Making the cut

February 24, 2006

It should be no news to anyone that there are a large number of courses with "forensic" in their title that do little to enhance the prospects of their students fulfilling any ambition they might have to pursue a career in forensic science ("Forensic body to dissect provision", February 10). Conversely, there are also some excellent undergraduate courses that do help students to fulfil that ambition. The Forensic Science Society (the professional body for forensic scientists in the UK) is in the final stages of developing an accreditation scheme for university courses in forensic science that will help prospective students to separate the sheep from the goats.

But none of these courses is likely to be of much use to prospective "Sam Ryans". Forensic pathologists in the UK are all medical practitioners. A medical degree is mandatory. An undergraduate degree in forensic science or forensic investigation would not be the most obvious first step in the 15 years or so of academic and professional training it takes to prepare a forensic pathologist for independent practice.

A. R. W. Forrest President, Forensic Science Society

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