Forensic Science Courses

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


FORS 2201.  Introduction to Forensic Science.  4 hrs.

This activities-based course is designed to engage students in the scientific study of searching and processing crimes scenes as well as the proper collection and analysis of physical evidence.  Students will be involved in 3 hours of lecture/discussion and a 3 hr lab session each week.  Students will experience a variety of comparison science procedures to analyze such things as ink, soils, textiles, glass, drugs, tool marks, and ballistics.  The culminating experience will engross students in solving a mock crime using collection and analysis techniques learned during the course.  
PR: CHEM 2200, BIOL 1106.  Fall semester only


FORS 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.

FORS 3200    Forensic Biology     4 hrs.
This course will expose the student to the procedures of analyzing biological evidence in the field and in the lab, ethics in forensics, and how to be an effective expert witness.  Examples of topics examined in this class will include pathology, serology, toxicology, blood spatter, entomology, fingerprinting, bone analysis, and basic DNA fingerprinting. The culminating lab experience will engross students in solving a mock crime using evidence processing techniques learned during the course.  
PR: FORS 2201 with a C or better.  Fall semester only

FORS 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.

FORS 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


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 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 2200.  Foundational Biochemistry.  4 hrs. 

An introduction to biochemistry with emphasis on the role of basic general chemistry principles, including molecular structure and intermolecular forces, periodic properties, acid-base chemistry, diffusion and osmosis, kinetics and energetics, structural models and visualization.  Introduces biochemical reaction mechanisms, cell components and their functions, and a chemical view of proteins, lipids, and cell membranes.  CHEM 1105 and CHEM 2200 satisfy the first-year chemistry requirements for science majors and students pursuing pre-professional studies (e.g., pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, etc.).  3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week.  PR: CHEM 1105.  Spring 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 3315. 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 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 3304.  Inorganic Chemistry.  4 hrs.  

This course covers the synthesis, reactions, and properties of elements molecular structure; ionic bonding, crystals, and intermolecular forces; redox chemistry; acids, bases, and nonaqueous solvents; the main group elements; the transition metals; structure, bonding, synthesis and reactions of coordination compounds.  3 hours of lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week.  PR: CHEM 2200.  Fall semester only.


CHEM 4402. 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 4404.  Synthetic Methods and Materials.  4 hrs.

This laboratory-intensive course is a study of synthetic methods and materials used in organic and inorganic chemistry, including green approaches to synthesis.  Topics include organometallic compounds, metal catalysis, inert gas techniques, characterization techniques including electrochemistry, and the synthetic chemical literature.  2 hours of lecture and one 4-hour laboratory per week.  PR: CHEM 2202, CHEM 3304.  Fall semester only, even years.  


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.


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.