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
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.
Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science major requires75-77 hours of Forensic Science major courses, including courses in subjects such as Bioinformatics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics.
General Education Requirements: In addition to the major program requirements, all students must satisfy the general education requirements. Talk with your success coach and faculty advisor about which courses are right for you.
View and download the full degree plan for the BS in Forensic Science major (PDF) and a helpful course map (PDF).
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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)
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.
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.