What you learn in a forensic science program will depend greatly on the what level of degree program you choose to complete, however, you will find that many programs offer similar courses of instruction.
Let’s start out by discussing what a student could learn in a bachelor’s degree program. At American Intercontinental University, for example, the criminal science bachelor’s degree program offers a concentration in forensic science. This degree program is designed to teach students how to process a crime scene; how to document, package and secure evidence collected from a crime scene; how to process evidence like fingerprints, footwear impressions, and evidence from hair, fiber and fluids; how to identify types of body trauma, stages of decomposition and time of death and how to notify a victim’s family of a death. In this program, students will take the following concentration courses: introduction to forensic science, forensic psychology, medicolegal death investigations, computer crimes and computer forensics.
In a master’s degree program in forensic science, such as that offered by the University of Florida through distance education, a student will study more deeply into topics in forensic science, taking courses in forensic toxicology, scientific evidence and statistics, advanced criminalistics, blood distribution and spatter, environmental forensics, forensic anthropology and forensic genetics, to name a few. Students will also learn forensic immunology, forensic medicine, metabolic biochemistry and toxic substances.
Albany State University’s online campus offers a 1-year certificate program in biomedical forensic sciences. But even a 1-year program is packed with information. Classes are offered in eight modules and include courses in forensic biology; forensic chemistry; bloodstain pattern analysis; crime scene analysis/reconstruction & medicolegal death investigation; forensic anthropology, archeology, botany, entomology, odontology; discovery, recovery & identification of human remains; forensic psychiatry & psychology; forensic investigations of human rights abuse and torture; and forensic science & the law. Students seeking this certificate also must complete a forensic science internship where they will put what they’ve learned to work.
Basically, any good forensic science program will teach students not only of the nature and scope of forensics, but also how to apply what they’ve learned in criminal investigations and in the courtroom. They should receive general training in what is legal and ethical within forensics, along with the essential lab skills required for everyday forensic work. Internships associated with forensic training give students the hands-on training they need to be successful in a future forensic science career.