ForensicScienceDegree.org was created to help students find and research forensic science degrees and other related programs. Our site blogger, Brooke Kaelin, is a student at Eastern Kentucky University pursuing a B.S. in Forensic Psychology online. To learn more about your degree and career options in forensic science, click on these frequently asked questions below:
- What is forensic science?
- What are the most popular degrees in forensic science?
- Forensic Science vs. Criminology – What’s the difference?
- What areas of study are related to forensic science?
- What does it take to work in forensics?
What are the most popular degrees in forensic science?
In order to work in forensic science or criminal justice, you’ll need to obtain a degree related to the field. Our list of schools will help you find the right program that meets your specific career goals.
What is forensic science?
Forensic science is the study of many sciences to aid the legal system. Students studying for a forensic science degree will find themselves learning how to relate this material to civil or criminal cases. You learn how to collect and assess physical evidence and determine how it relates to the crime. As a forensics scientist, you serve as an important part of the judicial system as forensic evidence can make a major difference in a case.
Forensic Science vs. Criminology – What’s the difference?
Forensic science and criminology are related areas of work and are vocationally as close as it gets. However, criminologists theorize about the root cause of crime while forensic investigators concentrate solely on the evidence at hand. Below is a chart that defines and compares the two in both work and study:
|What is it?||Forensic science is the application of scientific methods and processes to matters that involve crime or the public.||Criminology is the scientific study of crime, including its causes, responses by law enforcement, and methods of prevention.|
What areas of study are related to forensic science?
There are many areas of study related to forensic science, each of which offers students the opportunity to take sharply-focused courses leading to a certificate or degree. Below are three of the most common areas of study with descriptions and career opportunities within each area:
|Area of Study||Description||Career Options|
|Cybercrime and Security||Focuses on issues related to network and computer security technologies and processes, with a focus on the growing threats from cybercrime||
|Crime Scene Investigation and Analysis||Focuses on how to protect and secure a crime scene, record and collect evidence, and present findings of an investigation within a legal framework||
|Criminal Justice||Focuses on theories of crime and criminal behavior, how crime is measured, media reporting and portrayal of crime, and why people commit crime||
What does it take to work in forensics?
Forensic science is a fast-paced field that requires proper training and expertise. Below are the core competencies and necessary skills often required for many job roles in this field:
Education and Training
- Education and Experience: A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent, generally a three to four year postsecondary degree) in a natural science or in other sciences relevant to forensics
- Continuing Professional Development: Forensic scientists are often requires to remain current in their field through professional development activities
Knowledge and Skills
- The Court and Legal System: Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, government regulations, agency rules, and the democratic political process
- Safety and Security: Understanding of policies and procedures to promote security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions
- Technological Acumen: Knowledge of field-specific electronic equipment, computer hardware and software, including applications and programming
- Critical Thinking Skills: Strong logic and reasoning skills in order to identify alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
To learn more about what it takes to work in forensics and what career options fit you best, check out our career guide for a comprehensive overview and other helpful resources.