AP0724 - Forensic Toxicology & Drugs of Abuse

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn the core material relating to forensic toxicology and drug analysis and may include the evaluation and application of analytical toxicology and analysis of drugs of abuse to forensic science, theory of advanced mass spectral analysis, critical evaluation of current issues in forensic science, for example, roadside drug testing and the construction toxicology database construction using Microsoft Access
Throughout the module, the focus is orientated to existing, current and future research practices and draws on research experience from the module team i.e. post-mortem drug redistribution, tolerance, genotoxicity, analysis and interpretation. The module team will be expanded to include guest speakers as appropriate.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered to you using a combination of lectures, seminars, directed and independent learning. Formal sessions by the module team will introduce each theme and the associated assignment (formative laboratory or summative coursework/exam), which will include directing you to primary sources of material. The lecture programme will be enhanced by laboratory work that will be carried out to give you direct experience in practical aspects of these areas of analytical toxicology and analysis of drugs of abuse, which can be used to inform how you address the subsequent summative assignments, e.g. the parameters required for a successful database and addressing the current issues in forensic toxicology pertinent to the formal examination.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through active participation and discussion during laboratory practicals and scene house examinations. These offer a unique opportunity to fully understand the scientific theory underpinning the laboratory tests and the interpretation of your scientific findings.
All lecture and practical material will be available on the University’s eLearning Portal, supplemented with guidance on further reading relevant to the subjects.
Written assessment feedback will also be provided to allow you to understand how you performed and how you can build on this performance in subsequent assessments within your programme.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. You will demonstrate a thorough knowledge and critical understanding of facts in relation to forensic toxicology and drug analysis
2. You will recognise the issues at the frontiers of research in the technologies employed in forensic toxicology and drug analyses

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. You will design, synthesise and evaluate a toxicology database
4. You will critically evaluate advanced methods of drug detection and their implications in assessment of a drug related scene

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

How will I be assessed?

You will be provided with the opportunity to formatively attend laboratory sessions to experience forensic toxicology and drug analysis prior to attending a mock drug related scene and making their own judgement as to the most appropriate samples for collection and analysis.

You will also be provided with supportive sessions with respect to using the database construction software. A session with a pathologist and toxicologist will also be included to provide you with the opportunity to ask questions to professionals who would be expected to use the database.

The assessment will split between the construction and defence of a forensic toxicology database (50%) (I1) And a toxicology case assessment report (50%)
Feedback will be provided within the guidelines of the university regulations.




Practices & procedures in forensic science

Module abstract

This module is specifically designed to allow students to gain knowledge and understanding of the work of a forensic toxicologist and forensic drug analyst. Students will attend lectures and seminars relating to the theory of forensic toxicology and drug analysis and will be given the opportunity to experience first hand the analytical techniques used by these scientists. Students will also investigate a drug related scene, prepare a strategy for analysis and interpret the data obtained to finally provide evidence in a mock court trial. Part of the assessment for this module will include the design and evaluation of a forensic toxicology database for use by pathologists and toxicologists: students will be provided with the opportunity to engage with some of these professionals to aid with the assessment.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time
1 other options available

Department Applied Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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