Forensic Science Courses, Degrees and Training

Forensic science programs help students increase their knowledge of chemistry, physics or biology to help uncover the details of a crime. Read on to learn more about the field of forensic science and related education programs. Schools offering Forensic Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Forensic scientists use scientific techniques to uncover the facts behind crimes such as homicide, arson and child abuse. Forensic science technology programs are available at the associate's degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree levels. Certificate programs are offered as well. In addition to science-based classes, classes that focus on criminal law will be required.

Programs Undergraduate and graduate degree programs available
Courses Biology, entomology, DNA and blood analysis
Certificates Certificates are available at the graduate level

What Does a Forensic Scientist Do?

As a forensic scientist, you will use principles of biology, chemistry and physics to discover the chain of events that took place during a crime. You may use your skills on the crime scene or in a lab by collecting samples, analyzing DNA and testing blood and other body fluids. With your degree, you may work for a local, state or federal government agency. Because your analysis will be used to convict criminals, you must be knowledgeable of the law, including evidence procedures. You must also possess the communication skills to convey your findings in reports and possibly as testimony.

What Can I Learn With an Associate's Degree?

Most employers will require you to have at least a bachelor's degree for an entry level forensic science position. An associate's degree in forensic science can serve as a stepping stone towards a bachelor's degree. You may also find an associate's degree in forensic science useful if you already have a bachelor's degree in a related field.

Your coursework will give you an introduction to the skills and techniques necessary for a career in forensic science and may include the following:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Criminal law
  • Investigation

What Can I Learn With a Bachelor's Degree?

You can choose a general forensic science major that will cover multiple areas of science or you can focus on specific areas like forensic chemistry or forensic biology. In a bachelor's degree program, you will likely be required to take courses in both science and criminal justice. Specific courses may include biology, toxicology and chemistry, as well as courses in investigation techniques and rules of evidence. You may even take courses in entomology, studying the effects of insects on food, animal and human decomposition.

What Types of Graduate Programs Are Available?

You can find graduate certificates and degrees in forensic science. At the graduate level, you may also be able to choose from a particular area of forensics such as toxicology, chemistry or DNA analysis. Your coursework will likely include DNA and blood analysis, statistics, pharmacology and ethics. You may also have the chance to participate in moot court to practice testimony skills. You may also have a research project, thesis or practicum.

Where Can I Go to School?

These schools and programs offer a variety of forensic science educational options with the listed focus.

  • IUPUI (Indiana): professionalism in forensics, forensic biology, forensic science and the law
  • George Washington University (Washington, D.C.): forensic chemistry, forensic molecular biology, forensic investigation
  • Arcadia University (Pennsylvania): trace evidence analysis, toxicology, forensic biology and chemistry
  • Maricopa Community College (Arizona): criminology, corrections, criminal justice
  • University of Florida: death investigation, drug chemistry, toxicology

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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