- Michigan State University - Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis | Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Point Park University - Master of Arts in Intelligence and Global Security
- Utica College - BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation, Financial Crimes Investigator Certificate
Forensic science, at its core, is the use of science in any scientific discipline in relationship to law. This idea can be spread as widely as possible through many different topics and causes. Through the use of scientific methods, the knowledge of the law, and personal judgment, forensic science plays a large role in how cases are heard and decided upon in the justice system.
If you find yourself seeking a degree program that tests your ability to solve problems, develop hypotheses, and put together the sometimes complicated puzzles created by criminal activity, this may be a field that you want to be a part of.
Online degrees in forensic science are available across the country and our team has provided all of the information you need to potentially get ahead of others within this field.
What is a Degree in Forensic Science?
Forensic science degree programs start from the very basic knowledge of sciences including chemistry, physiology, biology, and technology.
Through the curriculum in these topics, you should gain a better understanding of how things operate both on a very basic level and through advanced studies. On the other hand of the spectrum, you will also be taught the various attributes of law and its relationship to forensics.
Most forensic science degree programs focus on criminal law, but knowledge of the law in general is needed to work in agencies that work on legal cases that do not involve criminal activity (i.e. family, civil, or business law).
Combining these 2 very different elements of forensic science can set the stage for more focused learning in crime scene investigation, evidence analysis, and biological, chemical, and ballistic identification. Through online degree programs in forensic science, you can gain the expertise that you need to be a part of this fascinating and growing field.
Our experts have provided a relevant and helpful guide to assist you in your decision to take part in online forensic science degree programs.
Common Core Courses in Forensic Science
Introduction to Investigative Forensics
This course introduces students to the practical applications of forensic science in the field. The various techniques associated with investigative forensics are discussed in an effort to increase the student's understanding of proper physical and ethical methods. Students are taught to use the scientific method throughout their career as a method for more effective forensic science applications of criminal and non-criminal nature.
The importance of forensic science is also outlined, teaching students the relevance and significance of this field and how it plays into the justice system. Course discussions will include the scientific methods and how it can be applied to evidence, ethics, and the legalities that are faced in the field. Students will learn the meaning of forensic science in relationship to other related terms, the evolution of forensic science in relationship to technology and biological advancements, and how evidence plays into law as a whole.
Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Students begin this course with an in depth look into criminal procedure and the regulations and requirements that are present in criminal law. Students are taught to understand how evidence plays a role in criminal procedure and its importance before, during, and after collection. A wider understanding of how evidence is presented on a legal platform can provide a more stable foundation for evidence collection, preservation, and analysis.
The integrity of evidence will be taught to students, as well as the permissibility of different types of evidence in relationship to collection methods and care. The various legal processes that are in place to protect the reliability of evidence will also be touched on, including due process, search and seizure, and proper arrest. Students that have completed this course should gain a wider understanding of how important proper evidence collection and maintenance is in the criminal justice system.
Physical Evidence Courses
Students will be taught the accepted practices of collecting evidence from crime scenes. Physical Evidence is a course that covers the essential practices for collecting evidence from an open crime scene, while highlighting some of the more common mistakes that are made from forensic science professionals in the field. Students are also instructed on the different methods used in the analysis of evidence while on the scene and in a laboratory setting, which plays a large role in the integrity of evidence from the crime scene to the laboratory.
Chain of custody is discussed as a measure of care for evidence during the investigative process as well as assuring the quality of evidence with emphasis on comparative analysis. This course may also have an accompanying laboratory requirement, which works to expand the knowledge of students in physical evidence collection and analysis. Trace evidence, tool marks, ballistics, toxicology, and fingerprints may be discussed during the laboratory requirement of this course.
Crime Scene Processing Courses
Crime Scene Processing touches on the many different topics associated with proper collection of evidence, crime scene preservation, and due care. Students that take this course will be taught the precautionary measures taken when entering into a regulated area, proper tools used to collect evidence during an investigation, and approved methods for removing items from a crime scene.
These courses seek to inform students of the necessity of care during the processing of crime scenes and opens up discussions about the potential harms that could be present in the event that evidence is tainted or disturbed during the course of an investigation. Completion of this course should indicate that students have an acceptable understanding of how to conduct processing on scene without disturbing areas or lowering the integrity of the evidence collected.
Is a Forensic Science Degree Right for Me?
If you are considering an online degree program in forensic science, you should sit back and consider the various requirements of a career in this field. Forensic science is a hugely diverse field that requires professionals to abandon any potential bias and look at the world with an open mind.
The work environment can sometimes be hectic, with some agencies assigning forensic science professionals to multiple cases at a time, while another may only assign one. The work is hardly ever the same. In some specializations, you may look at very similar cases on a daily basis, but be required to approach them from different angles. You may work on a crime scene when necessary as well as spend some of your time in a laboratory.
If you like a lot of variety, this could definitely be a career field that suits your potential.
Deciding on forensic science as a degree is exciting and can open doors in many different areas involved with law. Working alongside law enforcement can provide for an intense career field that truly has an impact on society. If you have a strong desire to investigate, great problem solving skills, and the ability to see beyond the obvious, you can count on this degree program to meet your demands.
Online degree programs in forensic science are available all across the country, just waiting for you to enroll.