Forensic Science

2018-2019 Catalogue

Minor in Forensic Science. Forensic issues are increasingly informed by those who are trained to objectively apply scientific procedures in criminal investigations and prosecutions. This can include the steps necessary for DNA analysis and interpretation, the identification of trace elements from a crime scene, or an understanding of the proper composition required for an unbiased lineup. The Forensic Science minor brings together courses across a variety of scientific fields, including biology, chemistry, and psychology. Although any student could complete the minor, it is expected that students who have a major in biology, chemistry or psychology will be most likely to do so; having this minor could increase marketability for students interested in working in forensic science areas.  

Minor requirements: The Forensic Science minor requires 29 hours of course work, as shown below:

BIO 110 Principles of Biology I: Biological Processes (4 hours)
BIO 112 Principles of Biology II: Diversity of Biological Systems (4 hours)
BIO/FSC 345 Forensic Biology (4 hours)
CHM 101 General Chemistry I (4 hours)
CHM/FSC 325 Forensic Chemistry (4 hours)
PSY 101 General Psychology (3 hours)
PSY 260 Drugs and Behavior (3 hours)
PSY/FSC 330 Forensic Psychology (3 hours)

Students minoring in Forensic Science are encouraged to complete MAT 220 (Statistics) and CHM 102 (General Chemistry II) in addition to the minor. Students are also encouraged to collaborate with their advisors to develop a PDE related to this minor.

Forensic Science (FSC) Course Descriptions

325: Forensic Chemistry.
Goal: To build upon fundamental chemical principles by applying critical thinking skills to forensic analyses of minute sample sizes similar to those typically found as trace evidence at crime scenes. To understand the methods and challenges associated with forensic science from a chemical perspective.
Content: This course is designed to introduce students to the role modern chemistry plays in crime laboratories through analyses of samples for substances including, but not limited to, illicit drugs, gun-powder residue, paint, and heavy metals. Laboratory exercises focus on challenges associated with sample preparation in forensic analyses as well as the scrutiny with which laboratory results of this nature are usually subjected when they enter the legal system. Students gather qualitative as well as qualitative data as they gain hands-on experience with instrumental laboratory tools including chromatographic and spectrometric techniques.
Taught: Spring. Alternate years.
Prerequisite: CHM 101.
Credit: 4 hours, cross-listed as CHM 325.

330: Forensic Psychology.
Goal: To understand the application of psychological principles to forensic psychology.
Content: Forensic Psychology involves the application of psychological knowledge or methods to a task faced by the legal system. Both the production and application of the knowledge and methods of psychology to the civil and criminal justice system are explored (e.g., eyewitness memory and testimony, criminal behavior, jury decision making, and competency evaluations).
Taught: Fall.
Prerequisite: PSY 101.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as PSY 330

345: Forensic Biology.
Goal: The course will require students to apply fundamental cell biological, biochemical, histological, physiological and molecular biology principles and techniques to the analysis of trace materials that are typically found at crime scenes.
Content: This course will emphasize critical thinking and problem solving skills and will reinforce the importance of accuracy in laboratory science experiments. Course material will cover the biochemical, physiological and molecular basis of forensic methods and case studies will be used to contextualize the use of forensic biology techniques as they are applied to crime scene investigation and conservation biology. Laboratory exercises will include histological analysis of plant, animal and human tissues, basic and forensic serology techniques and forensic DNA analysis.
Taught: Fall. Alternate years.
Prerequisites: BIO 110 and BIO 112.
Credit: 4 hours; cross listed as BIO 345

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