The growing public interest in forensic investigations and technology has prompted collegiate science departments to develop degrees tailored specifically toward this field of science. Major universities have begun equipping undergraduates to engage in forensic-related fields, giving them a foundation of physical science, biological science and social science. The Forensics Colleges website, which is devoted to helping students find the best forensics programs in the nation, recognizes some colleges and universities as standout schools that offer excellent undergraduate training in forensic science.
Columbia College in Columbia, Mo., offers a Bachelor of Science degree in forensic science, combining biological sciences, physics, chemistry, criminal justice and law. Focus areas include physical evidence, DNA, trace evidence, toxicology, latent prints and questioned documents. Students must complete a senior seminar in forensic science and either 25 hours of chemistry or 15 hours of biology to complete the degree. All courses within the major must be completed with a 2.0 or higher grade point average to be counted toward the degree.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, one of the colleges of the City University of New York, allows students to major in forensic science, providing a chemistry-intensive course load with additional courses in biology, physics and law. Students may specialize in criminalistics, molecular biology, or toxicology. To be eligible for the program, students must take two semesters of calculus and one semester of probability and statistics. Once accepted into the program, they must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 in the required science and math classes. In addition, students must complete a forensic science internship or complete an undergraduate research project.
Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University’s forensic science undergraduate major is co-sponsored by the Eberly College of Science in University Park, Penn., which provides laboratories, facilities, courses and professional development workshops for the program. Faculty from the College of Agricultural Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Health and Human Development collaborate with the College of Science to provide a well-rounded major that equips students for careers in the criminal justice system and forensic laboratories. The program puts an emphasis on biology and chemistry, with supporting courses in criminology, cyber forensics, DNA analysis, forensic psychology, pathology and toxicology. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in all courses within the major to remain in the program.
St. Louis University
The Sociology and Anthropology Department at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo., offers both majors and minors in forensic science. Though biology and chemistry courses feature prominently in the curriculum, most of the major’s courses are based in sociology and anthropology, including criminalistics, crime scene investigation and forensic anthropology. Students are required to complete a practicum in a forensic laboratory, where they can put their knowledge to practical use.
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, provides a Bachelor of Science degree in forensic and investigative sciences through its Department of Entomology. Students have the option to pursue a science track or a pre-law track in the program. Both tracks include courses in biology, chemistry, crime scene investigation, forensic soil science and case studies in problem solving. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in all classes in the major and a 3.0 cumulative GPA to remain in the program. A&M also offers an honors program that requires increased upper-level coursework in classes such as biotechnology and forensics, latent print processing and the science of forensic entomology.
- Forensic Colleges: Forensic Schools by State
- Columbia College: Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Forensic Science (BS)
- Forensic Science at Penn State: Program Overview
- St. Louis Unversity College of Arts and Sciences: Forensic Science
- Texas A&M Department of Entomology: Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program
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