Undergraduate Student, 1st year MSci Forensic and Analytical Investigation

An insight into the first year of my MSci in Forensic Science and Analytical Investigation at Keele University…

I started looking around Keele University in 2018 at the start of my Access to Science diploma. After attending all available open days and comparing what not only the university, but the surrounding area had to offer myself and my family, I decided Keele was the place for us. The sense of community from the residents on campus and the kindness and acceptance shown by the staff in the forensic science school helped me feel at home before I had even applied.

The campus is home to Keele Day Nursery, where my toddler was offered a place while I attend university. The staff at the nursery are again fantastic and wonderfully patient and welcoming. Along with this, I was able to find accommodation on campus for myself, my little one and my support dog. There is also a doctors surgery on campus for students, along with numerous food outlets, a newsagents, post office and a much needed Costa for that all important caffeine hit!

A huge bonus to studying forensics at Keele is the central science laboratories which were finished in time for the beginning of my degree. Along with this is the on-site crime scene house, along with an abundance of woodland for crime scenes to be constructed and processed. This offers a diverse range of scenarios for us students to experience and learn from.

The staff within the school are fantastic; all have an open door policy and make time throughout the year for those in need of a chat about work or in general. I have never felt more welcome in an educational setting than I have here.

One thing Keele is famous for is the grounds. It is so uplifting being able to go for a walk through the woods around the lakes and around the grounds of Keele hall, especially when deadlines are looming along with exam season!

Despite Covid-19 happening halfway through my first year, staff and students alike have adapted quickly and exceptionally. Support has continued throughout with services becoming available online within a short space of time. I honestly feel very reassured that in these uncertain times, I know my education is as important to the staff within my school as it is to me. Feedback, of all forms, is given throughout the year in the form of student voice rep meetings with a panel of staff. After hearing about the position I offered myself up and have thoroughly enjoyed the role. It has provided me with a sense of achievement and the ability to support the views of not only my peers but of our staff. Throughout the year I have seen feedback from my cohort being listened to and acted upon which is fantastic.

Lab experience is brilliant, seeing two labs of three hours a week in semester one followed by lectures going over what we have worked on. The hands on experiences offered are second to none and this year saw us first years working within the crime scene house for the first time in years! We would normally wait until at least second year so this was very exciting and provided an insight into what was to come.

Classes are taught using a mixture of seminars and lectures. I have found this has provided ample opportunity for learning the essential background knowledge needed to then go away and build upon via research in our own time. Most classes are recorded using playback – a feature which allows access to class content afterwards online. This is especially handy for going back and making additional notes and revision resources.

Overall, I am enjoying my time at Keele. The forensic science staff are like an extended family to me, which coming from a care background as a mature student with a little one is invaluable. When help is needed, there is always somebody there to listen, quite often with staff going above and beyond for their students. I am very fortunate to be here and have worked hard for this opportunity, and am very much looking forward to what mine and my sons futures at Keele hold!

Undergraduate Student, 1st Year MSci Forensic and Analytical Investigation