The American Academy of Forensic Sciences has accredited the forensic science program at UNT, the only university in Texas to receive the recognition.
Accreditation will provide students and graduates with opportunities for internships, jobs and scholarships, says Teresa Golden, the director of UNT's forensic science program. It also will allow the university to draw the region's top students interested in pursuing careers in forensic science.
"Our students will greatly benefit from the accreditation," says Golden, who is also an associate professor of chemistry. "It will give them direct access and exposure to the many areas within the field of forensic science."
Undergraduate students who major in biology, chemistry or biochemistry can apply to the forensic science program. Selection is based on grade point average and letters of reference. To receive the undergraduate certificate, students take classes within their major, as well as forensics courses, including criminal investigation, biomedical criminalistics and forensic microscopy.
About 60 students are now enrolled in the certificate program, which began in 2005. Golden said the accreditation will allow UNT's forensics sciences to increase the number of students to about 100.
"As the only university in Texas to receive accreditation, we will be able to attract the top students who want to pursue careers in this growing, exciting field," Golden says.
Students and graduates work in area police departments, as well as federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They also work in area laboratories for ballistics, DNA and arson investigations.
In addition to UNT, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences has accredited programs at about 20 universities nationwide. The accredited programs have been rigorously reviewed and found to meet the standards for a quality forensic science education.
Sarah Bahari with UNT News Service can be reached at Sarah.Bahari@unt.edu.