• Forensic Science
    Forensic science work often
    hinges on lab results
  • Forensic Science
    Dr. Brian Robertson explains an experiment in biotechnology lab
  • Forensic Science
    Ian Anthony with
    fluorescence microscopy
    in immunology lab
  • Forensic Science
    Instrumental analysis is a key class for
    Forensic Science students

Forensic Science

Though forensic science may not be as glamorous as shown on film and television, the field and its practitioners are on the front lines in the fight to put “justice” in the justice system. A joint offering by the departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Criminal Justice Administration, MTSU's Forensic Science program offers preparation to its graduates for advanced study in forensic science or employment in public crime laboratories, specialized private laboratories, and law enforcement agencies. It also helps students understand the role of the forensic scientist in the criminal justice systems, preparing them to present oral and written findings to the court.

This program is approved for the Academic Common Market.

MTSU's Forensic Science program attracts a diverse group of degree seekers

A center of attraction

Though a relatively new program, MTSU's Forensic Science program has already made a name for itself, attracting a diverse group of degree seekers. For MTSU junior Jillian Bower, the program is the key to becoming a DNA analyst. “MTSU provides the scholarly investment, instrumental resources, and tangible experience that I need to emerge competent on the professional level,” Bowers says. For Brad McCrary, an early interest in becoming a doctor evolved into a fascination with the difficult medical mysteries that abound in Forensic Anthropology. He hopes to use a degree in Forensic Science as a stepping stone to medical school and, from there, a career as a medical examiner. “Forensics isn't for everyone,” McCrary says. “You have to have dedication, morals, and a strong stomach. But some people, like me, just stumble upon it and fall in love.”

Casey Koza was the first graduate of the Forensic Science program

The first of many...

Though the B.S. in Forensic Science was approved and took its first students in fall, 2010, the process of degree approval began in 2006 with discussions between the three participating departments. Casey Koza was a Biology major in 2008, but she heard of the program and was advised to follow the proposed curriculum. As a result, Koza was the first graduate in December of 2011. The following January, she accepted a contract position to work with the TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) and in doing so, provided the first of many examples of how, even in its earliest days, the Forensic Science program is producing mature, workforce-ready graduates.

The continual advance in forensic technologies translates to a corresponding high demand for lab analysts. Career options exist with the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, forensic laboratories, medical examiner offices, hospitals, military, private firms, and universities.

Careers in Forensic Science include

  • Crime lab technicians
  • Crime scene manager
  • Criminalist
  • Evidence custodians
  • Fingerprint criminalist
  • Forensic anthropologists
  • Forensic investigator (medical examiners' offices)
  • Forensic nurse/physician's assistant investigator
  • Forensic pathologist
  • Forensic photographer
  • Forensic scientist
  • Intelligence officer/analyst
  • Laboratory manager
  • Police services support technician
  • Quality assurance director


Employers of MTSU alumni include

Because this degree program is quite new, employer information is still being compiled.

Dr. Lynn Boyd
Department Chair
lynn.boyd@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Ngee Sing Chong
Professor
ngee.chong@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Norma K. Dunlap
Professor
norma.dunlap@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Matthew Elrod-Erickson
Associate Professor
matt.elrod-erickson@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Mary B. Farone
Associate Professor
mary.farone@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Anthony L. Farone
Professor
anthony.farone@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Scott Handy
Professor
scott.handy@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Amy E. Jetton
Associate Professor
amy.jetton@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Paul C. Kline
Professor
paul.kline@mtsu.edu

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Dr. George G. Murphy
Director
george.murphy@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Deborah W. Newman
Professor
deborah.newman@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Beng Guat Ooi
Professor
beng.ooi@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Dennis D. Powell
Professor
dennis.powell@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Brian Robertson
Assistant Professor
james.robertson@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Rebecca L. Seipelt-Thiemann
Professor
rebecca.seipelt@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Lance Hamilton Selva
Professor | Interim Chair
lance.selva@mtsu.edu

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William L. Shulman
Associate Professor
william.shulman@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Greg Van Patten
Department Chair
greg.vanpatten@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Chengsan Wang
Assistant Professor
chengshan.wang@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Stephen Wright
Professor
stephen.wright@mtsu.edu

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Students interested in a degree in Forensic Science, an interdisciplinary major offered by the departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Criminal Justice Administration can pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The program is housed in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, 

Through the Forensic Institute for Research and Education (FIRE) and the Forensic Anthropology Search and Recovery Team (FASR) in the College of Liberal Arts, students have opportunities to work with law enforcement agencies in the recovery and documentation of skeletal remains from crime scenes. “[The Forensic Anthropology Search and Recovery (FASR) Team] has come out on several cases with me, and they're wonderful. They're incredibly mature and very knowledgeable.” —Denise Martin, lead death investigator for the State Medical Examiner's Office.

The sample schedule below is based on the current undergraduate catalog. It is not a substitute for academic advisement. Contact your advisor if you have any questions about scheduling or about your degree requirements or consult the undergraduate catalog (catalog.mtsu.edu) for a complete list of requirements and electives.

You may choose to attend a summer term to reduce your load during fall or spring terms but still stay on track to graduate in four years. (Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.)

NOTE: Learning Support courses will alter the sequences on this map. Missing milestones could delay your program.

