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Q&A - Forensic Science Programs

What other areas of study are related to my forensic science program?

Biochemistry is the most closely related field to forensic science. In fact, most top forensic science programs offer electives in biochemistry. Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes found in living matter. Knowledge of these processes is useful when analyzing evidence collected from a crime scene. Most dedicated biochemistry technician positions require a graduate degree, so schooling beyond an online bachelors in forensic science is necessary.

The study of medicine is also relevant to forensic science. In most cases, medical practice involves improving the health of a patient and providing lifesaving care. When used in conjunction with traditional or online forensic science programs, the study of medicine and medical practices can help you understand how bodily processes might have changed due to external factors.

Criminal justice, which is the system of rules, institutions and organizations in place to govern and keep order in society, will most likely be part of the curriculum in top forensic science programs. After completing a degree from a forensic science program, you’ll likely be employed by or work in conjunction with a law enforcement agency. Familiarity with the criminal justice system helps you understand what evidence is needed to build a successful case.

What internships should I pursue during my on-campus or online forensic science degree program?

The best forensic science programs will encourage you to pursue an internship. The New York State Police offers a laboratory internship that will familiarize you with the standard procedures of collecting data in the field and analyzing it in the lab. This would be a great opportunity for someone working through a traditional or online forensic science program.

Some municipalities offer internships as well, such as 1 with the Orange County, California sheriff’s department. This internship involves analyzing crime scenes and conducting postmortem exams like toxicology screenings. This would be a great internship for a student pursuing a forensic anthropology degree, which involves studying human remains, as it presents an opportunity to put into practice the theories covered in the classroom.

Other internships are offered through government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. These internships allow students in a traditional program or accredited online forensic science program to supplement class discussion while learning what it would be like to work for a federal agency. You will find that the flexibility of an online degree will leave you open to the scheduling demands of an internship.

Are there any movies or TV shows that I might enjoy during my on-campus or online forensic science degree program?

A number of hit TV shows feature forensic science as a regular part of their storyline. Students enrolled in forensic science online programs may particularly enjoy watching these shows depict forensic science techniques that they could miss out on in traditional classrooms, even if they are fictionalized adaptations.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation would be of interest to those enrolled in forensic science online programs. It follows forensic labs in various parts of the country as they employ the latest technologies to solve various crimes in the city. While entertaining, it is important to note that some tactics employed are purely fictional.

Forensic Files also showcases the role of forensic science in solving mysteries. Each episode describes an actual crime, accident or other unfortunate incident and shows how it is resolved using forensic science. It’s likely that you’ll recognize some terminology from your traditional or online forensic science program used in the show.

Medical Detectives also involves real-life case studies, but the show focuses mostly on extraordinary diseases. This program covers a lesser-known application of forensic science. Instead of examining cadavers to solve crimes, the doctors on the show use them to diagnose and treat living patients. Shows like this can be helpful if you are unsure of which field of forensic science you would like to go into.

Are there any accelerated campus-based or online forensic science programs to help me finish my degree faster?

Some schools offer accelerated programs to help you complete your degree sooner and get on the job market faster. Schools sometimes offer a combined bachelors and masters degree program, like the program at Arcadia University. The first 3 years of coursework are dedicated to undergraduate work, the fourth year is a combination of undergraduate and graduate study, and the fifth year is purely graduate coursework.

Normally, students finish a bachelors degree in 4 years and then complete another 2 to 3 years of graduate school. Other accelerated top forensic science programs offer graduate degrees in a shorter amount of time, during which students take classes in the summer to finish the degree in 1 year rather than 2.

Although schools with online forensic science programs offer graduate degrees through distance learning, they are rarely accelerated. It is difficult to provide an accelerated online forensic science program because of the density of coursework and specialized nature of most forensic science programs. For example, students pursuing a graduate degree in forensic science are often required to choose a specific area of interest and become experts in the chosen field, which is difficult to accomplish in an accelerated program.