The forensic science option is a combination of courses that are taken in conjunction with a larger set of core courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. This combination leads to a B.S. degree in chemistry. The final course transcript will specify that the student has earned the forensic science option. 

The courses selected for the forensic science option are based on general course recommendations by directors and forensic scientists at state crime laboratories or faculty at institutions offering graduate degrees in forensic science or chemistry. Chemistry and other majors such as biochemistry and microbiology are normally regarded as providing a good foundation for working in crime labs and further training beyond the B.S. is normal. This further education may be formal education in a graduate school or "on the job" training in a crime lab. OSU does not offer courses in forensic chemistry, but the curriculum provides a strong analytical chemistry background and exposure to many of the techniques and instruments used in crime labs. 

The OSU forensic science option allows a chemistry major to gain more experience in biology and biochemistry, as for premed and biochemistry options, and also allows the student to select some electives including toxicology, microbiology, environmental forensic chemistry, and statistics.  This option also includes three advanced courses in analytical chemistry as is required for the advanced chemistry and environmental chemistry options. We believe that the combination of courses in the option will make a strong chemistry major at OSU more competitive for positions in crime labs or for continuing their education in forensic chemistry at a graduate school. 

Students with the forensic science option are also well prepared careers not directly involving forensic science. Possible areas include other types of laboratories such as biotechnology, medical, or environmental or for pursuing graduate degrees in chemistry and related areas where a stronger biological and analytical background is advantageous. 

Students entering the option program should be aware that obtaining positions in the forensic science area is very competitive. Many applicants apply for a single position. Employers will choose only the top students. Within Oregon there are less than 100 positions in state crime labs, and at most typically one or two positions open a year. The OSU BS chemistry degree with any option provides strong science background credentials that are suitable for pursuing many chemistry related professions or graduate degrees.

Links about Forensic Science (last updated May 2011)

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1. CH 463 is the recommended WIC course but CH 462 is the recommended alternative and also a recommended extra lab course. 

2. Both chemistry and biochemistry advanced laboratories can be scheduled to meet on TR so students should plan carefully if they choose biochemistry as an elective.

3. CH 411 and CH 412 are a sequence so that CH 411 is the specified inorganic chemistry course. 

4. DGSN 255 is now the accepted elective in textiles.  Chemistry majors may need to get an override to enroll.

5. As of Fall 2020, BI 22X replaces BI 21X .  A minimum of C- in BI 22X is an enforced prereq for BB 314.  BI 22X must be taken in order.  If you completed the previous BI 21X series before Fall 2020, this series still meets the requirements here.

6. BI 314 is an enforced prerequisite for MB 302/303. 

Elective courses

Course Number Type of Course Comments Enforced pre-requisite
BB 492 Biochemistry - 3rd term     
BI 311 Genetics BI 314 strongly recommended  
CH 401 Research Three credits maximum toward option  
CH 410 Internship (external) Student makes own arrangements to work voluntarily or for pay at a crime lab.  
CH 424 Bioanalytical Chemistry Not taught often  
CH 661 Separations, Chromatography and Related Methods    
CH 691 Environmental Chemistry of Organic Substances    
CH 692 Environmental Transformation of Organic Compounds    
CH 697  Mass Spectrometry of Organic Compounds    
DGSN 255 Textiles Chemistry majors may need an override.  
MB 302, 303 Microbiology Lecture and Lab   BI 314
ST 201 & 211 Statistics    
ST 351 Statistics    
TOX 490 Environmental Forensic Chemistry    
Z 331 Human Anatomy    
Z 341 Human Anatomy Lab    

Other applicable courses/studies:

  • Firearm Safety Courses
  • Photography (ART 261, 262, or 263)
  • Microscopy
  • MS Courses (100 & 200 level courses open to all)
  • Corvallis offers a Citizens Academy called "Cops and Robbers 101". It is a 10-week workshop, 3 hr/week, optional 1 cr through LBCC and includes an overview of what Corvallis police do; includes learning to: driving police cars, firearm safety and use, fingerprinting, etc. Usually offered in April.  See the web page at: