Degrees in Forensic Science

Thanks to popular television shows, Forensic Science programs are becoming more available. Previously, a student desiring a career in Forensic Science would have to major in another science, and get an advanced degree in Forensic Science. This is no longer the case. Undergraduate degree programs are now available.

Some of the undergraduate Forensic Science degrees are offered only as dual degree programs. This means that a primary major would be picked and a double major in Forensic Science would be declared. The primary degree can be in almost anything. Many agencies are wanting to hire more well-rounded individuals, so a wide variety of degrees will be accepted. Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, and Criminal Justice will all give a student a very competitive chance at attaining employment upon graduation. The primary degree picked will vary based upon the career path desired. If the desired career path is DNA examination, then a primary degree in Chemistry, Biology, Genetics, or Biochemistry should be chosen. Students hoping to gain employment as a crime scene investigator could choose to major in Criminal Justice. A career as a coroner could be attained through choosing a double major in Funeral Science and Forensic Science.

There are also a large number of Forensic Science degrees being offered on-line. Caution should be taken when looking at on-line degrees, especially with Forensic Science. Most agencies that employ Forensic Scientists, also called Criminalists, require that they become certified in their chosen fields within one to two years after employment. The primary certification board is the International Association for Identification, or IAI.  IAI will not count courses taken on-line toward the certification requirements. So, even though a degree in Forensic Science is earned, and employment gained, does not mean that certification will be granted. Most agencies look for individuals that could eventually become expert witnesses, and the credentials need to be adequate.

The field of Forensic Science has been glorified and glamorized through television. The general public realizes that television has beefed up most of the aspects of the field, but Forensic Scientists who actually work in it everyday would say that the real Forensic Science is fascinating the way it is. A large number of advances in Forensic Science have come about in the last several years, and the scientists making these advances love what they do.

There are some misconceptions about this field. Forensic Scientists do spend a great deal of time in the lab, but there are quality control guidelines that prevent them from spending long hours in there. They also do not generally visit the crime scenes or collect the evidence. There may be an occasion when a lab scientist would visit the crime scene, but it is rare. The evidence is collected by crime scene technicians and investigators, and then sent to the lab. Also, crime scene investigators do not arrest or interrogate anyone. They simply look for evidence, and listen for the evidence to lead them to the truth.

Some of the schools offering undergraduate degrees in Forensic Science are: The University of Central Oklahoma, Arkansas State University, Baylor University, Albany State University, and many more. When searching for a school that offers an undergraduate Forensic Science program, it is important to make sure that both the school and the program are accredited.