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The Joyce, Lady Waters School of Chemical Sciences

Information for students

Undergraduate advice

The Forensic Science programme requires that students have already obtained an undergraduate degree in science or have relevant professional experience. However, under exceptional circumstances students in four-year undergraduate programmes can request to take FORENSIC 701 or FORENSIC 702 in their final year. Please contact Dr Gordon Miskelly if you are interested in this option.

We do not prescribe undergraduate course to be taken as preparation for the Forensic Science programme, except to make a strong recommendation that students take at least one university-level chemistry course. We have had successful students with majors in anthropology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics, geology, medical laboratory science, pharmacology, and zoology. However, certain undergraduate courses are required for forensic science specialisations:

  • If you are interested in DNA analysis you should concentrate on biochemistry and molecular biology.
  • If you are interested in glass, paint, physical evidence, or drugs analysis you should concentrate on chemistry.
If you would like more specific advice please contact our coordinators:

Dr Douglas Elliot
The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR)
Phone +64 9 8153936

Associate Professor Gordon Miskelly
Building 529, room 308A
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 88338


Postgraduate study options

  • Certificate of Proficiency Courses
    The Certificate of Proficiency course provides an unique qualification in forensic science for professionals.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Science
    This programme of study is for students who wish to obtain a more complete knowledge of forensic science. It is particularly useful for professionals wishing to broaden their expertise into the area of forensic science.
  • MSc in Forensic Science
    This programme of study is for students who wish to perform independent research in forensic science 
  • PhD in Forensic Science
    Forensic Science is an approved subject for study towards a PhD at the University of Auckland. 

Find more detailed information about our postgraduate study options in Forensic Science


Teaching highlights

The forensic science courses are taught by University staff and by experts from forensic fields. The guest lecturers vary slightly from year to year. In recent years students have had lectures on:

  • Examination of crime scenes from forensic scientists and scene of crime officers
  • Sexual abuse cases from a member of Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care
  • Fingerprinting from a member of the NZ Police
  • Criminal law from a lawyer with the Crown Prosecutor's office
  • Oil spill analysis from an environmental forensic scientist

The programme liaises closely with the Australian Forensic Science programmes, and is represented on the Australian Forensic Science Educators committee.

Students are also made aware of local meetings of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society, which features lectures by members of the forensic science community.


Careers for Forensic Science graduates

In the last four years there have been approximately 4-5 positions become available each year for forensic scientists or technicians. Most of those positions have been filled by graduates of this programme. Many of our other graduates have chosen related careers or have decided to pursue further degrees.

Employment of our alumni (* indicates that person was already in that field prior to completing our course)

  • Documents examiners
  • Fingerprint examiners
  • Forensic scientists or technicians with ESR
  • Forensic geologist*
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Patent officer
  • Pharmaceutical representative
  • Police inspector*

Staff Student Consultative Committee

The University of Auckland has a formal structure for student involvement in courses. One part of this structure is the student representative system, where each class has a student representative who then meets with staff on a regular basis.


Scholarships and awards

Balancing the budget is important. Find out about fees, loans and allowances, and scholarships here, and get sensible financial advice on Scholarships and awards

You can also contact the

Student Information Centre
Room 112, Level 1 (Ground Floor)
The ClockTower Building
22 Princes Street
City Campus
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 87494



Prospective students: Registration of interest

Potential applicants to the Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Science and Master of Science (Forensic Science)  are required to:

Submit the CV and completed Statement of Interest Form on Applications for Admission / Student Services Online by 1 November