College of Criminal Justice News

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Undergraduate Minors Offered in Forensic Science

Two women look at a shoe print impression in the lab.

The Department of Forensic Science launched two undergraduate minors to help boost career options in criminal justice, natural sciences, the health care field, and anthropology.

The minor in Forensic Science, which will debut this summer, is an 18 credit program that exposes students to a wide variety of forensic practices, including fingerprints, impressions, hair, fibers, trace, firearms, tool marks, DNA, accelerants, explosives, and drugs. This knowledge can be used by law enforcement in investigations or in a lab setting evaluating evidence or samples.

A human skeleton“If you understand a little more about forensic science, it will help you be a better investigator,” said Dr. Sarah Kerrigan, Director of the Department of Forensic Science and former state crime lab director. “It will also make individuals with science degrees more competitive if they choose to pursue a career in forensics with just a BS degree.”

The Department also offers a minor in Forensic Anthropology, which is the application of physical anthropology to the criminal justice system. In addition to its application in anthropology and criminal justice, the 17-credit minor can assist in a wide variety of jobs in the health care field, such as medical anthropology, forensic archaeology and museum careers.

Forensic Science Minor

A woman taking samples in the lab.The minor in Forensic Science is geared to students majoring in other areas who have a general interest in forensics to pursue careers in the investigative or forensic field or to continue on to graduate schools in forensic science. The minor is most suitable for those pursing degrees in Criminal Justice, Biology, Chemistry, Nursing, Computing Sciences and Psychology. Students can choose from an “investigative” or “science” focus.

In addition to general criminal justice and forensic classes, students may choose from advanced courses in crime scene investigative techniques, ethics and professional practices, physical evidence techniques, an introduction to forensic chemistry or fundamentals of forensic biology. Virtually all of the classes will be available online, with most being offered this summer.

Forensic Anthropology

Dr. Joan Bytheway teaches crime scene investigation techniques in the field.The minor in Forensic Anthropology will prepare students to work in a wide variety of careers, such as forensic anthro- pologists in medical examiners offices, university anthropology lab technicians, crime scene investigators, health care professionals, or museum curators. The minor may be paired with degrees in Criminal Justice, Medical/Allied Health, Biology, Forensic Chemistry, and Geography.

The minor will help educate students about the human skeleton and provide techniques and skills that can be applied to a variety of fields. In addition to a strong background in the human skeleton, students will have the opportunity to work on state-of-the-art equipment, such as devices to cut bone to produce bone histology slides, a digitizer, used to produce 2D or 3D skeletal images, and ground penetrating radar to detect human remains in soil.

In addition to courses in forensic science, students can choose classes in physical anthropology, human osteology, introduction to forensic anthropology and advanced techniques in forensic anthropology.

For more information, contact the Department of Forensic Science at 936.294.4370 or by email at forensics@shsu.edu.


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