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Forensic Science

Forensic science majors study science and criminal justice, the application of science to legal issues, and analysis of blood, DNA and other evidence.

In criminal cases, forensic science deals with the observation and collection of evidence such as:

  • bodily fluids
  • hair
  • textile or fiber materials
  • paint
  • handwriting analysis
  • glass
  •  tool marks

A forensic scientist needs to be objective, search for evidence, serve justice by determining facts involved in a case and work only for the truth.  The results of this work may serve either the defense or the prosecution.

 

Employment

Forensic scientists work in three broad groups: medical, laboratory, and field services; and be employed in various roles by regional, state, and local entities such as:

  • forensic laboratories
  • police departments
  • district attorney’s offices
  • private firms
  • colleges and universities
  • the military
  • federal agencies (DEA, Customs, FBI, Postal Service)
  • wildlife agencies

Strategies

Most careers in forensic science require a bachelor's degree in one of the biological or physical sciences.  Taking courses in chemistry, biology, math, English and public speaking along with participating in debates will contribute to developing the needed skills necessary for success in this field. 

Many programs offer concentrations or certificate programs in different areas of forensic science and forensic scientists can continue their studies obtaining a masters or doctorate degree and work in a specialized area.

Securing internships in various capacities is the most practical way to acquaint yourself with various areas of forensic science.  Also, since requirements for forensic scientists vary greatly from state to state, this is an opportunity to become familiar with specific qualifications and responsibilities.