UBC and BCIT are teaming up to train B.C.’s next generation of forensic scientists.
Future graduates of the new combined honours program will receive a bachelor of science in biochemistry and forensic science from UBC and BCIT. It will be the only program of its kind in Western Canada.
“It is wonderful to see our two institutions working together to offer students an exceptional educational experience in a fascinating field,” said UBC President Santa Ono. “We are marrying UBC’s expertise in research and science with BCIT’s expertise in technical skills to help students achieve their career goals faster.”
Students of the new program will graduate with a solid understanding of science, how to conduct research, and be trained to work in labs. They will be ready to enter careers as forensic specialists or analysts, but will also be prepared to explore other opportunities including medicine, graduate school, or law.
“This program recognizes our long-standing partnership with UBC and harnesses the respective strengths of both institutions to further bolster student access to the BCIT Forensic DNA Lab – the most advanced post-secondary forensic lab in the country,” says BCIT President Kathy Kinloch. “Together, we’re empowering students to ensure they have the advanced skills to meet industry demand in this exciting field.”
This partnership builds on the success of other joint programs between the two institutions, including a bachelor of science (combined honours) in biotechnology and a diploma in technology teacher education. These long-running programs are examples of how two leading educational institutions can prepare students with current scientific and technical expertise for specialized careers.
Students will be able to apply to the new program after completing their first year within the bachelor of science degree at UBC. Second, third, and fourth years will be completed at both institutes where there will be an opportunity to do co-op placements. At BCIT, students will be exposed to the operations and quality control of a functioning forensic DNA laboratory. In their fourth year, students will take a research course in a UBC lab to foster their understanding of science so they can develop new techniques to advance the field of forensic science.
Between 15 and 20 students will be accepted into the program every year, with the first class beginning in September 2018. The new program speeds up the current pathway for students who would have traditionally completed a four-year bachelor of science degree at another institution before coming to BCIT for forensic science education – a process that can take more than six years.