The annual study visit for 2nd year undergraduate students in the School of Chemistry, University of Lincoln, forms part of the ‘overseas field course’ optional module of the School’s Forensic Science BSc (Hons).
Students have previously visited the east coast of North America (the only such activity for forensic science students in the UK) annually for over 12 years. The costs of accommodation and other fees are paid by the School of Chemistry. This overseas field course aims to give students the opportunity to experience first hand the work of the forensic specialist within an international context. The module is designed to introduce students to laboratory and field work within an international context and for students to gain a global perspective of forensic science. Students can also familiarise themselves with the professional skills required to carry out this type of work.
Previously, students have had the opportunity to undertake the following excursions as part of their studies:
- Undertake an independent research project which aligns with the chosen theme of the visit and experience life in a major American city. The planned programme in New York included trips to the The Memorial Museum at 911 site – an outstanding record of all the events of 9/11 and extremely helpful with research data collection for student reflection and review.
- A day visit to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the most prestigious of all US colleges teaching forensic science, provided students with a chance to listen to talks by four experts on forensic analysis, tour the specialised laboratories and meet students from the US course.
- A further day visit to the The Office of the Medical Examiner provides students with an opportunity to spend practical time in a training laboratory, visit a major forensic toxicology laboratory (run by an ex staff member from the University of Lincoln) and listen to eyewitness accounts of 9/11. Students visit a forensic anthropology laboratory with a world-wide expert on the subject and view remains from real life unsolved cases and a lecture is given on how DNA has revealed the identity of some of the victims of 911 but the limitations encountered.
- The behind-the-scenes tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art allowed students to focus on the fascinating use of modern analytical science to detect fraudulent artworks and documents.
- Lastly, a visit to the Immigration Museum – Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island was designed to establish the background and context for a terror attack on NYC and the ancestry of those that live there. Aimed at developing confidence in the students, to raise awareness of forensic science importance internationally and to provide an opportunity to reflect as a learning group. Feedback from students was excellent, with many saying they appreciated the experience and also that the module had opened their eyes to new opportunities in life.
These overseas field trips have helped the University of Lincoln build strong research links with the US forensic science community and the expertise to establish and teach on the international Erasmus Mundus Masters in forensic science funded by the EU, as well an ongoing Visiting Professorship from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.