Forensic Science Courses

Catalog Course Descriptions for All Required or Optional Courses in the Forensic Science Curriculum


BIOL 1106. S-FSU Biological Principles II. 4 hrs.

This introductory course in cellular biology emphasizes the organization and functions common to all living cells. The major topics to be explored include cell organelle structure and function, the molecular basis of cell energetics, the cell cycle and basic molecular biology of the cell. 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. PR: A score of 21 or better on the ACT Science Reasoning section or SCIE 1000 with a C or better. Spring semester only.

BIOL 2224. Microbiology. 4 hrs.

In this course, microorganisms (primarily bacteria) will be viewed from several perspectives; as pathogens, as components of ecosystems, and as components of industrial processes. Techniques for culturing and identifying bacteria will be presented. The course includes opportunities for students to design and conduct laboratory exercises. 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory session per week. PR: BIOL 1105 and 1106 with a C or better, and CHEM 1105.

BIOL 3360. Biochemistry. 4 hrs.

This course is a study of general principles of biochemistry, including the synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. The course integrates theory, concepts and applications. It encompasses the molecules of life, the dynamic function of biomolecules, the storage and transfer of biological information and bioenergetics of cells and organ systems. 4 hours of lecture per week. PR: CHEM 2202, and either MATH 1185 or MATH 1190. Spring semester only, in even years.

BIOL 3380. Genetics. 4 hrs.

This course builds upon genetic principles introduced in Biology 105 and 106. Topics covered include extensions of Mendelian genetics, gene mapping, chromosomal structure and mutation, DNA replication, mutation and repair and gene expression and its regulation. 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory session per week. PR: CHEM 1106 and 1113, BIOL 1105 (or Forensic Science major) and 1106. Fall semester only.

BIOL 3390. Molecular Biotechnology. 4 hrs. Writing Intensive

This course is a study of the theoretical basis of techniques used in biotechnology, and the application of these techniques to biological research in academic and industrial settings. 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. PR: BIOL 3380, CHEM 2201, and either MATH 1185 or MATH 1190. Spring semester only.

BIOL 4495. Problems in Biological Sciences. 2 hrs.

This course is designed for students who have interest in a specific problem in biology. It should not be used as a means of meeting requirements but rather as a research course that goes beyond the usual courses in developing the student’s body of knowledge. PR: 20 hours of biological courses and instructor’s consent.


CHEM 1105. S-FSU Chemical Principles. 5 hrs.

This course and the following one, CHEM 1106, constitute an introduction to modern chemistry and its applications to society, including structure, nomenclature, properties and simple reactivity of inorganic and organic chemicals, descriptive chemistry, periodic properties, spectroscopy, stoichiometry involving solids, gases and solutions, basic thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium (acid/base and solubility), introductory kinetics, biochemistry, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. 4 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. PR: ACT math score of 20; SAT Math 480, Compass score of 42 or CHEM 1101 with a grade of C or better. Fall semester only.

CHEM 1106. S-FSU Chemical Principles II. 4 hrs.

Continuation of CHEM 1105. 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. PR: CHEM 1105. Spring semester only.

CHEM 1113. Practical Scientific Statistics with a Spreadsheet. 1 hr.

Designed for students in any scientific field, this self-paced online course covers the basics of analyzing scientific data sets with statistics. Topics include error propagation, median, mean and standard deviation, t-test, q-test, hypothesis testing, linear regression analysis, creation of appropriate graphs and use of calibration curves. Three on-campus course meetings are required. PR: MATH 1112 or BIOL 1105 or CHEM 1105 or PHYS 1101 or ACT math score of 20; or SAT Math score of 480 or Compass score of 42. Spring semester only.

CHEM 2201. Organic Chemistry I. 4 hrs.

This course is a systematic study of organic chemistry with emphasis on kinetic behavior, reaction mechanisms and structural relationships. It includes the study of all major classes of organic compounds and functional groups. The course consists of 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. PR: CHEM 1106. Fall semester only.

CHEM 2202. Organic Chemistry II. 4 hrs.

This course is a continuation of CHEM 2201 and consists of 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. PR: CHEM 2201. Spring semester only.

CHEM 2205. Analytical Chemistry. 4 hrs.

Classical methods of chemical analysis, with emphasis on quantitative techniques. Also includes theory of acid-base, precipitation and oxidation methods, molecular structure, and an introduction to electrochemistry and spectroscopy. 3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week. PR: CHEM 1106, 1113. Fall semester only.

CHEM 2215. Intermediate Instrumental Analysis. 4 hrs.

