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The M.S. in Forensic Science and Law Gains Accreditation

In 2009, the Master of Science Program in Forensic Science and Law joined an elite group of forensic programs, becoming one of a few at that time nationwide to be accredited at the master's level.

The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission, which is sponsored by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), awarded the designation in March. After an on-site audit and a review of documentation, the program received conditional accreditation last year and was approved for full accreditation at this year’s annual 2010 AAFS meeting.

Dr. Frederick Fochtman, Forensic Science program director, noted that the effort needed to maintain accreditation is ongoing and would not be possible without the support of Dr. David Seybert, Dean of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. In addition, the accreditation is supported by the excellent resources found in the Pittsburgh forensic community for internship sites, assistance with research projects, and general collaboration.

An immediate benefit of achieving accreditation was realized by two Duquesne forensic students, Julia Patterson and Alexis Smith, who received a grant offered only to students in accredited programs to support their research project, Collection of DNA from Spent Shotgun Shells Using dcDOP-PCR. View their research at the 2010 AAFS Annual Conference.

Students also shone in other ways at the AAFS meeting. For the second consecutive year, Duquesne students stepped beyond poster presentations to discuss technical topics from the podium; this year, they delivered six presentations.

“It is rewarding to see Duquesne students command respect from the scientific community through their quality presentations,” Fochtman said. “The level of professionalism demonstrated through the presentations is a testament to the quality of the program offered by Duquesne.”