The study of forensic science provides a complex and interdisciplinary scientific training which includes, in addition to the specific subject matter, experimental scientific subjects such as physics, biology, mathematics and, above all, chemistry, as well as an important component of disciplines in the area of humanities (criminal law, criminology), medicine (forensic medicine) and electronic engineering (IT, imaging). The proportion of laboratory work is very high in relation to courses and seminars.
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Forensic Science
30 April. If you require a visa to study in Switzerland: 28 February.
At UNIL, the following Master's programmes are open without further conditions to holders of the Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Forensic Science:
- Master of Science (MSc) in Forensic Science, orientation Chemical Criminalistics
- Master of Science (MSc) in Forensic Science, orientation Physical Identification
- Master of Science (MSc) in Forensic Science, orientation Digital Investigation and Identification
- Master of Law (MLaw) in Criminology and Security
- Master of Law (MLaw) in Judicial Careers
- Master of Law (MLaw) in Legal Issues, Crime and Security of Information Technologies
- Master of Science (MSc) in Crime Data Analysis and Traceology
The courses offered by the School of Forensic Science lead to positions in judicial organisations (such as the police, laboratories and inspectorates), while offering broader prospects in the fields of public and private security (such as banks, insurance companies, security and inspection organisations, intelligence services, public authorities and sport).
The employment market is challenging and changing significantly with the widespread traceability of human activities, including the use of digital technologies. As a result, it needs a proportionate and structured approach to information processing in investigative and intelligence procedures.
Open borders offer the possibility of a career in Europe, despite numerous restrictions imposed by some countries (most European Union countries still require people working in the justice system, the police and the armed forces to be their own citizens). The qualifications awarded by the School of Forensic Science do not allow graduates to bypass the competitive examinations that sometimes form part of the selection procedure.
Career prospects depend partly on the choice of Master’s course.
Areas of activity
Cantonal, municipal (major cities only) and federal police services
Holders of a Master’s in Forensic Science can apply for positions in forensic identification services or managerial posts in various areas of activity (such as forensic analysis, training or management). Specialists in criminal law can also access various management positions (such as head of security, or even police commander). These are some of the most sought-after jobs and require the specific skills delivered by the training received. The development of forensic analysis and specialist units requires skills that are within the reach of graduates with a Master’s or PhD in forensic science.
Criminal law specialists are able to access positions as claims managers (employee level) or claims inspectors (executive level). However, the key skills required are the ability to manage, negotiate and interact with people, rather than advanced scientific knowledge,
Security is the main area of the banking sector likely to be interested in forensic science graduates. Management, organisation and dealing with staff play a preponderant role in executive positions. Prior professional experience or additional management training are often essential.
Forensic science research is evolving in parallel with scientific developments. New specialities are appearing, such as the use of DNA in identifying individuals. Research positions at the university are often of limited duration, but can lead to jobs in leading laboratories, applied universities or responsibilities in specialist units in the police, judiciary and public administration.
Other areas and sectors
Graduates with a qualification from the School of Forensic Science can apply for positions in public administration (for example, the prison system), private firms (such as surveillance companies) or large federal institutions (such as the Swiss postal service (La Poste) or railways (CFF)). Here, they will be in competition with holders of other qualifications, particularly in law or economics. Criminologists may, for example, work in the prison and probation services (in areas such as rehabilitation support or adult training) or security monitoring units.
Every two years, the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (OFS) conducts a survey on graduate employment, one year after students have completed their course. View the results for Forensic Science graduates online:
- De l’UNIL à la vie active (From UNIL to working life) – results of the survey for UNIL graduates specifically.