Forensic science, the application of science to legal matters, has always captivated individuals with an interest and aptitude for investigation. Seen in popular culture through television shows such as CSI, it is easy to see how forensic science has captured the attention and interest of society.
The goal of the forensic science program is to provide a strong scientific approach to an applied discipline by exploring both the theoretical and practical aspects involved with forensics. The curriculum covers key areas required by forensic investigators, including, but not limited to: Canadian legal aspects, evidence and expert witness training, crime scene processing, case management, death investigation, biological aspects (DNA, anthropology, entomology, odontology, etc.), chemical aspects (fingerprinting, firearms/toolmarks, photography/video/imaging, etc.), physical aspects, and a variety of elective topics.
There are core subjects that are required, whether you are pursuing an Advanced Certificate or a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree, including:
- Three legal framework courses
- One or more courses to give you the investigative framework for your work
- A number of elective courses to support your area of specialization and to provide a broader knowledge of applied management and/or investigative skills
A total of 24 credits must be completed to achieve an Advanced Certificate in Forensic Science Technology (Forensic Science Studies). Contact Dave McKay, Program Coordinator, at 604.432.8238 for the Advanced Certificate program matrix or for further information on this course of study.
If you are pursuing a BTech in Forensic Investigation (Forensic Science Studies), you will also complete:
- Several courses in liberal education, including critical reading/writing and ethics
- Courses in applied management
- More courses related to the investigative framework
- More electives related to your career goals
- A graduation project
A total of 60 credits are required to achieve this degree.
You will be learning state-of-the art techniques using current technology and tools. Most courses involve in-class lecture and may also include laboratory instruction as well. Working on case studies and projects will enhance your classroom learning, which is designed to give you the theory and knowledge that you will need on the job.
Several courses in the Forensic Science studies involve simulated crime scenes where you will apply what you’ve learned in how to properly collect evidence. You will gain hands-on experience in video and imaging courses using the individual workstations which are built upon the Avid Xpress Pro platform, which is the industry standard editing toolset complete with forensic filters developed by Ocean Systems.
As this program is geared to working professionals, courses are generally offered in the evenings and on weekends and occasionally in week-long daytime format. A few courses are available online.
Graduates from the Forensic Science option may be employed in a range of investigative positions, depending on the student’s academic background and work experience. This may include:
- Technologist, Analyst or Scientist (with an advanced degree(s)) in a Forensic Laboratory
- Police Officer (i.e. Forensic Identification section)
A credential – a degree or certificate – in Forensic Studies will be a good supplement to your existing education. More importantly, it may open new doors for you; possibly put you in a position for a promotion or allow you to transition into a new career area.
Perhaps you are a professional who utilizes forensic laboratory services and wishes to have a greater understanding of the collection and analysis of evidence. Or you are in loss prevention or security management requiring skills to analyze analogue and digital security footage. You might even be a registered nurse seeking the forensic insights to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to investigate crime, violence and trauma. Whichever career path you’re on, this program is for you.
Because our instructors are experts in the field, you will benefit from direct access to these professionals who know the job landscape, have good contacts, and can provide you with a realistic picture of related careers.
Potential employers include organizations such as federal and municipal law enforcement agencies, the RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services, the BC Coroner Service and a range of public and private sector organizations that utilize video/digital technology for security purposes.
Graduates are also eligible to apply to our Graduate Certificate Program in Forensic Health Sciences.
Dave McKay, Program Head
After completing his BSc in molecular biology at Simon Fraser University in 2002, Dave then pursued an advanced certificate in forensic science technology at BCIT, where he developed his passion for forensics. He combined his background in science with his knowledge of cinematography, photography and computers to specialize in the field of forensic video analysis and surveillance technology. During his 6 years with the RCMP, Dave testified in court as an expert witness in the field of forensic video analysis and surveillance technology on multiple occasions.
As manager of BCIT’s Forensic Video and Surveillance Technology lab, Dave oversees all training in the areas of: forensic video, imaging, cell-phone forensics, and surveillance video technology. Additionally, the lab acts as an authority on video and photographic evidence – offering its expertise on many high profile cases, including the recent Braidwood Inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski. Dave McKay and the lab were recently featured on the Discovery channel’s “Daily Planet”.
Dave McKay’s current research interests include the development of advanced real-time video analysis software, self-sufficient intelligent camera systems, and complex forensic databases for the purpose of linkage through visual identification.
Fiona Kerr, Program Assistant
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