Forensic and Investigative Sciences - BS, Pre-Law Emphasis

Forensic and Investigative Sciences (BS - Pre-Law Emphasis) is a major offered by the Department of Entomology. Molecular, organismal, environmental, and ecological sources of information are often analyzed and interpreted in industrial, regulatory, legal, medical and associated professions. Graduates will be competitive for employment opportunities in homeland security and investigative services at local, state and national levels. Graduates will also be well prepared for opportunities to enter post-graduate studies or law school.  

Forensic and investigative sciences operate at the crossroads of science and the legal profession and provide opportunities for students to consider pre-law preparation. There are growing demands for attorneys with knowledge and understanding of science and research to address legal issues and cases where the interpretation of science and/or scientific data and analyses are pivotal. Law schools often seek candidates with diverse backgrounds and interests, and they look closely at curricula that stress analytical and problem-solving skills, critical reading abilities, writing skills, oral communication and listening abilities, general research skills, and task organization and management skills. The Forensic and Investigative Sciences program provides students with opportunities to build these essential skills and knowledge areas through a combination of required and elective courses.

Forensic science is a critical element of the criminal justice system.  Forensic scientists examine and analyze evidence from crime scenes and elsewhere to develop objective findings that can assist in the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of crime or absolve an innocent person from suspicion. 

The forensic scientist's skill is to use all the information available to determine facts.  Issues of law and/or fact that may require forensic science expertise range from questions of the validity of a signature on a will, to a claim of products liability, to questions of whether a corporation is complying with environmental laws. The work of the forensic scientist reduces the number of cases entering the overloaded court system by assisting the decision-makers before a case reaches the court. This decision is based on scientific investigation, not circumstantial evidence or the sometimes-unreliable testimony of witnesses.

Many forensic scientists work for universities, police agencies (state, city, and local agencies), federal agencies, and criminal investigation arms of the military forces and their support laboratories. Others work for coroners, medical examiners, hospitals, and district attorney's offices. 

As crime continues to evolve with technology and society, forensic scientists will be challenged to respond by adapting established technologies and, where necessary, developing new ones. These emerging forensic science disciplines will continue to be of vital importance to the courts and to society in general.