Forensics Major: Program Information and Career Options

Forensic scientists use scientific expertise to aid law enforcement professionals in civil and criminal investigations and litigation. Relevant degree programs are offered at the bachelor's level.

Essential Information

Most 4-year forensic bachelor's degree programs are interdisciplinary, equipping students with skills from related fields like psychology, biology and engineering. Students can expect to develop specialized skills while learning to understand the role that forensic science plays in the justice system and how it can be used in litigation. Strong applicants to these programs will have backgrounds in biology, chemistry, anatomy and math. Job options include, but are not limited to, evidence technicians, crime scene investigators and crime laboratory technicians.

Bachelor's Degree in Forensics

Students will learn to collect physical evidence for use in scientific investigations. Many programs allow students to specialize in areas like DNA, ballistics, blood or firearms. Students learn to perform tests on substances like glass, fiber, tissue, hair and body fluids. Programs also teach students to prepare appropriate reports and to work in a forensic laboratory setting. Coursework in these programs combine lectures with laboratory time and cover a variety of subject areas. Here are some examples of classes you might see in a bachelor's degree program in forensic science:

  • Chemistry
  • Principles of investigation
  • Forensic biology
  • Statistics
  • Justice systems

Popular Career Options

Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in this field are qualified for a number of jobs in criminal justice or law enforcement. Here are some popular career choices for graduates:

  • Crime scene analyst
  • Non-sworn forensic personnel
  • Crime lab technician
  • Investigator
  • Evidence technician

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic science technicians were projected to see a much faster than average employment growth of 27% from 2014-2024. The mean annual wages for forensic science technicians were $60,090 in May 2015.

Continuing Education

Students who hold a bachelor's degree in this field sometimes opt to earn a master's degree. A master's degree builds on skills learned in a bachelor's program, but incorporates specialized training in forensic research. Master's programs also give students training in managerial skills, organizational leadership and finances because graduates often take leadership positions.

Students interested in forensic science can seek bachelor's degree programs that include lectures and laboratory experience, preparing them for work in crime labs and related areas. Graduates may pursue advanced education in a master's degree program if they're interested in research and supervisory roles.

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