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Forensic Chemistry Major

The forensic program prepares students for employment in forensic/criminal investigation labs or for enrollment into graduate forensic programs.

Forensic chemistry deals with the application of chemistry to criminal investigation. In criminal cases, forensic scientists are often involved in the search for and examination of physical evidence that may become useful in establishing or excluding an association between someone suspected of committing a crime and the actual scene of the crime or victim. Such evidence might commonly include blood and other body fluids, hair, textile fibers, building materials (such as paint or glass), hand/rock, footwear, tool, tire marks, and flammable substances used to start fires.

Other forensic scientists might analyze suspected drugs of abuse, specimens from people thought to have taken these drugs, specimens from individuals thought to have been driving under the influence of alcohol, or individuals thought to have been poisoned. Yet others specialize in firearms, explosives, or documents with questionable authenticity.

Forensic Chemists are also involved in the investigation of crime against society, such as food adulteration, environmental pollution, use and distribution of unsafe chemicals, and dangerous working conditions. This major is recommended for individuals who wish to pursue a career in criminal investigation, in the laboratory analysis of forensic evidence, or pursue graduate study in forensic science. Due to the nature of forensic investigations, the forensic chemist requires a strong background in chemical analysis and must be able to effectively communicate the results of laboratory analyses in reports and in the courtroom. The curriculum is designed so that the major provides a strong theoretical and experimental background in chemistry as well as written and oral communication skills.

Career Opportunities

The Forensic Chemistry major will prepare students to work in modern crime laboratories at the local, regional, state, or federal levels. These graduates can also work for other law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The program also prepare students to work for private industries in their analytical, environmental, chemical synthesis, or toxicology laboratories. In addition, the program provides training to students to pursue graduate work in chemistry, forensic chemistry, forensic sciences, environmental sciences, industrial hygiene, medical chemistry, or toxicology.

Requirements

Required courses include;

  • Inorganic Chemistry I, II (8 s.h.)
  • Either Advanced Biochemistry or Inorganic Chemistry III (3 s.h.) 
  • Organic Chemistry I & II (9 s.h.)
  • Analytical Techniques (3 s.h.)
  • Analytical Chemistry (4 s.h.)
  • Biohemistry (4 s.h.)
  • Chemical Literature (1 s. h.)
  • Applications of Forensic Chemistry (3 s.h.)
  • Forensic Toxicology and DNA Analysis (4 s.h.)
  • Biological Diversity (4 s.h.)
  • Biological Principles (4 s.h.)
  • Calculus I, & II (9 s.h.)
  • Physics (8-10 s.h.)
  • Laboratory Safety Practices (1s.h.)
  • Law Enforcement (6 s.h.)
  • Computer Science (3 s.h.).

For more information about becoming a Forensic Chemistry Major at WIU, please contact us.