This course includes the study of the basic concepts of instrument design and construction, operation of chemical instrumentation, use of standard procedures of analysis (including forensic and environmental methods), and method development for specific analysis. Spectroscopic, chromatographic and electrochemical methods of analysis are included. The course consists of two hours of lecture and one four-hour laboratory per week. PR: CHEM 1106, 1113. Spring semester only.

CHEM 2225. Forensic Microscopy and Spectroscopy. 3 hrs.

This course is an introduction to the microscopy and spectroscopic techniques employed by forensic scientists to analyzed trace evidence including hairs, fibers, paint chips, glass fragments, etc. The course will consist of two hours or classroom instruction and two hours of laboratory each week. PR: CHEM 1106, MATH 1115 or higher.

CHEM 3301. Physical Chemistry I. 4 hrs.

This course consists of a rigorous treatment of chemical kinetics and thermodynamics, based on calculus and physics. The application of partial differentiation and mathematical software to chemical problems is specifically addressed during this course. The course consists of four lecture hours per week. PR: CHEM 2201, 2205, PHYS 1102 or 1106, MATH 1185 or 1190. Fall semester only.

CHEM 3302. Physical Chemistry II. 4 hrs.

This online course deals with the development of quantum chemistry. Elements of linear algebra, differential equations and mathematical software will be applied to chemical problems. Some synchronous electronic meetings are required. PR: CHEM 2202, 2215, 3301, MATH 1186 or 3315. Spring semester only.

CHEM 4403. Independent Research. 1-3 hrs.

Independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Course is repeatable up to three times. At least two hours in the laboratory are expected for every credit. A paper describing the research is required. PR: instructor’s consent.

CHEM 4405. Advanced Integrated Laboratory. 1-2 hrs. Writing Intensive

This variable-credit, repeatable course, taken during the junior and senior years, provides a capstone experience in the chemistry laboratory. Students learn to integrate the skills required of practicing chemical professionals. They synthesize and characterize organic and inorganic compounds, learn the use, design and limitations of modern computer-controlled chemical instrumentation, study spectroscopy, reaction rates and chemical equilibria, and perform computations on chemical systems. Over the course of four semesters (including at least 7 credits), students become increasingly responsible for independent design of experiential procedures. Written and oral communication skills are stressed throughout the sequence. The course consists of two laboratory hours per week for every credit hour. PR: CHEM 2201, 2205.


CRJU 1100. S-C&TC Introduction to Criminal Justice. 3 hrs.

This course introduces the student to the three principal components of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the judiciary and corrections. It will examine the history, structure, functions and issues of each component, and introduce the student to the measurement of crime, criminological theories, criminal law, justice perspectives and the juvenile justice system.

CRJU 2226 Crime Scene Investigation. 3 hrs.

This course will examine all aspects of performing a thorough and methodical crime scene investigation. This course will address a variety of crime scene ranging from crimes of violence to property crime scenes. Various types of physical evidence such as latent prints, trace evidence, biological fluids will be examined. The methods and procedures utilized for the collection of evidence will be demonstrated and examined. PR: CRJU 1100

CRJU 2236. S-C&TC Criminal Investigation. 3 hrs.

This course will survey the fundamental techniques of criminal investigation. Students will be exposed to the history of criminal investigation and criminalistics, interviewing and interrogation, physical evidence, crime scene procedures, crime analysis, investigation techniques, report writing, case preparation and courtroom testimony. PR: CRJU 1100.

CRJU 2246. S-FSU Criminal Evidence. 3 hrs.

This course covers constitutional and procedural considerations affecting arrest, search and seizure, post-conviction treatment; the origin, development, philosophy and constitutional basis of evidence; kinds and degrees of evidence and rules governing admissibility; and judicial decisions interpreting individual rights and case studies. The primary focus is on the case study approach. PR: CRJU 1100.

CRJU 2256. S-C&TC Homicide Investigation. 3 hrs.

This course will examine all aspects of performing a thorough and methodical death investigation. The course will address the initial arrival, securing the scene, forensic evidence, follow-up, causes and motives. Suicides, accidental deaths, natural causes, homicide, serial and mass murder will also be examined. Students will learn about the importance of latent prints, blood spatters, rigor mortis, livor mortis, entomology, bite marks, interrogations and current software to aid in an investigation. PR: CRJU 2236.

CRJU 3300. Criminalistics. 3 hrs.

Students will study the scientific approach to collecting and analyzing physical evidence. The course will expose the student to the procedures of searching and processing crime scenes for fingerprints, body fluids, glass, fibers, tool marks, ballistics, footprints and tire impressions. The student will be instructed in the proper methods of preserving and shipping criminal evidence for analysis, the various laboratory techniques used in analyzing criminal evidence and how expert witness testimony is prepared and presented in court. PR: CRJU 2236. CRJU 3320. Criminology. 3 hrs. The study of deviant behavior as it relates to the definition of crime. Topics include crime statistics theories of crime causation and crime typologies. PR: CRJU 1100.


