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Forensic Science Courses
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Forensic Science Courses overview
Forensic science is the application of scientific principles and techniques to criminal justice. This commonly involves collection, examination and analysis of evidence for us in judicial proceedings. Postgraduate forensic science gives students the knowledge and skills to reconstruct crime scenes, interpret biological evidence and prepare specimens.
Elements of forensic science such as fingerprinting have been used for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until 1892 when Sir Francis Galton designed a system for classifying fingerprints that forensic science began as an independent field. Fingerprinting and subsequent use of microscopes began seeing more frequent use in the 19th and early 20th centuries in an attempt to see where bullet shells came from.
The present day has many more technological and scientific marvels available for use in criminal investigations. Forensic scientists now work closely with law enforcement agencies worldwide to track lawbreakers and bring them to justice.
Is forensic science for me?
Forensic science is an excellent way for those with a strong sense of justice and scientific acumen to reconcile their passions. It’s a career that utilises deductive reasoning and logic as a detective would while simultaneously making use of specialist scientific knowledge. It’s a truly unique career that plays a valuable part in keeping societies safe.
Forensic science can be taken up to master level. Each program offers different extents of knowledge.
Graduate certificates are a way for science students to acquire basic skills relevant to crime. Murdoch University and similar institutions provide units in crime scene investigations, homicide and death investigations, human DNA profiling and more. These programs take six months to complete if undergone full time, or up to a year part time. Prospective students need to come from a bachelor level qualification in natural or physical sciences, such as bachelor level forensic science, molecular biology, biotechnology or biomedical science.
Graduate diplomas offer a more expansive array of knowledge, taking one year of full time study to complete or more if part time. Western Sydney University and other institutions aim to provide a wide breadth of options for specialisation, with elective units in forensic anthropology, DNA analysis, forensic toxicology, pharmaceutical analysis, synthetic medicinal chemistry and many more. Applicants are expected to have a bachelor degree in natural or physical sciences.
The Master of Forensic Science offers comprehensive knowledge of the field, offering an enormous number of specialisation options. Students of courses from the University of Western Australia or University of Canberra can expect to learn about human DNA profiling, homicide, death investigation and extensive crime scene investigation followed by a dissertation or research project. This broad-spanning option is available to those holding a bachelor degree in natural or physical sciences.
Working for private investigation agencies are an excellent way to utilise qualifications in forensic science. Professionals in this field examine people on behalf of a private client. Companies like Lyonswood Investigations specialise in this sort of thing, requiring forensic scientists to aid in their investigations and discover any wrongdoing.
Crime laboratory analyst
These professionals analyse biological and physical evidence, utilising specialist knowledge and cutting-edge technology to deduce information about suspects and victims. The National Measurement Institute utilises these professionals to test and profile illicit drugs, which is done in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police.
The natural career path for any forensic science graduate is a career directly in this field, working for public forensic science institutes around Australia. Forensic Science SA is an example of this, sending forensic scientists across multiple government departments to serve a variety of functions in tracking suspects, hair testing, taking blood samples and more.
Forensic science is a broad discipline, allowing graduates to explore specialisations like the following: