POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION

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1 POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION Programme Title: Forensic Science Awarding Body: Teaching Institution: Pg Certificate, Pg Diploma, MSc Staffordshire University Staffordshire University Final Awards: Pg Certificate, Pg Diploma, MSc Forensic Science Intermediate Awards: Pg Certificate, Pg Diploma Mode of Study Blended study UCAS Codes: N/A QAA Subject Benchmarks: Professional/Statutory Body: Forensic Science Society Date of Production: January 2010 Date of Revision: June 2010 If you require this document in a larger text or a different media please contact us. 1

2 EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE PROGRAMME To provide a coherent learning experience to expand the students' knowledge of scientific principles in order to understand the needs of forensic practitioners. To train the student to become proficient in the collection and analysis of evidence, especially from simulated crime scene scenarios (as undertaken by Scenes of Crimes Officers (SOCOs)). To develop skills in the operation of an extensive range of equipment and instrumentation encountered in the analysis of forensic evidence. To encourage team working for learning of both theoretical and experimental aspects of forensic science. To widen the experience of the use of VLE in the delivery of educational material and to develop skills in independent learning. To provide a forum for discussing forensic science on an international scale. To develop research skills and innovative thinking, especially in the carrying out of a substantial independent research project. Through the independent research project, to enable each student to become expert (to the level of the practitioner) in the understanding and operation of a limited range of analytical equipment. To develop the students' transferable skills further, especially in the communication and reporting of evidence in a fashion to be understood by the general public and scientific audiences. To provide an enjoyable (and value for money) learning experience. What is distinctive about this programme? The programme offers students the opportunity to study forensic science at an advanced level via a package comprising mainly distance learning modules with practical aspects covered by residential summer schools. The summer schools give the opportunity to use state of the art equipment used in forensic analysis. Students have the opportunity to study via full time or part time modes and to transfer between full and part time modes if their needs change. The course is taught by a mix of academics and ex-professionals/practitioners from a range of disciplines allowing both breadth and specialism as required within subject matter during module delivery. 2

3 The study can be completed in well defined stages, each of which on successful completion entitles the student to an award postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and MSc. All of these awards are accredited by the Forensic Science Society only two other UK masters programmes in forensic science are FSSoc accredited. 3

4 PROGRAMME OUTCOMES (See the document: Preferred Approach to Expressing Postgraduate Learning Outcomes) What will this programme teach me to do? At the end of your studies you should be able to: Postgraduate Certificate Critically evaluate methodologies of the collection and analysis of physical evidence from crime scenes and appraise their value in relation to continuity, contamination and preservation. (Knowledge & understanding, learning, analysis, application) Competently and confidently operate a variety of equipment and carry out techniques for the processing of evidence. This should include the integration of new approaches and ideas used to advance research and scholarly activity in forensic science. (knowledge & understanding, learning, enquiry, communication, application) Write expert reports, understandable to a lay audience, which evaluate the implications, value and limitations of results and demonstrate a critical awareness and reflection of current developments in the analysis of evidence. (communication, reflection, problem solving, knowledge & understanding, learning) Postgraduate Diploma Demonstrate an in depth understanding of the scientific principles behind the use of modern equipment for the analysis of forensic evidence - including an assessment of strengths and weaknesses, and propose developments to advance the forefront of and assist the practitioner in forensic analytical techniques. (Knowledge & understanding, learning, enquiry) Critically evaluate the significance, value and importance of biological information to forensic science, especially with reference to research into DNA-profiling, entomology and anthropology. (Knowledge & understanding, learning, enquiry, analysis, problem solving, application) Integrate results and information from chemical and biological analysis to derive conclusions that are understandable to the lay person and defendable in a courtroom. (Knowledge & understanding, learning, enquiry, analysis, problem solving, communication, application) Masters Devise and carry out a substantial coherent experimental programme in a specific area of forensic science to produce novel results and demonstrate originality in application, theory and practice, whilst showing compliance with current standards of safety and ethics.(knowledge & understanding, learning, analysis, problem solving, application) Produce an extensive independent report which demonstrates a synoptic and 4

