Bachelor's Programs in Forensic Science
Criminal and civil cases can hinge on the work forensic scientists do. If science-based problem solving appeals to you, you may want to pursue a bachelor's degree in forensic science. This interdisciplinary field incorporates chemistry, biology, physics, math and criminal justice to prepare graduates for employment in law enforcement and crime laboratories. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Classes Do Forensic Science Bachelor's Degree Programs Offer?
While enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program, you'll usually have to choose a concentration in biology or chemistry. In addition to core classes, you'll take a selection of courses in English, math and critical thinking. Required courses generally cover:
- Forensic chemistry
- Molecular biology
- Principles of forensic science
- Microscopy for forensic investigation
- Investigating crime scenes
- Writing and preparing reports
- Legal standards for investigation
Will I Need to Complete an Internship?
Most forensic science programs require you to complete an internship. An internship, or capstone experience as it's sometimes known, may be with a police department, crime lab or medical examiner's office. You'll typically work under the guidance of other forensic science technicians.
During your internship, you might perform toxicology tests in which you identify and measure the presence of drugs or other chemical substances in hair, blood or tissue samples. You might also perform trace analysis in which minute quantities of a substance are tested for, or you may examine evidence for DNA markers that would include or eliminate a person's presence at a crime scene.
Can I Complete This Program Online?
Forensic science programs generally require a course load heavy with biology and chemistry classes. These courses involve lab work that cannot practically be completed away from campus lab facilities. It's for this reason that undergraduate forensic science programs aren't usually offered online. In some circumstances, you may be able to complete one or more non-science courses toward a bachelor's degree in forensic science online.
After you've completed a bachelor's degree, you may be able to earn a master's degree or post-baccalaureate certificate in forensic science online. Coursework and assignments are usually exchanged electronically, although some programs may require limited on-campus time for exams or lab research.
What Kind of Career Can I Have?
After completing a 4-year forensic science degree program, you may get a job as an entry-level forensic science technician, usually working for a lab or federal, state or local law enforcement agency. You'll use your knowledge of chemistry, biology and forensic principles to collect, handle and analyze crime scene and other samples that may include hair, blood, fibers and firearms. You'll also provide written reports on your findings for use by colleagues and in legal proceedings. Continued education may be required for you to advance in your career.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: