The Department of Applied Science is multidisciplinary and covers the subject areas of Control and Instrumentation alongside Chemical Science.  We offer vocationally relevant degree programmes with a focus on practical skills to ensure our students are equipped with the skills that employers seek.   Our Masters programme in Applied Instrumentation and Control is accredited by the Institute of Measurement and Control and our BSc Forensic Investigation programme is listedin the top 10 in the UK in the Complete University Guide. 

Research in the Department spans control systems for electrical distribution networks and renewable energy sources, prognosis heath management, sensor development for the oil and gas sector, optical chemical sensor design and development, chemical condition monitoring of high voltage insulating materials and fault detection of mechanical machines. Chemical Sciences staff are involved in environmental monitoring, contributing analytical expertise for EU Interreg funded projects such as PILLS & noPILLS(pharmaceuticals in waste and river water) and also currently Phos4You; recovery of phosphorous from waste water.

Our analytical laboratories are well equipped with industry standard instruments such as HPLC, LC-MS, GC, GC-MS, Raman, FTIR, fluorescence, atomic absorption and UV-Vis spectrometers.  We also have a range of light microscopes, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and an atomic force microscope (AFM) all of which are available for teaching, consultancy and research based projects.   These facilities can be accessed to run professional training courses.  For example, Crawford Scientific, have used our lab facilities several times to run professional training courses for industrial delegates on analytical chemistry/chromatography.  This activity showcases our laboratory and equipment to the delegates/trainees who are based at companies both locally and nationally.

Head of Department

Professor Sheila Smith

T: +44 141 331 3552 E:

Undergraduate courses

BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation.

This degree prepares students for employment in a wide range of industries and focusses on theoretical and practical aspects of analytical chemistry of particular relevance to Forensic Investigation.  Graduates from the programme have secured employment as analytical chemists in the following industries: Charles River, MERCK, Magnox Nuclear, SPA Forensic Services, Public Analyst Service, Glaxo and as analytical scientists working in the environment for the likes of SEPA and Scottish Water. Other avenues include teaching as well as going onto further study by undertaking a MSc or PhD

Postgraduate courses

MSc Applied Instrumentation and Control.

The MSc can be studied either as a full time student or as a distance learning student if you are employed in a relevant industry.  Material is delivered through a blended learning approach.  Graduates from the full-time programme have gained employment in a wide range of industries, for example: Booth Welsh, Emerson, ABB, Howden, EDF Energy, INEOS, KBR, Mobil, Shell and Nigeria LNG.  The MSc has a global reach with full time and distance learning students on the programme coming from all corners of the world.

Department Highlights

MSc Applied Instrumentation and Control is accredited by the Institute of Measurement and Control.  Students enjoy free student membership of the Institute which has a very active local section where students can enjoy professional lectures and visits to local industries which have a strong instrumentation and control theme.  These activities help students build a professional network and can lead to industrial project placements.  Eligible students on the programme are encouraged to submit an application for a Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers (WCSIM) scholarship as GCU is one of eight Universities which are supported by WCSIM. Kenneth Moir is the latest recipient of this scholarship which he received for his MSc project work on 'Prognostics and Health Management of an Oil-Injected Rotary Screw Compressor'.

The BSc Forensic Investigation programme is currently a top ten programme in the Complete Universities Guide.  Students in the third year of the programme can apply to spend one or two semesters at one of our partner institutions overseas. In return we also welcome exchange students into the programme so all students benefit from international interaction.

"I had the opportunity to study at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland. It was an amazing experience that introduced me to a new style of education including less focus on examination and more focus on coursework and laboratory skills.

During my exchange I was able to travel to places I never thought I'd visit, including a visit to Lapland where I witnessed the northern lights. I became more independent, more confident and met people from different parts of the world. For anyone thinking of going on exchange I recommend it, it was an amazing experience."

Calum O’Dwyer (4th year student)

Feedback from industrial contacts supports our student learning approaching of giving “hands-on” experience with state of the art laboratory equipment which employers greatly value and acknowledge as a USP for the GCU Forensic Investigation programme.