INTR 3300 Forensic Criminalistics Lab. 1 hr.

This lab and activities-based course is designed to complement theoretical content covered in CRJU 3330 (Criminalistics). Students will be engaged for a 3 hr session each week in a variety of comparison science experiences to analyze such things as fingerprints, blood spatter patterns, handwriting, soils, textiles, glass, drugs, flammable liquids, and explosives. PR: PHYS 1102 or 1106, CHEM 1106, BIOL 1106. CR: CJRU 3330

INTR 4401. Capstone Seminar in Forensic Science. 3 hrs.

Designed to help students synthesize and apply, in a forensic science context, the approaches, knowledge and skills acquired in criminal justice, biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics courses. The course structure consists of student-driven case studies and discussions from recent literature, student presentations describing internship experiences and an explicit formal introduction to established professional and laboratory practices in forensic sciences, including ethics. PR: BIOL 3390 and CHEM 2215 and CRJU 3300.

INTR 4411 Forensic Science Internship. 2 hr.

This course provides a practical experience for junior or senior forensic science majors who are planning on careers in forensic science or related fields. The internship program offers the student an opportunity for observation of practitioners at work, as well as involvement in the day-to-day operation of a forensic science agency. Students participate in guided observation and activities and complete a reflection paper and log of the internship hours as well as other course requirements. Students will be engaged for a minimum of 85 hours with the participating agency that has been approved by the Forensic Science Program Coordinating Committee. PR: INTR 3300


MATH 1113. S-FSU Applied Statistics. 4 hrs.

This course is an introduction to statistics with appropriate applications. Topics covered include descriptive statistics, probability, binomial distribution, normal distribution, sampling, hypothesis testing and regression and correlation. A problem-solving approach and modern software will be used to study the normal, t, chi-square and F distributions. PR: MATH ACT score of 21 or MATH SAT of 500 or COMPASS score of 49 or MATH 1102 or MATH 1112. Spring Semester Only.

MATH 1185. S-FSU Applied Calculus I. 4 hrs.

A study of calculus with an emphasis on its applications to science, business, technology and social science. Topics covered using the derivative consist of functions and their graphs, max/min problems, related rates, approximation of change and curvilinear motion. Topics covered using the integral consist of area, volume and accumulation functions. Graphing calculators and mathematical software will be introduced and used throughout the course. PR: MATH ACT score of 24, or MATH SAT 560 or COMPASS score of 67 or MATH 1115 or MATH 1102 with “B” or better.

MATH 1190. Calculus I. 4 hrs.

This course is the calculus of one variable, beginning with an intuitive study of limits and a geometric interpretation of the derivative. Topics include differentiation of functions and the application of the derivative to graphing functions, approximating functions, solving max/min problems and related rate problems, anti-differentiation and its link to the signed area under a curve, the fundamental theorem of calculus and applications of the definite integral. PR: MATH ACT score of 25, or MATH SAT 570, or COMPASS 73, or MATH 1115 or MATH 1170 or MATH 1186.


PLEASE NOTE: PHYS 1105/1106 substitutes for PHYS 1101/1102 in all programs. PHYS 1105/1106 is calculus based and is a more appropriate level of study than PHYS 1101/1102 for science majors and some technology majors.

PHYS 1101. S-FSU Introduction to Physics I. 4 hrs.

An introduction to elementary principles of mechanics, sound, and heat. A three-hour laboratory period each week supplements the three lecture-recitation periods. PR: MATH 1102 or MATH 1115 or MATH ACT 24 or MATH SAT 560 or Compass 67.

PHYS 1102. S-FSU Introduction to Physics II. 4 hrs.

A continuation of PHYS 1101; includes a study of electricity and magnetism, light and basic atomic and nuclear physics. PR: PHYS 1101.

PHYS 1105. S-FSU Principles of Physics I. 5 hrs.

Students are instructed in the elementary principles and calculus-based mathematical descriptions of matter and energy, including mechanics (linear and rotational motion, force, work and energy, harmonic motion), fluids, wave motion and thermal physics. A three-hour lab period supplements a four-hour weekly lecture. CR: MATH 1186 or MATH 3315 or TECH 3300. PR: MATH 1185 or MATH 1190 or TECH 2290 or MATH ACT 28 or MATH SAT 630 or Compass 89.

PHYS 1106. S-FSU Principles of Physics II. 5 hrs.

Students are instructed in the elementary principles and calculus-based mathematical descriptions of electricity and magnetism, light, optics and modern physics. A three-hour lab period supplements the four-hour weekly lecture. PR: PHYS 1105.