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Posted at: Sep 13, 2017, 1:08 AM; last updated: Sep 13, 2017, 2:17 AM (IST)CAREER HOTLINE

Am I eligible for diploma in forensic science?

Pervin Malhotra

Q.I am currently pursuing my bachelor’s in physics (Hon). Would I be eligible for pursuing a post graduate diploma course in Forensic Medicine?— Ranveer khatri

A.All diploma programmes in Forensic Medicine require an MBBS degree (barring a couple of programmes that also admit students with an MSc degree).

However, a number of universities offer PG diploma and degree courses in criminology and forensic science.

Typically, these courses cover forensic investigation of the crime scene, forensic photography, forensic toxicology, forensic serology, fingerprint analysis, criminal profiling, drug detection, lie detection, firearm identification, cybercrime etc

So, you could pursue an MSc in Forensic Science which is open to BSc graduates at the Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra or the University of Chennai, Delhi’s Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University’s LNJN National Instt of Criminology & Forensic Sc (www.nicfs.org), Rohini (M/o Home Affairs, GoI) offers

1) MA/MSc in Criminology & MSc in Forensic Sc both of which requires a BSc degree.

Besides diploma courses in Forensic Sciences, offered by Delhi University and Amity University, there are other diploma courses in criminology and forensic science.

While some are for sponsored police officers or those working in Social Welfare Departments., the others require an LLB degree.

You could also choose to study Clinical Toxicology (study of poisons, their effects, detection and treatment) separately or do a Master’s in Pharmacology & Toxicology from National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPER), SAS Nagar, Mohali (www.niper.nic.in) an institution of national importance, or MSc Toxicology at Jamia Hamdard (Deemed University, Delhi or MSc Environmental Toxicology offered at Dr BR Ambedkar University, Agra and University of Madras, Chennai.


What is the right time to apply for financial aid?

Q. I’m in Class XI and will be applying to American universities soon. But since studying abroad is very expensive, can you suggest the best time to apply for financial aid. What does the term “need-blind” mean?— Yamini Saijal

A.Scarce as they are at the undergrad level, scholarships, grants and financial aid inevitably come to those who’ve done their homework. So do make sure you start collecting and evaluating information at least a year-and-a-half in advance.

Don’t make the common mistake of waiting until you’re admitted to a programme before applying for financial aid. This is a major mistake because the deadline for many financial aid applications is before the deadline for applying to many graduate programmes (e.g. a university's financial aid applications may be due on January 1, whereas their graduate applications forms may not be due until February 15).

If you miss these deadlines, loans may be the only resource available to you.

Which is why I suggest that you make a note of all financial aid deadlines and complete the appropriate forms before (or concurrent with) your applications.

Often parents and students don’t apply for scholarships because of the mistaken impression that they are merit-based and awarded only to the brightest students.

In fact, many scholarships are granted on the basis of financial need, which means that average grades need not prevent a student from seeking it.

On the other hand, “Need blind” means the admission is based solely on your academic merit and nothing else — not even your ability to pay. If you’re worthy of admission, the financial difference will be automatically made up by the college -- including some of the leading Ivy Leagues.

Moreover, schools that are keen to boost their rank on the various “Best Colleges” listings offer attractive financial-aid packages to lure gifted students. So those with outstanding marks and great test scores have considerable leverage, particularly in getting scholarships based on merit rather than need.


Loco pilot posts

Q. I have completed my diploma in mechanical engineering from a polytechnic last year. Can you please tell me how I can become an engine driver in the railways?— Tarun Tripathy

A. Engine drivers are now called Loco Pilots. So, you can apply for the post of Assistant Loco Pilot (ALP) and work alongside the Loco Pilot to ensure the safe and punctual running of trains in the Indian Railways.

Besides assisting the Loco Pilot in driving the train, you’ll also watch out for signals, carry out minor repairs and perform regular safety checks.

The job requires you to remain alert and focussed for long stretches of time. Presence of mind is essential to this job.

As far as the eligibility is concerned, you’ve got what it takes. The minimum academic qualification is matriculation (passed class 10) plus ITI Diploma (recognised by AICTE) in Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics or Automobile Engineering.

The selection process comprises a written exam followed by an interview, aptitude test and a medical test.

The 90-minute test consists of 120 multiple-choice questions ranging in topics from General English/Hindi, Basic Arithmetic, and General Knowledge to subject-specific questions based on the specified minimum qualifications.

Your next promotion will be to the level Sr Assistant Loco Pilot and Loco Pilot. Loco Pilots can then go on to become Loco Foremen (Loco supervisor), Power Controllers or Crew Controllers.

It may perhaps surprise you to know that our Indian Railways happens to be the country’s biggest recruiter (over 14 lakh people are employed presently). And with our swiftly proliferating railway network, IR is expected to emerge as the world’s largest within the coming decade.

Recruitment for the post of ALP as well as several other posts in the Indian Railways is done each year by the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs). These 21 RRBs spread across the country have clearly defined Railway Zones, Divisions, Production Units, etc. for whom they select candidates.

Watch out for the recruitment notices issued in the leading newspapers including the Employment News.

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