Forensic Science Major
The major in Forensic Science is designed to provide training for students seeking to work in the forensic science laboratories or who are planning to pursue careers in the field of forensic science. The major draws from the biological sciences, physics and chemistry as well as from the fields of criminal justice and the law.
The degree is generated from a cross-disciplinary perspective, blending faculty expertise from both the criminal justice and science program areas. A principal
focus of the program is to prepare students for entry-level positions and for advancement in various occupations and professions in the criminal justice and
science areas. The faculty encourages wide and varied preparation in both the liberal arts and sciences to provide students with an appreciation of the scientific
and social environment of crime and criminal justice.
As students prepare for a career in forensic sciences, they should be reasonably informed on which area to focus. For example, if one wishes to work in a crime laboratory, most positions are of the "criminalist" category, but various areas will require specific coursework. Examples are as follows:
Criminalist I - Physical Evidence. Coursework should include at least two natural science classes, algebra, and trigonometry (coursework in calculus can be substituted for the algebra and trigonometry).
Criminalist I - DNA. Coursework should include 20 semester hours in biology (course credit in genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, recombinant
DNA technology or other subjects which provide a basic understanding of the foundations of forensic DNA analysis should be included in hours).
Criminalist I - Trace Evidence. Coursework should include at least 20 hours of chemistry (organic and inorganic).
Criminalist I - Toxicology. Coursework should include at least 20 hours of chemistry including two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters
of organic chemistry, and one semester of quantitative analysis, with a minimum acceptable grade of C.
Criminalist I - Latent Prints. Coursework should include at least two natural science classes, with a minimum acceptable grade of C.
Criminalist I - Questioned Documents. Baccalaureate degree should be in one of the Natural Sciences or Criminal Justice.
Students majoring in this degree should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure proper coursework is taken for the student’s preferred career option.