The BS in Forensic Science has four specialized tracks: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics. Click (here) to access the degree plan.
- The Biology track deals with forensic techniques and analyses involving living organisms and their cellular/biomolecular components and products. A major emphasis will upon human forensics, from the psychology of living persons to the analysis of human hair, bones, blood, tissue and nucleic acids. An alternative option within the Biology track will emphasize analysis of non-human biological substances, including applications not only in traditional entomological forensics, but also across a wide spectrum of botanical and zoological situations. Undergraduate preparation in the Biology track will thus not only support potential graduate work in such advanced fields as forensic pathology, forensic psychology, forensic toxicology, but also in the emerging field of wildlife/biodiversity forensics.
- The Chemistry track focuses on forensic techniques and analyses involving chemicals, fibers, soils, minerals, and other substances. This track prepares students to perform forensic and chemical analysis on a wide variety of materials. This track also prepares students for entry level positions in forensic laboratories as forensic chemists, arson analysts and investigators, and trace evidence examiners.
- The Geology track focuses on forensic techniques and analyses involving soils, minerals, isotopes and dating, physical process, and other processes and substances of non-biological origin. This track prepares students to perform forensic analyses on geologic materials (such as soils, rocks, minerals, and gemstones) – and materials commonly made from them-like artificial rocks used as building materials, and glass.. This track also prepares students for entry-level positions in forensic laboratories as forensic geochemists and geologists, and trace evidence examiners.
- The Physics track focuses on forensics techniques and analysis involving physical methods. This track prepares the students to perform forensic analysis on ballistics of different projectiles, the collision of vehicles, the physics of explosion, non-destructive analysis of materials using X-rays and other beams, time-resolved imaging spectroscopy method using laser, and synchrotron radiation to identify tiny amounts of materials like fibers, drugs, etc. found at crime scenes. Graduates of this program can provide a variety of technical services, including detail examination of the scene of crime, collection and analysis of physical evidence, and vehicle examination.
Each of these tracks is well suited for preparation for eventual graduate work in forensic science disciplines. Moreover, the biology and chemistry tracks are well-suited as pre-professional programs for graduate health related fields.
Visiting judges, lawyers, and law enforcement personnel from both the United States and Mexico offer valuable “real world” education to ensure that students understand the importance of accurate record keeping, chain-of-custody documentation, stringent quality control, and data management in addition to their scientific expertise. The forensic scientist, as an expert witness, must be able to explain complex chemical reactions, the working of scientific instruments, or medical conditions in laymen terms for a jury.
Students graduating from this major would have the benefit of a traditional science program enhanced with criminal justice, criminal psychology, and crime scene art and photography skills.