Stiff standards

May 9, 2003

The report "Forensic courses cut open for analysis" ( THES, May 2) gives the impression that forensic science courses have arisen as a result of failing chemistry/physics provision rather than changing demand from school-leavers.

Many courses with forensic in the title may indeed have insufficient science content. As present and past members of the Forensic Science Society academic and education committee, we believe that external practitioners should oversee the development of forensic science programmes, their validation, periodic review and delivery.

Prospective students and employers need a benchmark against which to evaluate courses. The Forensic Science Society, in conjunction with universities, has embarked on a pilot accreditation process. The University of Lincoln forensic science degree is one of the three pilots. Links between forensic science departments and the police force/forensic laboratories here are not "tenuous at best". These bodies engage fully with our university on teaching, research and in providing careers advice. The Quality Assurance Agency institutional audit provides an essential check on the honesty of the university in promoting the programme and its potential employment outcomes.

Brian A. McGaw
Acting dean, health and life sciences

Jon Hanna
Director of quality
University of Lincoln

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