Global Forensic Network links forensic scientists in UK, USA and Australia
The University of Leicester is launching a unique postgraduate course taught through distance learning by world-leading forensic scientists across three continents.
The new Forensic Science and Criminal Justice distance learning MSc will allow students from anywhere on the globe to learn from experts in the University’s Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Archaeology, Criminology and Law departments as well as from the University of Florida, USA, and the University of Canberra, Australia.
Course leaders hope the course will give students who are already working in the field of forensics the ability to gain senior managerial roles and expertise in the forensics industry.
The course will be led by Professor Robert Hillman, Professor of Physical Chemistry, and Dr John Bond OBE, a former head of Northamptonshire Police’s Forensic Science Unit, whose revolutionary technique for uncovering fingerprints from spent bullet cartridges was cited as one of Time Magazine’s top 50 inventions of the year in 2008.
The two-year course, which will commence for the first time in October, will consist entirely of online learning and assessment – although there will be opportunities for students to come to the campus at key stages during the course to meet tutors and fellow students and to gain first hand experience of the campus facilities and environment.
The course will, in the first year, cover the fundamentals of crime scene examination and interpretation together with an introduction to research methods. In the second year, students may select modules of interest to them from a wide variety of topics offered by all three universities.
Students may, if they choose, specialise in a particular area, such as analytical techniques, human remains and crime management.
The three institutions are part of the Global Forensic Network and are in the process of agreeing to share resources to enable students to have access to a wide range of forensic material.
Professor Hillman said: “The course is unique because no other institution offers the international collaborations that we do. By linking with the University of Florida and the University of Canberra, we can cover the full range of topics based on expertise from all areas of forensic science.
“A key outcome for students will be career advancement. We anticipate that most of our students will already be involved in forensic science, but probably at an entry level position. They will not be familiar with the underlying principles. The course is for people who aspire to managerial or more advanced scientific roles. It will also help to prepare them to give opinion in court and to act as expert witnesses.”
Professor Ian Tebbett, Director of Forensic Science at the University of Florida, said: “The University of Leicester is recognized as a pioneer in the field of forensic science and we are excited about this collaboration as part of the Global Forensic Network. Leicester’s expertise will significantly add to our goal of making quality forensic education available to those who need it most no matter where in the world they are located.”
Professor Chris Lennard, Discipline Head of Forensic Studies at the University of Canberra, said: “We welcome the University of Leicester to the Global Forensic Education Network and look forward to their contributions that will expand the range of subjects available to students enrolled through the partner institutions.”