Forensic science is a multidisciplinary field, incorporating areas of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology and law. Fields such as forensic biology, forensic chemistry and forensic anthropology are closely related to forensic science. A typical program takes about two years to complete with some courses and programs available online.
Candidates learn how to use laboratory equipment to perform blood analyses and toxicology procedures. These programs also emphasize academic research; therefore, each candidate must complete a thesis project under the supervision of a professor.
Master's Degree in Forensics
Entrance to a master's degree program in forensic science usually depends on the submission of an application along with previous college transcripts. Many programs require the applicant to have maintained a 3.0 grade point average during undergraduate study. Undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry, physics or other sciences are often common precursors to master's degree programs in forensic science.
Graduate forensic science degree programs balance scientific courses with classes in criminal law and the inner workings of the justice system. Courses may include the following:
- Analytical chemistry
- Law and forensic science
- Forensic analysis of drugs
- Forensic serology
- DNA profiling
- Forensic chemistry
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The number of forensic science technician jobs is expected to increase by 27% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); this job growth is much faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The ever-expanding number of forensic science technological breakthroughs and a growing awareness of these techniques among potential jurors should drive the need for forensic science experts. Competition for these jobs is expected to be great. As of May 2015, the BLS reported the median salary for forensic science technicians at $56,230.
Students interested in pursuing a career in forensics can take a master's degree program, which will teach them both the science and legal skills and knowledge needed to assist in criminal investigations.