Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taking A Forensic Scientist Qualification

By Frank Maldonado

Recently, there has been huge demand for courses that eventually enable students to work within the forensics field. Notably, TV dramas such as CSI have gained huge popularity and exposure to this profession. Consequently, the CSI effect is the term given for the much increased interest in this field of study. Traditionally, students would have to have gained an undergraduate degree in a science subject followed by a masters degree in forensics, to enter this profession. At the present time however, forensics can be studied at undergraduate level. The following information takes a closer look at a forensic scientist degree.

The legal profession rely on this profession to apply scientific knowledge to gain answers to certain questions. In this respect, this particular discipline can assist law enforcement agencies to establish guilt or innocence. When investigating a cold case, a crime that may once have been closed and is a number of years old, investigators rely on these specialists to analyze evidence. As such this enables police forces to either eliminate those they previously suspected or, incriminate suspects. TV portrayals of court cases often dramatize the role of expert witness' who may be asked to present evidence to the jury, offering information about the scene of a crime. 'Of or before the forum' is the meaning of the Latin word forensic, from which the word forensic is derived.

Students of this discipline may be required to hold a number of science based qualifications before they are to be accepted on the course. It is worth investigating, as entry level qualifications may differ between institutions.

Physical collection of evidence, incident scene investigation and lab analysis of evidence will all feature in expertise. Other areas of study might also include chemical and microbiological analysis and crime scene investigation techniques. Students that are interested in the scientific application techniques offered t the legal profession, might want to obtain as much detail as possible about the various courses.

Often institutions will offer specialist areas to students such as Forensic anthropology, which is the application of science of physical anthropology and human osteology (study of the human skeleton). This discipline is often used when victims bodies are in the advanced stages of decomposition and the cause and time of death needs to be established. And, forensic entomology, that is, the ability to use insect evidence to help solve crimes.

Introductory biology and chemistry, crime scene investigation, and quantitative science methodologies (describing, measuring as quantity) may normally be covered during the first year of study. Further information may be obtained from the university.

During the second year of study, students may learn about the following, drugs of abuse, analytical techniques, advanced crime scene analysis and investigation, postmortem processes anatomy and physiology and molecular biology. The final year of study may provide students with the opportunity for specialist areas of study such as forensic entomology and anthropology. During the course of the final year undergraduates may also gain further knowledge in fire and explosion investigation, applied analysis and toxicology.

Potential students should first discover what the entry requirements of the course are, prior to applying for a place to study for a forensic scientist degree. Some students may have already decided that they would like to specialize in a specific area, therefore it is important to establish that the university of choice provides such options. Obtaining further information regarding a career, post graduation, is also advisable.

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