5 systematic understanding of concepts and which relates findings and conclusions to current practice and research in forensic science. (Knowledge & understanding, learning, enquiry, analysis, problem solving, communication, application, reflection) 5

6 PROGRAMME STRUCTURE, MODULES AND CREDITS Programme Title MSc in Forensic Science Potential award = Masters Degree 180 credits PgCertHE PgDipHE PgCertHE modules + those listed below MSc PgDipHE modules + those listed below L E V E L 7 Teaching Block 1 Teaching Block 2 SHS Methods of Crime Detection (30 credits) SHS Methods of Chemical Analysis SHS Drugs and Toxicology SHS Independent Research Project (60 credits) Teaching Block 3 SHS Firearms, Firs and Explosions SHS DNA profiling and Analysis of Biological Evidence Teaching Block 4 SHS Practical Support 1 SHS Practical Support 2 Potential Awards: Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) comprises modules SHS , SHS and SHS Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) comprises PG Cert plus modules SHS , SHS SHS and SHS Master of Science (180 credits) comprises PG diploma modules and SHS Progression: Thus only applies to part time students who study different stages of the award in different years. In order to progress from one stage of an award to another (i.e. PgC to PgD, PgD to Masters), you must normally obtain a pass on all modules of the previous stage. 6

7 HOW WILL I BE TAUGHT AND ASSESSED? Teaching and Learning Teaching for the PgCert, PgDip and MSc is mainly by distance learning. As forensic science is a very practical based subject laboratory based learning is essential and you will have to attend laboratory sessions at the university. In these you will gain hands on experience of many of the important forensic methods of analysis. The distance learning elements are delivered online by a virtual learning environment (Blackboard). Here you will learn about the fundamental aspects of the theory and practice of a number of forensic analytical methods. You will be able to view all the modules you are enrolled on and read / download course material and also engage in activities such as quizzes and discussions. Blackboard is also the medium by which you can contact your tutors and submit assignments. In addition to the course material delivered electronically you will be supplied with some text books which give you general background information on forensic science. For the more in depth knowledge and appreciation of the subject that you are expected to demonstrate at masters level you will carry out literature searches and surveys to locate and evaluate recent relevant published articles on particular topics. For this you will have access to the libraries electronic resources by means of which you will be able to source a wide range of journals and specific forensic resources. The practical aspects have to be taken at the university where there will be laboratory classes in the summer along with the mock cross examination. Assessment Assessment is by a series of coursework assignments. The coursework takes a number of forms including essays, reports, analysis of evidence, role play and practical exercises in the practical support modules. There are 2 assessments for each 15 credit VLE module and 4 for the 30 credit Methods of Crime Detection. These normally take the form of a written assignment which is submitted electronically through Blackboard. In addition to the summative exercises described above there are numerous formative exercises which can be submitted for feedback and also a number of tests / quizzes and exercises on the modules on Blackboard. The practical support is assessed by submission of contemporaneous laboratory notes, written reports based on the experiments you have carried out these are a mixture of group and individual reports, and. At the masters level the only assessment is for the Independent Project. This is assessed on the quality and quantity of work carried out and on the quality of the final report and the level of analysis which is demonstrated therein. 7

8 The report itself must achieve a pass mark for a masters to be awarded. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Entry Requirements (including IELTS score) What qualifications would I need to join this programme? The entry requirements for the award are normally: a science background with a 2:2 honours degree or better in the chemical, biological or forensic science areas. Applications from those with different backgrounds are considered on the basis of the merits of individual cases. Those who have relevant work experience but lack a formal scientific background are considered sympathetically. Those for whom English is not their first language must have IELTS score 6 or higher. Disability Statement Staffordshire University operates a policy of inclusive teaching and learning to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to fulfil their educational potential. Details about how to apply to have your needs assessed can be found at: AWARD SPECIFIC INFORMATION Accommodation Attendance at the university is required for the Practical Support modules 1 and 2 and possibly whilst you are carrying out your independent project. Accommodation will be organised for you should you wish it, but its cost is not covered in the course fees. The accommodation will be situated within easy walking distance of the science labs. It is self catering and there are facilities for internet access. Further information about the award can be found in the relevant Student Handbook and on the University Website. This includes information about optional modules, student support, and academic regulations. ==================================== 8

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