Major in Investigative Forensics

Students may seek an academic major in investigative forensics. A related minor is available in forensics.

The investigative forensics major helps prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and ethical principles necessary to process and report on physical evidence at a crime scene or in connection with a civil investigation. The program is designed to help students understand both the theory and practice of the forensic disciplines and of police work. Based on national guidelines, the curriculum provides a basic foundation in investigative, scientific, and laboratory-based forensics and introduces students to the various disciplines that make up the forensic collaborative workgroup. Students may pursue further education or employment in the field.

Intended Program Outcomes

The student who graduates with a major in investigative forensics should be able to

  • Apply the scientific method to draw conclusions regarding forensic information.
  • Utilize ethical principles and an understanding of legal precedents to make decisions related to investigation, analyses, and testimony as a crime scene or forensic professional.
  • Access, interpret, and apply investigative, forensic, and criminal justice research to maintain competency within the field.
  • Use effective written and oral communication to clearly report and articulate information, analyses, or findings to relevant end users in a timely manner.
  • Recognize and evaluate evidence to determine all appropriate analyses to gather all available forensic information.
  • Synthesize forensic, evidential, and investigatory information from multiple sources to generate theories about a crime.
  • Use an understanding of the capabilities, processes, and limitations of the crime laboratory to be an informed consumer or practitioner.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements Update

Degree requirements are being updated for fall 2015. How does this affect you? Your degree requirements may vary depending on when you start your program.

A degree with a major in investigative forensics requires the successful completion of 120 credits of coursework, including 35 credits for the major; 41 credits in general education requirements; and 44 credits in the minor, electives, and other degree requirements. At least 18 credits in the major must be earned in upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above).

Requirements for the Investigative Forensics Major

Coursework for a major in investigative forensics includes the following:

Recommended Sequence

The following course sequence will fulfill all the requirements for the BS in investigative forensics. Coursework for the major is indicated by Coursework for the major. Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may make it necessary to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Students should consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options.

Investigative Forensics Degree Courses

First Courses (to be taken within the first 18 credits)

Note: Placement tests are required for math and writing courses.                 

  • LIBS 150 Introduction to Research (1)                 
  • WRTG 101 Introduction to Writing (3)
    or WRTG 101S Introduction to Writing (3)
  • MATH 106 Finite Mathematics (3)
    or a higher-level math course   

Introductory Courses (to be taken within the first 30 credits) 

  • Coursework for the major CCJS 101 Introduction to Investigative Forensics (3)
  • ECON 103 Economics in the Information Age (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course 
  • BIOL 103 Introduction to Biology (4)
    or other biological and physical sciences lecture and laboratory course(s) 
  • WRTG 293 Introduction to Professional Writing (3)
    or other writing course 
  • IFSM 201 Concepts and Applications of Information Technology (3)
    or CMST 301 Digital Media and Society (3)
  • Coursework for the major CCJS 234 Criminal Procedure and Evidence (3)
  • HUMN 100 Introduction to Humanities (3)
    or other arts and humanities course

Foundation Courses (to be taken within the first 60 credits) 

  • CMIS 111 Social Networking and Cybersecurity Best Practices (3)
    or other computing course 
  • Coursework for the major STAT 200 Introduction to Statistics (3)
  • BEHS 103 Technology in Contemporary Society (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course (discipline must differ from first
  • NSCI 100 Introduction to Physical Science (3)
    or other biological and physical sciences lecture course 
  • Coursework for the major CCJS 301 Criminalistics I: The Comparative Disciplines (4)
  • HIST 125 Technological Transformations (3)
    or other arts and humanities/historical perspective course (discipline must differ from other humanities course
  • COMM 202 Media and Society (3)
    or other communication, writing, or speech course

Additional Required Courses (to be taken after introductory and foundation courses)

  • WRTG 393 Advanced Technical Writing (3)
    (related requirement for the major; also fulfills the upper-level advanced writing requirement)
  • Coursework for the major CCJS 302 Criminalistics II: The Scientific Disciplines (4) 
  • Coursework for the major CCJS 342 Crime Scene Investigation (3) 
  • Coursework for the major CCJS 390 Cyber Crime and Security (3)
    or CCJS 420 Medical and Legal Investigations of Death               
  • Coursework for the major CCJS 421 Principles of Digital Forensics (3)
    or CCJS 461 Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  • Coursework for the major CMIT 202 Fundamentals of Computer Troubleshooting (3)
    or CCJS 486A Workplace Learning in Criminal Justice or other applied discipline course for the specialization
  • Coursework for the major CMIT 424 Digital Forensics Analysis and Application (3)
    or BIOL 350 Molecular and Cellular Biology
    or other supplemental major course for the specialization
  • Coursework for the major CMIT 440 Mobile Forensics (3)
    or FSCN 414 Fire Dynamics
    or other supplemental major course for the specialization         

Minor and/or Elective Courses (44)
(to be taken in the last 60 credits along with required major courses)

Recommended Minors 

Total credits for BS in investigative forensics: 120

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