Rian Charles, BSc Forensic Science and Geology (2006-2009)

I choose to study my degree at Keele University for a number of reasons. I was unable to decide between Forensic Science and Geology as I had a passion for both and didn’t want to fully invest in one to then limit my career options in the future. Keele offering a combined honours degree allowed me to study two different subjects at a full degree level.

Unlike many of my friends at other universities I feel Keele was really invested in teaching rather than hours of self-study. I enjoyed the fact that I had a busy schedule doing two subjects and that a significant amount of my time was spent in lectures and practical labs. However despite doing over 25hours of classes a week I was still able to fully enjoy the university life, being involved in a number of sports clubs and on sports committees. The course structure for Forensics was great as it covered a wide variety of different aspects of Forensics which showed you the varying roles that you could be involved in, in the future. There was a good split between lecture based theory work and practical labs which gave you hands on experience to a variety of techniques that you would use in a Forensic career. I enjoyed that unlike some forensic courses you do a lot of work on the instrumentation and chemistry side of forensics which proved extremely valuable to me when getting a job post university, as if you decide to follow a career in forensics you will need to know the chemistry and how the instrumentation works in great detail.

The facilities in the labs were above and beyond, the instrumentation available to you to learn and use are more than you would see in a lot of working laboratories, additionally the use of areas such as the crime scene room and the ‘body’ farm field really allowed you to immerse yourself into what it must be like to be a crime scene investigator.

Additionally all the lecturers and staff at Keele were really supportive, very knowledgeable on their subjects and wanted you to succeed. They put the time and effort into the courses to ensure that you enjoy your study. I always found they were willing to assist you whenever you needed it and were focused on wanting to help you succeed.

Having graduated from Keele I have been really lucky to have had a fantastic career in forensics and now in UK Policing. I feel that the skills and knowledge I obtained from my degree really assisted me in be successful in a career in forensics. Having left Keele I managed to secure a role with the Forensic Science Service as a Trainee Drugs Analyst. The instruments I learnt to use whilst at Keele I was using on a daily basis which meant I was able to progress quite quickly as I understood the methods being used. When the forensic science service closed I transferred to LGC Forensics/Eurofins Forensics where I progressed to be a Senior Drugs Scientist and was able to work on a huge variety of work, run a small team in intelligence work and set up a forensic testing laboratory for the Met police. The skills in attention to detail, intelligence gathering and patience that I learnt through my time at university and my 9 years in forensics lead to me currently moving away from traditional forensics into the role of an intelligence analyst at the Met police.

Rian Charles, BSc Forensic Science and Geology
Current Employment: Intelligence Analyst, Metropolitan Police Service