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Forensic Chemistry program in line for national accreditation

Loyola press release - January 13, 2012

The Chemistry Department at Loyola University New Orleans recently announced substantial changes to the forensic chemistry degree program that will bring it in-line with accreditation standards of the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission, a committee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, which is the only body accrediting undergraduate and graduate forensic science programs.

Currently, only 15 forensic chemistry undergraduate programs in the United States are accredited by FEPAC, and once accredited, Loyola University will be one of only a few in the southeast.

Approved by Loyola’s Standing Council for Academic Planning, the modifications to the program strengthen the chemistry curriculum while also creating concentration options that allow students to specialize in one of three areas: instrumental analysis, biochemistry and genetics or human mind and behavior.

Another change is the addition of a required advanced course, Forensic Instrumental Analysis, which emphasizes techniques common to a forensic crime laboratory. The department also added a Forensic Seminar course, which builds upon the current chemistry seminar series and provides the opportunity to offer a rotating menu of hands-on experiences and in-depth social topics lectures by practitioners.

The goal is to create a well-rounded forensic chemistry program that is both competitive on a national level and still true to the Jesuit ideal of educating the whole person. The Department of Chemistry has worked in conjunction with the biology, psychology and criminal justice departments to develop a unique and challenging state-of-the-art curriculum to attract and retain academically gifted students from across the country.

“This change will allow our program to compete nationally for students interested in working in a crime laboratory and give our graduates a unique advantage over most other programs,” said Thomas Spence, chemistry professor and department chair.

Refocused and more rigorous in its updated form, the degree should provide a strong chemistry education for those students wishing to go on to graduate work, while simultaneously establishing the qualifications of those students entering the workforce. The current minor in chemistry will remain unchanged.

For more information, contact Jess Brown in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at jlbrown@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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