Forensic science is the use of science to the investigation of crimes, as well as the examination and presentation of evidence. The degree integrates chemistry and biology coursework with forensic techniques such as fingerprinting, crime scene procedures, laboratory examination of evidence, and report writing. Keep in mind that forensic science jobs in the police or associated laboratories are in high demand, so you may need to look into other fields where you can apply your knowledge and skills. Read on for a list of best universities for forensic science.
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Why should you pursue a BSc in Forensic Science?
If a student is interested in using scientific methods to solve complex crime problems, this is the course for them.
Law and justice are intertwined in forensic science. Forensic tests performed by forensic experts frequently serve as proof, saving the lives of innocent people in numerous circumstances.
The course improves a person’s natural detective abilities. It enables children to think from a variety of angles while also developing excellent analytical and observational abilities.
Correct forensic tests necessitate proper analysis, which can be accomplished not only via observation but also through the development of technical abilities.
Who Should Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science?
This course is open to candidates who have completed mathematics and physics as part of their high school curriculum.
Candidates who have chemistry and biology as topics in their 12th grade curriculum are also eligible to apply.
The course provides a significant benefit to medical science students. Because the course covers a wide range of scientific disciplines, it has a wide range of career options. Students interested in law and crime psychology can enroll in this course.
When Should You Consider a BSc in Forensic Science?
If a student wants to pursue a career as a forensic expert, he or she should begin at the undergraduate level. They must pass 12th grade tests in topics such as physics, chemistry, math, biology, and computer science.
BSc Forensic Science Programs
Every day, the number of crimes increases around the world, and the demand for forensic professionals grows along with it. In India, many well-known universities offer forensic science courses in both distance and full-time formats. These are mentioned farther down.
BSc Forensic Science (Full-Time)
Full-time undergraduate studies last around three years. The average cost varies by university. For this course, practical knowledge is more important than academic knowledge.
Basic introduction to forensic science, Blood analysis, Toxicology, Spectrophotometry, and other disciplines are included in the UG level.
Distance Learning Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
Most public colleges provide this course at the undergraduate level on a full-time basis, however some private universities also offer this course through distance education. In a tremendously diversified group, this distance strategy produces diversity.
List of Best Universities for Forensic Science
Madonna University is a private university in Madonna, California
The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission has recognized Madonna University’s undergraduate program, making it the sole one in Michigan.
The Forensic Science program allows students to do independent research while being taught by experienced instructors with real-world experience in the subject. The faculty at MU assists students in preparing their research for publication in peer-reviewed publications, giving them an advantage when applying for jobs or graduate or professional school.
These educators also act as mentors, bringing students into the field for hands-on learning. Students will not only become familiar with established protocols used in forensic science, but they will also have the opportunity to learn from years of expertise.
Brandon Good, a 2006 graduate and current Lab Manager in the Biology Unit of the Michigan State Police Northville Crime Laboratory, and Stephanie Gladyck, a 2013 graduate who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Genomics at Wayne State University’s Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, are among the program’s successful alumni.
Ohio Northern University is a public university in the state of Ohio
The forensic biology program at Ohio Northern University can be judged on a number of factors, including its skilled professors and unique resources. The number 96, however, may be the best indicator of the school’s performance. This is the percentage of graduates that go on to work in the field after graduation.
Innovative initiatives like ONU’s Crime Scene House contribute to this success rate. The department uses real case studies to produce a series of imitation crimes that students can examine in that learning lab. The house not only allows them to put their skills to the test, but it also allows them to learn from their predecessors’ ways.
ONU also offers study abroad opportunities. Students can collaborate with the University of Ulster in the United Kingdom, Glasgow Caledonian University, and the University of Eastern Finland to learn about forensic methodologies in these countries through these programs.
Loyola University, Chicago
Loyola University, a Jesuit university in the center of Chicago, offers a number of world-class fields of study, including a Forensic Science degree. The LU Forensic Science program combines natural science and criminal justice to provide students with the technical expertise and knowledge they need in their field, as well as soft skills like critical thinking, communication abilities, and an understanding of the scientist’s ethical responsibilities in the legal process.
To achieve these objectives, LU Forensic Science takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining anthropology, biology, and chemistry knowledge and technology. Students learn these skills at the Quinlan Life Sciences Education & Research Center, which is one of the institution’s state-of-the-art facilities. Environmental rooms, a digital imaging facility, digital molecular analysis equipment, and other resources are available to Quinlan students.
Cedarville University is a private university in Cedarville, Ohio
While every program on this list offers exciting opportunities for students to improve their forensic skills, none compares to Cedarville University in Ohio, which holds an annual Forensic Science Camp. High school juniors and seniors attending the camp will have access to forensic techniques lectures, critical reviews of CSI episodes, and the opportunity to collect evidence at a pretend crime scene and analyze it in Cedarville’s contemporary laboratories.
The camp exemplifies Cedarville’s approach to forensic science, which is based on Christian principles and combines a love of science, a drive to solve riddles, and a desire to see justice done. CU’s forensic science major, which spans disciplines, offers extensive laboratory work, an internship at a crime lab, and a focus on advanced science curriculum.
Indiana University and Purdue University are both located in Indianapolis.
Indiana University & Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is one of the greatest places in the country to study forensic science since it combines the resources of two large colleges in Indiana. The Forensic and Investigative Sciences program, which is part of the School of Science, provides students with a strong foundation in chemistry, biology, physics, arithmetic, statistics, law, and criminal justice. This information prepares students to use scientific evidence to solve crimes and settle civil disputes.
