Sep 20, 2021  
2013-2014 University Catalog 
2013-2014 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Forensic Science

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Forensic science refers to the application of scientific principles and techniques to the justice system and legal matters. While this includes local law enforcement, it extends far beyond this arena into many career paths. Forensic science has applications in local, regional, state, and federal law enforcement; environmental regulatory and reclamation efforts; the public health services; and homeland security.

A career in forensic science requires the application of principles of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and social sciences. Still, most career professionals specialize in one specific discipline. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences recommends that students interested in a career in forensic science first get a degree in a science. USciences offers seven distinct majors that are integrated into the forensic science program and offers a minor in forensic science.

The Forensic Science Program

The forensic science program is a multidisciplinary program designed to be integrated with existing major disciplines of study (majors) at USciences. The purpose of the forensic science program is to provide training and education relevant to the pursuit of a career requiring a background in forensic science. This is accomplished by coupling a core program of forensic science to a strong foundation in one of the scientific disciplines offered as a major at USciences.

The goals of the forensic science program are to expose the student to several areas in forensic science, including laboratory analyses and social aspects of crime, and to provide the student a strong background in applicable scientific concepts. The forensic science program of study within each major includes fundamental forensic science courses, major-specific courses relevant to forensic science, and hands-on experiences.

Each major participating in the forensic science program as defined an integrated program of study in forensic science (major curriculum). Such a major curriculum defines the required and elective forensic science courses within that discipline and outlines a four-year course of study. An approved program of study in forensic science culminates a a baccalaureate degree in a major with a certificate verifying completion of the forensic science program.

Curricular Requirements

All of the following academic and curricular requirements must be met.

General Programmatic Requirements

These are based on standards set by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

1. Natural Science Core Courses

All students are required to complete the following courses in natural sciences:

2. Specialized Science Courses

A minimum of 12 additional semester hours in more advanced coursework in chemistry or biology is required. Note: These classes shall be consistent with the major degree program and shall meet the needs of students specializing in subdisciplines of forensic science. At least two of the classes shall include laboratory training. Specialized science courses from any of the following will meet this requirement:

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Population genetics
  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Analytical/quantitative chemistry
  • Physical chemistry
  • Instrumental analysis
  • Cell biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Calculus II
  • Microbiology

3. Forensic Science Courses

A minimum of 15 credits in forensic science coursework is required. These courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better by students in the forensic science program. The necessary 15 semester hours are met, in part, by the following required courses:

  • FS 201 - Forensic Analysis I Credits: 4
  • FS 304 - Crime and Society (cross-listed as SO 304) Credits: 3

Additional courses used to meet the remaining 8 credits in this requirement may be selected from any course with an FS designation, including those below in items 4 and 5.

4. Major Discipline

Specific courses in forensic science (FS designation) required for individual majors are detailed in each major’s curriculum for forensic science and vary by major. Additional courses may be taken as electives.

5. Internship/Research

All students complete a minimum of 3-credit hours of one of the following courses:

Required Academic Standing

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.80 upon graduation. Students who cannot meet this criterion, but who have successfully completed all other requirements of the Forensic Science program, may be awarded the minor in forensic science upon graduation, if eligible.

Participating Majors

There are currently seven majors for which a program in forensic science has been developed:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental science
  • Medical laboratory science
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmaceutical chemistry


Frederick T. Schaefer
AB (Franklin and Marshall); PhD (Wisconsin)
Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Interim Director, Forensic Science Program
Phone: 215.596.8842

Adjunct Faculty

Gary Collins
Assistant Medical Examiner of Philadelphia
MD (University of the West Indies)
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology and Forensic Science

Jillian Fesolovich
Forensic Biologist
MSFS (Cedar Crest)
Adjunct Instructor in Forensic Science

Michael Garvey
Forensic Molecular Biologist
BS (USciences); MS (George Washington University)
Adjunct Instructor in Biology and Forensic Science

Sergio Guerra
Physical Anthropologist
BA (Maryland)
Adjunct Instructor in Forensic Science

Janet Monge
BS, PhD (University of Pennsylvania)
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social Sciences and Forensic Science

Lisa Mundy
Forensic Toxicology Laboratory Supervisor, Philadelphia Office of the Medical Examiner
MS (University of Florida)
Adjunct Instructor in Biology and Forensic Science

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