Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Forensic Science Preparation
Forensic scientists are highly skilled professionals who employ scientific methods to help answer legal questions. Depending upon the needs of their employers, the forensic scientist collects, preserves, analyzes evidence, and later testifies to his or her results when needed in a court of law.
Though educational requirements differ by agency, most require a 4-year degree (BS or BA) in a physical or life science, at least 10 hours of chemistry courses, and a course in quantitative analysis (CHEM 102 or 105). Candidates for DNA positions are also required to have college level courses in statistics, biochemistry (CHEM 150 or 155A), genetics (BIOL 102), and molecular biology (BIOL 150). Though not required, we strongly recommend that students also take a survey course in Forensic Science (CRIM 113). The BS Biochemistry degree is the best match for most students, though the BS Biology (for DNA positions and the BS Chemistry (for non-DNA positions) are also appropriate. Though not currently required for most entry-level positions, a graduate degree in forensic science or another natural science may be required for advancement.
Job related laboratory experience helps set apart your application from other candidates. Look for research opportunities, internships in forensic or environmental laboratories, or jobs in environmental laboratories.