West Virginia University's College of Law has announced plans to launch a new LL.M program with a focus in forensic justice.
According to school officials, the program is the first of its kind in the United States, and aims to help students understand better understand the field of forensic science, as well as its use in the justice system.
"Forensic evidence is assuming an increasingly important role in both our civil and criminal justice systems,” says WVU provost Joyce McConnell.
“This new degree will help judges and lawyers understand the field of forensic science and better integrate it into the adversary system. That integration absolutely improves the system—and is essential to justice.”
Indeed, it hardly needs mentioning that forensic evidence like DNA has become incredibly important, in both civil and criminal law.
The one-year program is offered in partnership between WVU's College of Law and the school's Department of Forensic and Investigative Science.
Students in the new LL.M. will divide their time between specialized law and curriculum and forensic science classes. Curriculum includes courses like "Analytical Methods for Lawyers," "Biological and Chemical Evidence," and "Advanced Evidence and Expert Witnesses."
Candidates will also be required to complete a substantial piece of written work, final paper, or field-work project.
Although the new WVU LL.M. is the first of such US programs to be acquiesced by the ABA, law schools in other regions offer programs touching on similar themes. Scotland's University of Strathclyde, for instance, offers a joint LL.M/MSc in Criminal Justice and Penal Change, which addresses forensic advocacy as it applies to law. And Maastricht University's Faculty of Law offers a Master in Forensics, Criminology and Law, which incorporates similar curriculum.
Applications are now being accepted for WVU's LL.M. in Forensic Justice, which starts this fall. Admission requirements include a JD from an ABA-accredited law school (or equivalent.)
For more information, please see the WVU news release announcing the launch of the LL.M. in Forensic Justice.
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