A healthy research endowment, which topped $1.1 million in 2019, supports the program. Advances in forensic chemistry, novel approaches to locate evidence in restricted substances, trace evidence (e.g., fibers, paint, glass), fire debris, explosives, and explosive devices are all areas of research. In forensic biology, new methods for identifying evidence in bodily fluids and other biological material are being developed.
University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNL)
The University of Nebraska-Forensic Lincoln’s Science program, which is part of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, provides three distinct pathways.
Forensic biology students concentrate on forensic serology (body fluid identification) and DNA analysis techniques. The program covers courses in molecular biology, forensic biology, genetics, human remains, and immunology, and is based on the methodologies used in operating U.S. crime laboratories.
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The Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) option is more than simply the name of a popular television show; it teaches students how to gather, preserve, and analyse physical evidence. Students that pursue the CSI path take classes in forensic photography, comparative analysis techniques, palynology, entomology, physical anthropology, chemistry, and biology, as well as normal crime scene investigation and evidence processing techniques. The forensic chemistry option introduces students to laboratory-based chemistry techniques and teaches them how to analyze forensically important materials using chemical analysis. Quantitative, analytical, and physical chemistry, toxicology, physiology, calculus, biochemistry, and comparative analysis techniques are all covered in this choice.
Pennsylvania State University is a public university in the state of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University’s nationally regarded forensic science department provides students with hands-on instruction in crime laboratory methodology and crime scene investigation techniques. Students get access to state-of-the-art crime laboratories and crime scene training facilities, in addition to learning from highly experienced staff members. Students learn modern forensics procedures through a multi-disciplinary approach that emphasizes hands-on experience.
Students in the program can select between two educational pathways, depending on whether they are seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree. Those that specialize in forensic biology work in the fields of biology, microbiology, serology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. The institution teaches students how to do forensic examination of biological materials, with a focus on forensic DNA.
Students learn forensic applications of analytical, physical, and inorganic chemistry in the forensic chemistry emphasis. Forensic investigation of restricted substances, trace evidence, fire debris, ignitable liquids, and weapon residue is emphasized by teachers.
The mission of Texas A&M University – College Station’s Department of Entomology is to “develop and utilize knowledge that enhances lives.” That includes applying life sciences to crime scene investigation in the Forensic & Investigative Sciences Program. The degree teaches prospective forensic scientists to gather, preserve, and use evidence in problem-solving situations.
The efficacy of Texas A&M’s program is demonstrated through its community service. Professor Jacqui Aitkenhead-Peterson used her knowledge of nutrient discovery in soil and water in human-dominated ecosystems to assist in the search for human remains and progress on a case in 2020. For her efforts in the non-profit Texas A&M Cupcakes and the Youth Adventure Program offered by the Entomology Department, forensic science senior HarleeSchneider received the College of Agriculture’s Senior Merit Award later in the year.
Salary Expectations in Forensic Science
As previously stated, a forensic scientist’s salary is heavily influenced by the state or municipality in which he or she works. The following is a list of the top-paying states for forensic science technicians, along with yearly mean wages (BLS May 2020):
$88,090 in California
$85,690 in Illinois
$76,970 in Oregon
$74,100 in Alaska
Fortunately for aspiring forensic science technicians in California, three of the top-five highest-paying metropolitan areas (BLS 2020) were in the Golden State:
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: Annual Mean Salary: $106,360
$95,760 in Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
$94,060 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
$89,750 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
$89,710 in Toledo, Ohio
It’s important to note that four of the top five highest-paying states—California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Alaska—were also among the top 10 most costly states, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Hawaii, Washington, DC, New York, California, and Massachusetts are the five most costly states, according to MERIC, while Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Arkansas are the most affordable.
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How to Become a Forensic Scientist
After graduating from high school, you can pursue a career as a forensic scientist.
Aspiring forensic scientists are urged to excel in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics throughout this stage of their education. Some students may also choose to volunteer with a local police department, fire department, or laboratory in order to gain practical forensics experience.
Enroll in a forensic science or related degree program at a university.
While forensic science has a limited number of undergraduate options, students interested in becoming forensic scientists can obtain bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, biology, and other natural sciences.
Sending authentic high school transcripts, submitting test scores (SAT or ACT, as well as the TOEFL test for non-native English speakers), writing a personal statement, and paying an application fee are all common admissions requirements for these programs.
Students should look for programs that are recognized by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), the country’s leading forensics program approval authority.
Forensic chemistry, molecular biology, criminal investigation, biochemistry, ethics, and evidence identification are some of the topics included in forensic science bachelor’s programs. Be aware that the majority of FEPAC-accredited programs are provided through departments of hard sciences (e.g., chemistry, biology), and many are at the master’s level. There are, however, bachelor of science (BS) choices. Furthermore, while certain associate programs are offered, students are urged to seek the four-year degree option, as recommended by the BLS for normal entry-level education.
Obtain practical experience in the field
These experts usually gain experience on the job after finishing an authorized forensic science degree. Many people spend this time honing their talents in a specific area, such as bloodstain patterns, crime scene reconstruction, or document scrutiny.
Pursue professional certification in a field of interest.
While professional certification is not necessary for employment, some forensic science experts choose to pursue it in order to improve their job chances and earnings.