home | contact us | disclaimer  

Colleges With Forensic Science Degree Courses

The field of forensic science is an analytical and research-based course of study, offering a range of career options in forensic medicine, forensic nursing, investigation, reporting, and criminal justice. Careers are focused on analyzing physical evidence related to investigations and crime scenes, and a forensic scientist may also be asked to testify and share results of their findings in a court setting.

Forensic schools allow students to adopt critical thinking and analysis skills to provide detailed reports and presentations; these are then used as evidence in the courtroom to reconstruct crime scenes and explain various situations. A forensic science technician can be found working in the field of investigative research, collecting evidence and samples, and reporting them as needed to courts and the legal system.

What Is Forensic Science?

Forensic science is the process of collecting and analyzing evidence as related to a crime or situation. A forensic science technician can specialize in a particular area of study such as DNA analysis, weapons testing, or fingerprinting. The scientist is then responsible for preparing and documenting the findings and making inferences and conclusions about the evidence and scene of a crime. Technicians, nurses, and researchers are all involved with examination, testing, and analysis of tissue samples and interpreting laboratory findings. Advanced areas include:

  • Criminalistics

  • Forensic Biology

  • Technical Investigation

  • Forensic Toxicology

  • Forensic Examination

  • Forensic Medicine or Nursing

Job Description and Responsibilities in a Forensic Science Career

A career can branch out into the fields of forensic medicine, forensic nursing, and specialized research. Programs at colleges and universities can offer a range of courses in the field, and students can choose to pursue a specialization after declaring their major. Key job responsibilities and duties include:

  • Testing tissue samples

  • Recording and measuring samples using special equipment

  • Fingerprinting and analyzing handwriting

  • Preserving criminal evidence to help solve cases

  • Preparing reports and presentations of findings

  • Making use of investigative research skills and methods to analyze data

  • Testifying as a witness in a courtroom

  • Classifying information and interpreting results after testing

Specialized programs such as forensic medicine and nursing may require additional responsibilities and job duties. For example, a forensic nurse would be involved with preparation of materials for testing, reporting evidence to the team, and serving as an aide in a laboratory setting.

Skills Acquired with a Forensic Science Degree

After completing a degree program, students acquire a variety of critical skills and techniques for data analysis and reporting. Common skills acquired include:

  • Using the scientific method for problem solving
  • Strong communication skills to convey information
  • Quality control and analysis
  • Sound logic and reasoning skills
  • Active listening
  • Communicating effectively with cohesive writing and reporting
  • Determining the appropriate equipment for various tests and procedures
  • Monitoring and assessment of different situations
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Information ordering
  • Visualization and selective attention

Courses and Programs Available at Forensic Science Schools

Forensic training varies depending on the type of school and degree program, but the most common courses for those pursuing an undergraduate program include:

  • Forensic Pathology

  • Principles of Forensic Medicine

  • Forensic and Crime Scene Photography

  • Crime Scene Investigation

  • Criminal Investigation Analysis and Profiling

  • Forensic Toxicology

  • Trace Evidence

  • Forensic Anthropology

Specializations may offer courses such as:

  • Advanced Criminalistics

  •  Advanced Fingerprint Analysis

  • Constitution and Criminal Procedure

  • Electronic Crime Scene Investigation

  • Forensic Nursing

Forensics Career Qualifications

Most forensic science schools offer comprehensive training in each branch of study, and students can pursue advanced studies for specialization in the field. The majority of employers look for graduates who have at least two years of professional training and a bachelor's degree in the sciences. A career may begin with a basic bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, or physics; forensic science schools can offer more specialized classes and focused studies with forensic science degree programs and related courses.

An internship is often a part of many programs, offering students a chance to gain hands-on experience in their field. Forensic science programs are available at both the undergraduate and master's level at most colleges and universities. Forensic medicine may offer additional courses from a nursing program or medical school.

Job Opportunities and Employment Prospect with a Forensic Science Degree

Job opportunities for a forensic nurse, technician, or professional are expected to grow as fast as the average through 2014. With advancing technologies in the fields of communications and research, skilled professionals who can adapt to online reporting systems and research can look forward to the most rewarding opportunities for a lifelong forensics career. Most schools offer internships and direct placement opportunities after graduation, and many forensic science technicians start their careers a trainee under the supervision of a scientist. Advanced studies can lead to job growth and more responsibility in the field.

Typical median hourly earnings for a forensic science technician were $21.16 per hour in 2004. This rate varies depending on the skills, training, and experience of each individual. Related occupations include:

  • Forensic engineering technicians

  • Clinical laboratory technologists

  • Diagnostic medical sonographers

  • Radiologic technicians


Back to Colleges With Forensic Science Degree Courses