MadSci Network: Other

Re: What does one study to be a criminologist?

Date: Thu Jun 22 11:39:01 2000
Posted By: Dale L. Laux, Staff, Serology/DNA, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification
Area of science: Other
ID: 961259866.Ot

Hello Yolanda,

I have been in the field of forensic science for over twenty years and 
have seen a number of changes.  The field has become very specialized.  
When once a scientist such as myself did everything from blood typing to 
glass analysis, now there are experts in very narrow areas, e.g., DNA 
analysis, hair and fiber analysis, gun shot reidue (GSR) by scanning 
emission microscopy (SEM), etc.

We have seen two types of applicants in recent years (and have hired both 
types).  The first type of applicant has an undergraduate degree, B.S. or 
A.B., in a field such as biology or chemistry and an interest in forensic 
science.  The second type of applicant has a bachelor's degree and a 
Master's in forensic science which is available from a number of 

In most cases, an undergraduate degree such as what you will be receiving 
will suffice for many areas of the forensic lab (other than DNA) and the 
lab that hires you will train you.  For the DNA laboratory, specific 
coursework is required which includes courses in genetics, biochemistry, 
molecular biology and statistics.  Naturally, laboratories like to hire 
people that have taken these courses - otherwise they have to pay to have 
you fill in what you are missing.

An excellent source of information on the requirements for forensic 
science employment and a listing of job opportunities is:

Good luck in your career,

Dale L. Laux

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