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Keeley Hirst

MSc Forensic Archaeology and Crime Scene Investigation

  • Crime Scene Investigator for West Yorkshire Police
  • Also studied BSc (Hons) Archaeological Science
  • Lives and works in Bradford
An image of a Bradford alumni, Keeley in her CSI uniform

Why did you decide to study at the University of Bradford?

I originally wanted to come to Bradford to study Pharmacy and I knew that Bradford was great for that but I didn't get the entry requirements. I came back the next year wanting to do a new course.

I started looking into Archaeological Sciences. It sounded the most interesting and I have always loved natural history. I then found out that Bradford was great for Archaeology, so that's what I decided to do, go back to Bradford and study a BSc in Archaeological Science, it's funny how things work out.

Why did you want to study MSc Forensic Archaeology and Crime Scene Investigation?

In my last year of archaeology, I did a module called forensic archaeology and I really loved that side of it, I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

When I found out the University of Bradford did a forensic archaeology and CSI masters course, I thought I’ll do the masters course and then decide what I want to do with my life. In doing the masters course I realised that the Crime Scene Investigation side was the most enjoyable and that’s where I wanted to go.

What is your current role in the West Yorkshire Police?

I'm a Crime Scene Investigator for the West Yorkshire Police. I mainly interact with volume crime scenes, which are residential and commercial burglaries, vehicle thefts and criminal damage. There can be between two and five of these crime scenes that I have to visit in one day.

It is my job to go to a crime scene and collect as much evidence as I can. I then have to assess and process all of the evidence.

How did your courses help you to get where you are today?

Without my master's course, I wouldn’t have got my job. The CSI job asked for a science-based degree, but when you look deeper into the job specification, it wanted an in-depth knowledge of examining crime scenes that you just wouldn’t get without doing the course.

Doing this course also sets you apart from everybody else, it's such a competitive field to get into, loads of people apply for this job because they’ve seen it on the TV. You need to have something that makes you stand out, and if you’ve got a masters in it then you’re going to already know more and you’ll starting off with a base knowledge that other people won't have.

What do you like about the city of Bradford?

It is a great city, I’m not from Bradford, I’m only from Huddersfield which is about 20 minutes away although I still live in Bradford now. I moved here in 2011 to start university and I haven’t left.

It's a big city with a small city centre that’s got everything that you need in it and I quite like that.

I like how it's a growing city. Since I moved here a lot has improved, there's the new Broadway Shopping Centre and they dug out Sunbridge Wells which is really nice. I really like all the independent bars on North Parade.

What was your favourite thing about studying at the University of Bradford?

I really liked how it was a slightly smaller University. I liked how everyone lives close to the university- with Bradford, the halls are right next door and all of the student houses tend to be in the immediate area.

It's such an inclusive University when it comes to communities in general. Here, you get a chance to know everybody.