Make the world a better place, one case at a time

The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry at St. Edward’s University 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.

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.

  • Experiential learning is emphasized
  • Undertake at least three research courses
  • Gain experience from student-faculty research groups
  • Produce professional-level work
  • Benefit from open lab environments in the John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center
  • Have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation for innovative and collaborative research
  • Join one of the best-equipped, small-college natural science programs in the country.

The Forensic Chemistry major prepares students for entry or graduate programs. Close interaction with faculty at St. Edward’s University — 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. 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.

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Science with a major in Forensic Chemistry requires 70 hours of major courses, which include a combination of introductory coursework, developmental chemistry, labs and research methods.

General Education Requirements: The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Forensic Chemistry requires 57 hours of general education requirement courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.

View and download the full degree plan for our Forensic Chemistry major (PDF).

A few examples of courses students in this major take:             

  • Crime Scene Investigation – Examine, learn, understand and employ the techniques of crime
    scene investigation. The objective is to teach the fundamentals of crime scene investigation.
    Students should be able to assess any crime scene and determine proper procedures
  • Instrumental Analysis – A study of some of the modern instrumental methods including
    atomic and molecular spectroscopy, analytical separations, mass spectrometry, magnetic
    resonance spectrometry, and other salient techniques.
  • Forensic Chemistry – Major facets of forensic analytical chemistry will be covered, including
    drug analysis, forensic toxicology, trace analysis, and arson and DNA typing. The use of
    Bayesian probability in the evaluation of guilt and innocence will also be covered. Real-world
    case studies will be used to illustrate the application of these principles.

Our Faculty and Student Support Services

“My goal is to foster passion for chemistry and creativity so that students develop the knowledge, skills, and experience to be STEM innovators."

Raychelle Burks, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Student Support Services

Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage these resources that help them thrive and excel:

  • Academic counseling and advising
  • Supplemental instruction and tutoring
  • Career preparation and advising 
  • Writing Center consultation
  • Health and wellness counseling
  • Student disability support



Learn more about these services.

Welch Scholarship

Welch Scholarship

Students in chemistry-related majors at St. Edward’s may apply for Welch Foundation undergraduate research scholarships — including a summer scholarship that provides a six-week stipend to conduct research.