Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Forensic Science Helps Solve Crimes

Forensic science is the study of all of the available information and evidence that is gathered from a crime scene and how it can be used to answer questions that the legal system has about crimes. Crime scene evidence is made of more than just a murder weapon. It can include blood, fingerprints, body fluids, hair and fibers. Along with the physical evidence that is gathered at a scene, investigators can also gather verbal evidence from testimonies given by witnesses or people in the general area. When physical and verbal evidence fit together, it can help investigators use scientific principles to determine specific information about how a crime was committed, what time it might have occurred, and why it occurred. Evidence taken from a crime scene can also indicate valuable clues about the person who may have committed the crime, such as age, race, and marital status.

If you are interested in how forensic science is used to solve crimes, you may want to consider majoring in it. Forensic science majors learn how to collect crime scene evidence, conduct lab work in order to test evidence, interview witnesses, write reports, and get ready to present evidence at a trial. Since forensic scientists use science to study evidence, majors take courses like organic chemistry, physics, forensic serology, and genetics. They also take many courses directly related to criminal justice, such as crime scene investigation, criminal evidence and procedure, expert-witness testimony, instrumental analysis, and the U.S. criminal-justice system. Usually forensic science majors can choose to concentrate on a specialization within the field like forensic biology, forensic chemistry, forensic psychology, or forensic psychology.

If you are an observant and detail-oriented person who is good at math and writing, then you may want to consider a career in forensic science. Those working in this broad field use their different specialties to draw conclusions from crime scene evidence in order to bring criminals to justice. Forensic science technicians collect and analyze physical evidence, document their findings through written reports, and give testimony on their findings during trials. Forensic psychologists help legal professionals understand the psychological findings in a case, provide psychotherapy to victims of crime, and evaluate the mental competency of those involved in a crime. Forensic anthropologists use their knowledge of human bones to help find and uncover human remains and determine information about those remains, such as height, age, and sex. Forensic biologists conduct DNA analysis on crime scene evidence and examine organic substances, and forensic chemists conduct chemical analysis on evidence like soil, pieces of glass, and drugs.

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