Forensic Chromatography and Spectroscopy


To further understand the theoretical basis for chromatography and to use spectroscopic techniques to identify organic compounds 


The aim of this Module is to enable the student to understand and apply the theory and practicalities behind chromatographic techniques used in forensic science and to use spectroscopic techniques to identify unknown organic compounds. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Describe the theory of and techniques used to separate organic components 

2.  Explain how separation techniques are used in forensic science 

3.  Analyse spectroscopic data to obtain plausible structures for unknown organic compounds 

4.  Carry out organic separations and analyses in the laboratory in a safe and efficient manner 

Indicative Content

1 Chromatography

Methods of separation; paper chromatography; column chromatography; chromatograms-integration, calibration, response factors; HPLC; GC; GC-MS; LC-MS.  Thermodynamic and kinetic principles of separation.

2 Spectroscopy

Near Infrared spectroscopy; Mid Infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance; mass spectrometry; uv-vis spectroscopy. 

3 Problem Solving

Use of a range of spectroscopic data to provide rational structures for selected organic compounds. Forensic Science related case studies, such as the analysis and identification of fire accelerants or drugs of abuse. 

4 Laboratory Techniques

Carry out a range of separation and spectroscopic techniques in the laboratory on forensic related samples. 

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching is initially lecture/tutorial based but then builds into a selection of self-study problems with tutorial support. Lectures are informative, and are reinforced through tutorial and practical activities. Learning is enhanced by laboratory classes which provide experimental evidence to support theory and also the opportunity for students, working in teams, to experience and participate in practical activities allowing them to appreciate and reflect on the factors which influence the differences between theory and practice. Assessment is by laboratory report in which the students will interpret experimental findings and link them to underpinning theories. Additionally an examination is used to test learning and understanding, and intellectual and transferable skills. 

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 15
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 99

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.