This Postgraduate Diploma develops the critical and practical skills, knowledge and understanding of Forensic Medical Officers/Examiners to equip them for the special functions of their job.
The Royal College of Physicians have opened a Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (FFLM - RCP), which now recognises this University of Ulster Diploma in Forensic and Legal Medicine for foundation membership. This is for a limited period of the next three years only after which time the normal route of MRCPath part 1 and part 2 examinations will be needed. This is the last intake into the University of Ulster Diploma in Forensic and Legal Medicine, which will qualify for foundation membership.
Other allied professionals (such as coroners, forensic scientists, prison officers, Probation Service staff, social workers, expert court witnesses etc) may also benefit from completing all or part of the programme or the linked course Post Graduate Certificate in Forensic Studies. Students from the Republic of Ireland and other countries may also find the programme useful, bearing in mind the differences in law from their local environment. At present the course includes Northern Irish and English law and operating procedures. Training of new staff from all sections of the community together will help to build good team working and morale. The MSc dissertation allows additional development of critical and academic skills for those interested in developing research and quality improvement projects in the area.
Duration and Mode of Attendance
PGDip Forensic and Legal Medicine 2 years, with a further 2 semesters for MSc programme
PGCertificate in Forensic Studies 1 year (all distance learning)
Structure and Content
Students complete six taught modules with a total credit value of 120 points for a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) in Forensic and Legal Medicine. All modules are rated under the Credit Accumulation and Transfer scheme (CATS). On satisfactory completion of all of the six modules, students may proceed to undertake a research project/dissertation module with a credit point value of 60 in order to graduate with a degree of Master of Science in Forensic and Legal Medicine. The length of the course for PgDip is four semesters (half-time study). Further semesters are required for completion of the MSc project.
Principles of Law Relating to Forensic Practice (15 credit point module, level M): provides an introduction to the legal system within which the discipline of forensic medicine is carried out. Critical appraisal of the development and structure of the English and Northern Ireland legal systems is required.
Medical Aspects of the Law (15 credit point module, level M): permits application of the legal structures studied in the previous module to the medical field. The ability to integrate the legal background with medical practice is essential.
General Medico-legal Investigation (Clinical) (30 points, level M): introduces the field of medico-legal investigation. Evaluation of the process and principles of investigation of crimes from a medical point of view will be achieved.
Clinical and Professional Care (15 points, level M): develops clinical and professional skills in the specialist areas required for forensic medicine. The student will establish and be able to maintain professional abilities, team-working with other professionals, for care of detainees, management of criminal injury victims, and occupational health care of staff in the police service.
Clinical Care in a Legal Context I (15 points, M level): builds up knowledge and medical skills required for specialist aspects of forensic care relating to sexual offences and children. The student will establish and be able to maintain professional abilities, team-working with other professionals, for care and assessment of perpetrators and victims of sexual and child-related offences.
Clinical Care in a Legal Context II (30 points, level M): builds up knowledge and medical skills required for specialist aspects of forensic care in substance misuse, psychiatric disorders, road traffic medicine and major disasters. The student will establish and be able to maintain professional abilities, team-working with other professionals, for care and assessment of all those involved in these situations.
Semesters 5 and 6
Research Project Module (60 points, level M): provides training in advanced research techniques within a research project, which is original in approach and hypothesis driven. A demonstration of the professional expertise of the successful student will be in the ability to communicate their findings and contribute to a peer-reviewed journal.
Teaching and Learning Methods
The course uses a variety of teaching and learning methods. All teaching is by distance learning using internet-based teaching, multi-media resources, and online group discussion or by practical activity-based sessions and analysis of work-based material. The distance-learning course is delivered through the world-wide web, and in addition to the course team, distance learners are supported by e-tutors who act as mentors and provide personal and academic guidance.
The course is taught by both lecturers from the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Built Environment at the University of Ulster and by professionals within the field of Forensics such Forensic Medical Officers and staff from the Coroner Office and State Pathology.
AssessmentThis takes various forms such as problem-based coursework, case studies, on line discussion assessment, written examinations, project report and oral and poster presentations.
PGDip Forensic and Legal Medicine Principles of Law Relating to Forensic Practice; Medical Aspects of the Law; General Medico-legal Investigation (Clinical); Clinical and Professional Care; Clinical Care in a Legal Context; Clinical Care in a Legal Context II;
MSc Forensic and Legal Medicine
Research Project Module.