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.
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 further training beyond the B.S., such as 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, and also allows the student to select from elective courses 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.
Students with the forensic science option are also well prepared careers not directly involving forensic science, such as in biotechnology, medical or environmental laboratories, or for pursuing graduate degrees in chemistry and related areas where a stronger biological and analytical background is advantageous.
- Comprehensive list including undergrad and grad schools
- Listing of all levels of Criminal Justice Programs and great information on Forensic Science degrees and careers.
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences
- Society of Forensic Toxicologists
- FBI summer internships
- International Crime Scene Investigators Association's information
- Forensic Science Technician - A Guide to Forensic Science Degree Programs
Potential internship locations
- State Forensics Lab - Springfield - drug and chemical analysis.
- State Forensics Lab - Salem - ballistics
- State Forensics Lab - Portland - the largest state crime lab.
"Cops and Robbers 101" (Corvallis Police Academy). 10-week workshop, 3 hrs/week, Wed 6:30-9:30 pm. Taught Fall and Spring. Overview of what Corvallis police do. Includes learning to: drive a police car, firearm safety and use, fingerprinting, etc.
Career opportunities for chemistry majors
Forensic Scientist - an expert in using scientific investigations to establish facts in many aspects of criminal, civil and regulatory cases; works with lawyers.
Criminalistics - analysis, comparison, identification & interpretation of physical evidence obtained through use of technology to reconstruct events of crime; uses analytical skill, experience in investigations and trials (expert witnesses).
Document Examiner - authorship, authenticity, alterations, and physical features of documents. In addition to BS, requires 2-yr apprenticeship with court examiner.
Forensic Toxicology - interpretation of analytical, clinical and environmental data for law & medicine; expert witness;
Forensic Pathology - a medical specialty focused on determining the cause of death of a victim
Also Wildlife Forensics; Computer Forensics; Nursing; Crime Scene Investigation.
Students entering the option program should be aware that obtaining positions in forensic science is very competitive. Many applicants apply for a single position, and employers will choose only the top students. In Oregon, there are less than 100 total positions in state crime labs, and typically, only one or two positions will open a year. We believe that success in our program will make you a competitive applicant for these positions, but will also prepare you for a diversity of career options after graduation.
The Forensic Science Option is appropriate for students interested in working in a crime lab or pursing a graduate degree in chemistry or forensic science. Students can earn a B.S. chemistry degree in four years and also take a combination of courses that enhance a chemistry major's background in biology, biochemistry, and related areas that can be important in forensic science.