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Forensic Science

The Breakdown

Do you closely follow the latest murder trial in the paper?  Do you get excited whenever you enter your biology classroom?  Is CSI: Miami your favorite television show?  Are you always trying to lift your father’s finger prints off the remote control?  If the answer to these questions is a resounding “Most Definitely!” then perhaps you’re the perfect candidate for a degree in forensic science!    

If you decide to study forensic science, you’ll be at the cross section of criminal justice and the natural sciences.  Of course, you should be prepared to take the requisite general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology courses.  Naturally, you’ll also get to cover intriguing topics like autopsy procedures, human testimony and blood pattern analysis.  Some programs might also have you choose a specific track or concentration such as toxicology, criminalistics or molecular biology.  And you’ll likely have to fulfill a variety of classroom, laboratory and internship requirements.    

Forensic science demands a keen analytical mind and a sharp eye for detail.  Indeed, you’ll need to be highly observant and stellar at synthesizing pieces of information and problem solving.  Solid quantitative skills will also be important.  Finally, you’ll have to learn how use caution tape sparingly.


Nuts and Bolts

As a forensic science major, your schedule will be laden with such fascinating and challenging courses as: Biology, Organic Chemistry, Law and Evidence, Quantitative Analysis, Probability and Statistics, Analytical Toxicology, Genetics, Criminalistics, Anatomy, Bloodstain Evidence, Abnormal Psychology, Crime Scene Photography, Forensic Anthropology, Microbiology, Criminal Procedures, Calculus and Biochemistry.

Decisions, Decisions

Forensic science majors are fascinated by peoples’ physical and mental make-up.  Therefore, they are often also interested in studying biology, biochemistry, psychology, criminal justice, chemistry, pre-med, genetics, microbiology, sociology, pharmacology, pre-pharmacy, molecular biology, neuroscience, physician assistant, nursing, anthropology and pre-law.

What's Next

Forensic science can ultimately lead to a myriad of exciting and fascinating career opportunities (though some do demand advanced degrees).  To begin with, you might become a medical examiner.  Usually requiring a medical degree, medical examiners study dead bodies to determine both time and cause of death.  High paid and rewarding, this job also necessitates a certain amount of stoicism and a strong stomach.  Additionally, another popular route is to become a crime lab analyst.  Here you’ll work with physical evidence collected at a crime scene to try to decipher how the criminal act played out and who the perpetrators might have been.  Similarly, graduates might also choose to become a crime scene examiner.  Intellectually challenging and always thrilling, crime scene examiners study the crime scene (obviously) for important clues and evidence.  Another possible career track is forensic engineering.  Here you’ll analyze products, structures or materials that failed and resulted in causing personal harm to the victim.  And of course, forensic science majors might ultimately choose to become lawyers, police officers, corrections officers or court officials.  No matter what facet of forensics interests you most, you can be assured that you’ll be helping regular citizens remain safe. 



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Don Munce