Students are engaged in an intensive, interdisciplinary program combining courses in Justice Studies, Biology and Chemistry departments that are all required for national education standards in the area of undergraduate forensic science. The program strives to provide a foundation of core scientific knowledge and to promote an understanding of key criminal and legal issues along with respect for racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity. This multidisciplinary approach provides three important benefits for the student. First, it encourages the development of knowledge of the connections among the endeavors of crime prevention, law enforcement, adjudication, and punishment. Secondly, effective analytical and problem-solving skills are developed that will equip professionals with the intellectual capacity necessary for a variety of positions in criminal justice. Thirdly, students have opportunities to conduct internships for elective credit that will provide them practical experience in the field.
What is Forensic Science?
Forensic science is defined as the application of the sciences as it pertains to legal matters or problems. Forensic science includes anthropology, botany, criminalistics, entomology, engineering, genetics, information technology, medicine/pathology, molecular biology, odontology, serology, toxicology and many other disciplines. All of these are specialized sections in forensic science.
What is Criminalistics and What do Criminalists do?
Criminalistics is one of many divisions in the field of forensic science. Criminalistics is “the profession and scientific discipline directed toward the recognition, identification, individualization and evaluation of physical evidence by application of the natural sciences to law-science matters.” Criminalists draw from a wide spectrum of knowledge learned in chemistry, biology, genetics, molecular biology, geology, physics, statistics, a working knowledge of civil and criminal law and other disciplines to investigate and solve crimes.
Criminalists may also be required to investigate and process crime scenes. Crime scene investigation involves the recognition, documentation, collection, preservation and interpretation of physical evidence. Criminalists bring evidence back to the laboratory where analysis may be conducted. Interpretations are made about the relevance of items from crime scenes by associating evidence to specific sources and reconstructing the crime scene. A criminalist will associate and identify evidence, interpret results, reconstruct the crime scene and write a report summarizing the findings. Finally, criminalists testify in a court of law, teaching the judge and jury about the conclusions reached in the laboratory.
CURRICULUM AND REQUIREMENTS
B.S. Forensic Science, Concentration in Biology
B.S. Forensic Science, Concentration in Chemistry
ADMISSIONS AND CONTACT INFORMATION
If you are interested in becoming a Forensic Science Major, please see the section on declaring our major. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to contact the Forensic Science Director, Dr. Steven Lee.