochemistry experiments and tissue biopsies, which mean more general lab technician opportunities, are also available after graduating. Students looking to pursue this field could also try to find relevant internships during their studies to help them stand out from the crowd during the job-hunting process.
Another specialism gaining more relevance in recent years is digital forensics, through which graduates can become data analysts and forensic accountants. Graduates working in this more office-based area use their expert IT and technical skills to recover digital evidence from different devices. They work in line with best practices and can pick out and analyse financial datasets in order to uncover otherwise invisible crimes. As well as working for the public sector in this area there are also positions available at security companies looking for graduates with a similar skillset to provide high-end security services to clients from different industries.
Other private sector opportunities include working as a commercial scientist, as a consultant or in scientific sales. Here strong fundamentals in forensic science can be a key strength for graduates who have gained a firm understanding of forensic drug analysis, amongst other areas. With an aptitude for problem-solving the business development and consulting aspect of commercial work should come naturally to many forensic science graduates, they also have the edge in scientific knowledge over their counterparts coming from a humanities or business background.
The final career path that is important to highlight is an option for any science graduate – becoming a science writer or a teacher. Science communication whether in the classroom, publications or popular media is important for society as a whole and any graduate who decides to take this career path will play an instrumental part in informing and educating current and future generations.
While the career paths presented in this article vary they all tend to attract and suit those with a natural curiosity and strong problem-solving skills. What’s more in a field that continues to develop, it’s likely that whichever career track a graduate chooses, new and future developments in the forensics field will continue to shape and influence their career in the coming decades. This makes forensic science a truly exciting subject to pursue.