Forensic chemistry is an alternative focus to biology on examining materials at a crime scene. Chemists look at physical materials that could help solve a case. For example, footprints that are recognizable or fiber that is left over from clothing that a suspect wore.

There is some blend of biology with chemistry when performing forensic toxicology. This reviews drug and alcohol levels in a human's system that can lead to criminal activity or heavy overdose that leads to severe illness or death.

When studying forensic chemistry in higher education, students gain multiple levels of chemistry topics and pursue various science courses. Mathematics and statistics are common, including quantitative analysis, calculus, and computational chemistry. This expands to the laboratory when reviewing evidence, toxicology, and advanced scientific methods.

School Level Program Admissions
Lindenwood University Bachelor BA Criminology and Criminal Justice Website
George Washington University Certificate Chemistry Certificate Website

In contrast, forensic biologists focus on the study and examination of living organisms. This emphasizes bodily fluids, blood stains, and hair that remains at the crime scene. Programs in this category also look at structure, functions, and evolution of life, which is different than a chemistry-focused curriculum.

Preparation for forensic chemistry helps professionals verify or deny investigation procedures. For example, they can verify that a suspect or victim was inebriated and under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse may also be identified, which leads to treatment plans in an alternate psychology career.

Are There Forensic Chemistry Degrees Online?

Few higher education programs across the United States have a specific focus in forensic chemistry. This limits online potential for education in this category. There are a handful of opportunities that are most often found in chemistry, criminal justice, or forensic science disciplines.

For most students, they will need to look for programs that feature forensic chemistry on campus. This makes it easier to complete laboratory sessions in a physical setting and prepare for internship experiences. In some cases, there may be hybrid opportunities with flexibility for on-campus and online study.

Prospective students should look for programs that have regional accreditation. This verifies that the institution has an established curriculum, student resources are widely available, and established professionals are represented among faculty. Holding accreditation is especially important for individuals looking at online programs.

Technology requirements are listed in the program description if the institution allows online education. These often require a modern computer with high-speed internet access. Specific applications will be different based on the university and the learning management system (LMS) used.