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.
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:
- Required foundation courses (20 credits): CCJS 101, 234, 301, 302, and 342 and STAT 200
- Specialization courses (15 credits) chosen from a single area:
- Scientific specialization
Required core courses (6 credits): CCJS 420 and 461
Applied discipline courses (3 credits): Chosen from CCJS 486A, CCJS 486B, BIOL 331, BIOL 356, or any courses designated as forensic lab science
Supplemental major course (6 credits): ANTH 351, BIOL 160, BIOL 320, BIOL 350, BIOL 356, CCJS 440, CCJS 441, FSCN 414, or any chemistry, forensic science, or physics course
- Digital specialization
Required core courses (6 credits): CCJS 390 and 421
Applied discipline courses (3 credits): CCJS 414, CMIT 424, CSIA 303, CSIA 413, or IFSM 300
Supplemental major course (6 credits): Any CSIA or IFSM course
- Required related course (3 credits): WRTG 393
The following course sequence will fulfill all the requirements for the BS in investigative forensics. Coursework for the major is indicated by . 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.
- EDCP 100 Principles and Strategies of Successful Learning (3)
(strongly recommended as first course)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- CCJS 302 Criminalistics II: The Scientific Disciplines (4)
- CCJS 342 Crime Scene Investigation (3)
- CCJS 390 Cyber Crime and Security (3)
or CCJS 420 Medical and Legal Investigations of Death
- CCJS 421 Principles of Digital Forensics (3)
or CCJS 461 Psychology of Criminal Behavior
- CCJS 414 Intelligence Analysis (3)
or CCJS 486A Workplace Learning in Criminal Justice or other applied discipline course for the specialization
- IFSM 300 Information Systems in Organizations (3)
or CCJS 441 Firearms and Toolmark Analysis
or other supplemental major course for the specialization
- CSIA 303 Foundations of Information System Security (3)
or BIOL 320 Forensic Biology
or other supplemental major course for the specialization
Minor and/or Elective Courses (41)
(to be taken in the last 60 credits along with required major courses)
Total credits for BS in investigative forensics: 120
Courses of Interest
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