The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry at St. Edward’s prepares you for careers that — as depicted in popular TV dramas like CSI and NCIS — focus on the chemical analysis of substances relevant to the solving of crimes. We emphasize experiential learning. You’ll enroll in at least three semesters of research courses and join a student-faculty research group with the goal of producing and presenting professional-level work.
Students benefit from spacious, open-lab environments in the John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center and access to state-of-the-art instrumentation for innovative and collaborative research. St. Edward's is among the best-equipped small-college natural science programs in the country.
Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry
As a BS in Forensic Chemistry major, you’ll receive a thorough grounding in chemistry, forensics and criminal justice. You’ll learn to microscopically examine a range of crime scene evidence that might, for instance, confirm a suspect’s connection to a crime. You’ll analyze blood and tissue samples to identify DNA or run toxicology screens. You may also verify the chemical composition of drugs taken as evidence.
With a BS in Forensic Chemistry, graduates may work with private labs, police departments, coroner’s offices or fire departments, examining evidence related to crimes. They may also work with bomb squads, in the military, or at national agencies like the FBI or CIA. Some forensic chemists become specialists in certain kinds of identification, such as chemicals associated with explosives or toxic substances.
Many students select this degree to prepare for entry or graduate programs in forensic chemistry or chemistry for greater career advancement. Close interaction with faculty at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, labs, field work, advising sessions and program events — allows you to learn more about options for careers and graduate work.
In addition to the general education courses required of all majors, and elective courses, BS in Forensic Chemistry majors take courses from these groups:
Students who major in forensic chemistry complete core courses, which include Criminal Evidence and Proof, Organic Chemistry, Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy, Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Chemistry Laboratory, and Biochemistry.
BS in Forensic Chemistry majors complete supporting courses, which include Physics, Calculus I and II, and History and Philosophy of Science.
This major includes a mandatory forensics-based internship. Students will gain field experience within a setting such as the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office or the Austin Police Department’s Crime Laboratory.
In your junior year, you’ll begin working on a forensic chemistry research project in collaboration with a faculty member. In your senior year, you’ll present your findings at the annual Senior Seminar Symposium on campus. Examples of past presentations include “Genetic STR Typing Using Microflometric Technology” and “Determination of Hexavalent Chromium and Sulfuric Acid Mist in Air.”
View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry.
At St. Edward’s, you’ll participate in professional-level research typically reserved for graduate students at larger universities. Students work alongside professors on a variety of subjects within forensic chemistry. Engaging in professional-level research will sharpen your résumé, build your confidence and skills, and prepare you for graduate studies and your career.
Our students present their work — and win awards — at local, regional and national conferences, including these:
- American Chemical Society – National
- American Chemical Society – Southwest Region
- Texas Academy of Science
Students also present at St. Edward’s University events:
- Honors Thesis Symposium
- McNair Scholars Conference
- Senior Seminar Symposium in the School of Natural Sciences
- Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE)