Play a critical role in the justice system by preparing scientific work to be presented in courts of law.

As a Forensic Science major, you’ll learn how to collect and analyze evidence from crime scenes so it can be used in court cases or the criminal justice system. Become an expert witness in criminal cases, or work in the field as a crime scene or fingerprint technician. Unlike in popular TV shows, crime scenes never have easy answers — but you’ll learn how to approach them in a methodical, detail-oriented way that engages both critical and creative thinking.

You’ll learn crime scene investigation techniques, scientific methods for analyzing the data you collect, and legal and ethical protocols. Get hands-on experience at mock crime scenes, like the one Associate Professor of Forensic Science Casie Parish-Fisher set up using the remains of deceased hogs at Wild Basin Creative Research Center, an Austin wilderness preserve managed by St. Edward’s. Intern with the Austin Police Department, the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office or other law enforcement agencies, and graduate ready to use science to create a more just and safe society.

What do our graduates do?

Forensic Science majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.

  • Pursuing careers at the Texas Department of Public Safety, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, Austin Police Department, Houston Forensic Science Center, San Antonio Police Department and Round Rock Police Department
  • Attending the South Texas College of Law
  • Attending graduate school at Sam Houston State University, University of North Texas and University of Central Lancashire
  • Attending medical school at the St. George’s University Charter Program to Medicine and the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara Medical School

The Thrill of Discovery

The Thrill of Discovery

Undergraduate research at St. Edward’s connects students with professional mentors, encourages them to take on new challenges and helps some find careers they never imagined. Read about five students, including a Forensic Science major, whose research is finding answers.

Forensic Science Tracks and Degree Requirements

1. Forensic Science - Lab Emphasis

In the Forensic Science with Laboratory Emphasis program, you will develop a thorough understanding of science and knowledge about law needed to be an expert witness in criminal cases. You’ll focus on upper-level science courses designed to teach you to how to apply scientific methodologies to evidence found at crime scenes.

Major Requirements: The BS in Forensic Science with a lab emphasis requires 75 - 77 hours from math, physics, biology, chemistry, bioinformatics and forensic science.

Electives: 12 - 14 additional hours of elective courses are required and come from biology, chemistry, criminal justice, math, or forensic science.

General Education Requirements: 57 hours of general education coursework is required for the major.

View and download the full degree plan for Forensic Science with a Lab Emphasis major (PDF).

2. Forensic Science - Field Emphasis

In the Forensic Science with a Field Emphasis program, you will balance the study of science and criminal justice. This program prepares you for a career in law enforcement or criminal justice. Graduates of this program are eligible for entry-level positions as crime scene technicians or fingerprint technicians. They may pursue advanced degrees in general forensic science or other specialized fields. 

Major Requirements: The BS in Forensic Science with a lab emphasis requires 71 hours from forensic science, criminal justice, biology, chemistry and psychology.

General Education Requirements: 57 hours of general education coursework is required for the major.

View and download the full degree plan for Forensic Science with a Field Emphasis major (PDF).

Our Faculty and Student Support Services

Dr. Parish Fisher's research interest involves DNA analysis, specifically direct-amplification and rapid DNA analysis for field use.  Her projects have centered around generating DNA profiles post-chemical and powder processing for latent prints, post-chemical enhancement for latent blood impressions, and biological samples which have been exposed to fire.

– Casie Parish Fisher, Assistant Professor of Forensic Science and Director of the Forensic Science Program

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.

Outside the Classroom

Students majoring in Forensic Science can explore career paths and practical application of their studies through internships and interactions with the greater Austin community.

Research and Field Experience 

You’ll participate in “mock” crime scenes that simulate common field experiences. You’ll also have access to instrumentation for innovative and collaborative research. Read more about Forensic Science students unearthing evidence in their field work.

Culminating Experience

You'll finish your studies with a senior research project. The purpose of this project is to give you the opportunity to engage in practical application of the work you've studied. You'll have the chance to choose a project in a particular area of interest. For example, one former senior research project was “Genetic STR Typing Using Chip Electrophoresis." This project gave students experience with DNA extraction, experimental design, real-time PCR, and data analysis.

Internships

Forensic Science majors 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. You'll also have the opportunity 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: 

  • Travis County Medical Examiner's Office
  • Austin Police Department
  • Travis County Sheriff's Office
  • Leander Police Department
  • El Paso Police Department
  • Bexar County Sheriff's Office

About the Minor

Students who are interested in the forensic fields can get a minor in Forensic Science in order to establish baseline knowledge and experience within the subject. This is especially helpful for individuals who are interested in pursuing careers where forensic knowledge enhances their job applicant profile.

Required Coursework

  • Intro to Forensic Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation I with Lab
  • Crime Scene Investigation II with Lab
  • Crime Scene Photography
  • Principles and Practices of Science and Law
  • Crime Victims (Victimology)
  • Criminology

Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.

Named Among Best Forensic Science Programs

Named Among Best Forensic Science Programs

The Forensic Science major in the School of Natural Sciences at St. Edward's University is ranked among the top-25 Bachelor in Forensic Science degree programs by College Choice. Our Forensic Science major offers students the option to customize their degree with either a lab or field emphasis and prepares them to take on roles as crime scene investigators and personnel within crime laboratories.