Undergraduate

Forensic Science

The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science at St. Edward’s University goes beyond the crime scene investigations depicted on television and in movies. Our Forensic Science program includes diverse coursework that prepares students to assist in casework using practical scientific application to criminal cases. Students can now choose between two degrees. Students who prefer to focus on laboratory-based jobs such as DNA analysis, drug analysis and toxicology should choose the Laboratory Emphasis. (This emphasis also has coursework to prepare for medical school for those interested in pathology/medical examiner professions.) Students who intend to pursue careers with an emphasis in crime scene, latent prints, firearms or who want to work as investigators/detectives should choose the Field Emphasis.

As a forensic science major, you’ll work alongside faculty in the spacious, open-lab environment of the John Brooks Williams Natural Science Building at St. Edward’s. You’ll have access to instrumentation for innovative and collaborative research, and you’ll participate in “mock” crime scenes that simulate common field experiences.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science: Laboratory Emphasis

Overview:

The BS in Forensic Science with a Laboratory Emphasis cultivates a thorough understanding of science along with knowledge of the law sufficient to be an expert witness in criminal cases. As a forensic science major in this program, you’ll focus on upper-level science courses that will enable you to apply scientific methodologies to evidence encountered at crime scenes.

With a BS in Forensic Science, graduates are eligible for entry-level positions as laboratory technicians, or they may pursue advanced degrees in forensic science or other specialized fields. Our graduates have found rewarding careers with the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory, the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Austin Police Department.

Close interaction with forensic science faculty at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, labs, advising sessions and departmental events — allows you to learn more about career options.

Course Preview:

In addition to the general education courses required of all majors, and elective courses, BS in Forensic Science (Lab Emphasis) majors take courses from these groups:

REQUIRED COURSES
All forensic science majors must complete a set of required courses, which include Crime Scene Investigations I and II, Death Investigations, Principles and Practices of Science and Law, and Professional Practica in Forensic Science.

CORE COURSES
Students who major in forensic science (Lab Emphasis) complete core courses, which include Administration of Justice, Genomics, Physics I and II, Molecular Biology, Organic Chemistry and Applied Statistics.

SUPPORTING COURSES
BS in Forensic Science (Lab Emphasis) majors complete supporting courses, which could include Population Biology and Ecology, Human Genetics, Biochemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, and Forensic Chemistry.

CULMINATING EXPERIENCE
As a forensic science major, you’ll conclude your studies with a senior research project, designed to provide hands-on experience in your chosen area of interest. One example of a former senior research project was “Genetic STR Typing Using Chip Electrophoresis” — which gave students experience with DNA extraction, experimental design, real-time PCR and data analysis.

View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science: Laboratory Emphasis.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science: Field Emphasis

Overview:

The BS in Forensic Science with a Field Emphasis balances the study of science and criminal justice. This combination prepares forensic science majors for careers in law enforcement or criminal justice.

With a BS in Forensic Science (Field Emphasis), graduates are eligible for entry-level positions as crime scene technicians or fingerprint technicians, or they may pursue advanced degrees in general forensic science or other specialized fields. Our graduates have found rewarding careers with the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory, the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Austin Police Department, and other jobs relating to science and the law.

Close interaction with forensic science faculty at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, labs, advising sessions and departmental events — allows you to learn more about career options.

Course Preview:

In addition to the general education courses required of all majors, and elective courses, BS in Forensic Science (Field Emphasis) majors take courses from these groups:

REQUIRED COURSES
All forensic science majors must complete a set of required courses, which include Crime Scene Investigations I and II, Death Investigations, Principles and Practices of Science and Law, and Professional Practica in Forensic Science.

CORE COURSES
Students who major in forensic science (Field Emphasis) complete core courses, which include Administration of Justice, Criminal Evidence and Proof, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Applied Statistics and Physics I.

SUPPORTING COURSES
BS in Forensic Science (Field Emphasis) majors complete supporting courses, which could include Crime Scene Photography, Criminology, American Law Enforcement and Introduction to Forensic Psychology.

CULMINATING EXPERIENCE
As a forensic science major, you’ll conclude your studies with a senior research project, designed to provide hands-on experience in your chosen area of interest. One example of a former senior research project was “Analysis of Different Methods of Mixing Dental Stone for Casting Impressions” — which gave students experience with various casting materials, crime scene based photography and evaluating previous published research articles.

View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science: Field Emphasis.

Internships

Students majoring in forensic science at St. Edward’s complete internships each year with top law enforcement agencies and criminal justice organizations. Internships are excellent opportunities to explore your passions in a specialized area of forensic science and to learn new skills and collaborate with experts in the field. An internship experience is an outstanding addition to your résumé and can give you a distinct advantage for graduate school or your career path in forensic science.

Forensic science majors have earned highly competitive internships at state and local agencies, including the Austin Police Department and the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Research

At St. Edward’s, you’ll participate in professional-level research typically reserved for graduate students at larger universities. Forensic science majors work alongside professors to conduct academic research, as they build confidence and skills that prepare them for graduate school or criminal justice careers.

Our students not only conduct research, they publish and present their work — and win awards — at local, regional and national conferences. Forensic science majors have participated in forums such as these:

  • American Chemical Society Conference
  • Texas Division of the International Association for Identification Conference
  • World History Association of Texas Conference

The opportunities to attend conferences, participate in workshops and make important social connections add valuable experience that benefits forensic science majors long after graduation.

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