The Research Paper
To reinforce and expand upon the concepts explored over the course of the Certificate program, students are required to write and submit research papers of publishable quality prior to receiving their certificates. Grades for the program are based upon the successful completion of these papers.
Students are asked to pick a particular scientific, legal or policy topic (or combination thereof) that holds a particular interest for them and/or that is applicable to their current or intended career paths. As examples of past paper topics, teachers have developed academic models of study for secondary students aspiring to work in the forensic sciences; nursing professionals have addressed the health care industry’s need to speak to issues of abuse and neglect facing children and the elderly; and law enforcement officers have taken on studies of actual cold cases.
After selecting their topics near the conclusion of the fall semester and having them approved by the start of the spring semester, Certificate students have the months of January through May to research and draft their papers. During this period, they are given access to Institute faculty, as well as to the Law School’s Center for Legal Information, which houses thousands of volumes on law and forensic science, as well as various computer-assisted research tools. The papers are due shortly after the completion of the program.