Forensic Science (BS)

For those students dreaming of a career investigating crime scenes, offering expert testimony in the courtroom, or analyzing DNA in a lab setting, ASU’s West campus offers the forensic science program. Combining rigorous study in biology, chemistry, and oral communication, along with hands-on research opportunities with real life cold cases offered only at ASU’s West campus, and internships in Phoenix area crime labs, students will be uniquely prepared to enter the career field upon graduation.

The School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences offers a BS in forensic science in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU's West campus.

Forensic science is the study and application of scientific methods to matters of law. The forensic science program emphasizes laboratory coursework in chemistry and biology as both areas provide essential experience with techniques commonly used in crime labs. Rigorous coursework in the natural and mathematical sciences is required to ensure graduates are competitive in the workforce. The program is enhanced by a focus on oral communication skills that help prepare graduates for the multifaceted, transdisciplinary aspects of careers in forensic science, such as providing articulate expert witness testimony. If pursuing a career as a forensic DNA analyst, nine cumulative hours of coursework in biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics are required; coursework in population genetics is desirable. Employers may require documentation for completed coursework, such as an official course syllabus.

Forensic science students may apply for and participate in internships sponsored by metropolitan Phoenix area crime labs. Internships are competitive, and the application process takes time. Fall semester internships generally require application in the spring semester prior, and spring or summer semester internships generally require application by the start of the fall semester. Internship positions are unpaid and require concurrent enrollment in FOR 484 Internship. Students must also have a faculty mentor and abide by all internship standards for the school and the location where the internship is held. Students may also participate in cutting-edge research with a faculty mentor either as a volunteer in the faculty member's lab or by registering for FOR 499 Individualized Instruction. For more information, students should see an academic advisor.

Job applicants and students seeking a volunteer or internship position within a crime lab are required to undergo an extensive background check that includes a polygraph exam (commonly known as a lie detector test), fingerprinting and drug testing. Actions that can disqualify an applicant include recent or past illicit drug use, felony convictions and drunk driving convictions.

Degree Offered

Forensic Science (BS)
Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, New College of


Major Map

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Application Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

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Financial Aid
ASU has many financial aid options. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, more than 70 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year.

Career Outlook

Forensic science graduates are prepared to enter the workforce with crime labs and private forensic science labs at the local, state and federal levels. Graduates also are prepared for graduate programs in forensic science, law school, medical school and related fields. As of fall 2015, 40 percent of ASU's forensics graduates were employed in the field or were in graduate school, and a quarter of students who applied to graduate in fall 2015 received offers of employment in the field prior to graduation.

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Career*growth*median salary
Biological Scientists, All Other-0.4%$74,720
Biological Technicians5.2%$41,290
Chemical Technicians 1.9%$44,180
Chemists 2.6%$73,480
Clinical Research Coordinators 3.3%$120,050
Forensic Science Technicians 26.6%$55,360
Natural Sciences Managers 3.3%$120,050
Life Scientists, All Other7.2%$69,100
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists8.3%$79,930

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

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