Forensic Science Academic Map

Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Criminal Justice Administration
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

Freshman Fall Freshman Spring
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3 
BIOL 1110/1111 (Nat Sci)4  BIOL 1120/11214 
CHEM 1110/1111 (Nat Sci)4Take CHEM 1010/1011 if weak or no background in Chemistry MATH 1910 (Math)4Take MATH 1730 first if weak background in Math; may take MATH 1910 with acceptable Math ACT score (26).
Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3  CHEM 1120/11214 
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL15 
Sophomore Fall Sophomore Spring
BIOL 2230/22314  BIOL 3250/32514 
CHEM 2230/22315  CHEM 3010/30114 
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  PHYS 2010/20114 
FSCJ 43303  FSCJ 43403 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
Junior Fall Junior Spring
PHYS 2020/20214  FRSC 30102 
FSCJ 2400 or FSCJ 45303  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3 
CHEM 3020/30214  FSCH 4230/42314 
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  FSCH 3530/35314 
    FSBI 4300/43014 
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL17 
Senior Fall Senior Spring
FRSC 40102  FRSC 40204Internship (off-campus)
BIOL 4350/43514  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
FSBI 45503  Elective1 
BIOL 4110/41114  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3 
SUBTOTAL16  SUBTOTAL14 

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3 
BIOL 1110/1111 (Nat Sci)4  BIOL 1120/11214 
CHEM 1110/1111 (Nat Sci)4Take CHEM 1010/1011 if weak or no background in Chemistry MATH 1910 (Math)4Take MATH 1730 first if weak background in Math; may take MATH 1910 with acceptable ACT score (26).
Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3  CHEM 1120/11214 
       
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL15 
SOPHOMORE SUMMER
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 2030 3     
SUBTOTAL6  SUBTOTAL3 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
BIOL 2230/22314  BIOL 3250/32514 
CHEM 2230/22315  CHEM 3010/30114 
FSCJ 43303  PHYS 2010/20114 
    FSCJ 43403 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL15 
Junior Fall Junior Spring
PHYS 2020/20214  FRSC 30102 
FSCJ 2400 or FSCJ 45303  FSCH 4230/42314 
CHEM 3020/30214  FSCH 3530/35314 
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  FSBI 4300/43014 
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL14 
Senior Fall Senior Spring
FRSC 40102  FRSC 40204 Internship (off campus)
BIOL 4350/43514  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
FSBI 45503  Elective1 
BIOL 4110/41114  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
    Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3 
SUBTOTAL13  SUBTOTAL14 

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

Graduation information may be accessed here.

Forensic Science

FRSC 3010 - Forensics Junior Seminar
2 credit hours
Prerequisites: BIOL 3250 /BIOL 3251; CHEM 3010 /CHEM 3011; FSCJ 2400 or FSCJ 4330 or  FSCJ 4340 or FSCJ 4530. Junior standing or permission of program advisor. Discussions of issues relating to forensic science with frequent expert lecturers in the field. Two hours lecture.  

FRSC 4010 - Forensics Senior Seminar
2 credit hours
Prerequisites: FRSC 3010 and senior standing. Practical experiences in the treatment of evidence with a mock crime scene, collection and preservation of evidence, forensic analysis, record maintenance, and courtroom testimony. Two hours lecture.  

FRSC 4020 - Forensics Internship
4 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of program advisor. A supervised laboratory experience for advanced students in an off-campus professional setting.  

Forensic Science - Biology

FSBI 4300 - Immunology
4 credit hours
Prerequisite: BIOL 2230/BIOL 2231; CHEM 1110/CHEM 1111, CHEM 1120/CHEM 1121. Corequisite: FSBI 4301 . Instruction in theory and application of humoral and cellular mechanisms of immunity. Emphasis on understanding the mechanisms by which we respond to disease-causing organisms, allergens, self antigens, as well as the importance of immunology techniques in scientific research, clinical laboratory science, and forensic science. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory.  

FSBI 4301 - Immunology Lab
0 credit hours
Corequisite: FSBI 4300.  

FSBI 4550 - Biotechnology
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/BIOL 1111, BIOL 1120/BIOL 1121, BIOL 2230/BIOL 2231; CHEM 1110/CHEM 1111, CHEM 1120/CHEM 1121 . Instruction in both the theory and application of current research methodologies in molecular biology including their forensic science application. Topics include DNA/RNA isolation, recombinant DNA methods, polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing, DNA fingerprinting, protein purification, and immunochemistry. Five hours lecture/laboratory.  

Forensic Science - Chemistry

FSCH 3530 - Principles of Biochemistry
4 credit hours
Prerequisites: CHEM 2030/CHEM 2031 or CHEM 3020/CHEM 3021. Corequisite: FSCH 3531. Structure, properties, and functions of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nuclei acids and their reactions in living organisms. Three hours lecture and one three-hour lab.

FSCH 3531 - Principles of Biochemistry Lab
0 credit hours
Corequisite: FSCH 3530.  

FSCH 4230 - Instrumental Analysis in Forensic Science
4 credit hours
Prerequisite: CHEM 2230/CHEM 2231. Corequisite:FSCH 4231 . Potentiometric titration, polargraphic, coulometric gas, chromatographic, ultraviolet, visible and infrared absorption, and atomic absorption techniques of analysis. Requirements and limitations of each technique for obtaining quantitative measurements; applications to various chemical systems from both theoretical and experimental standpoints. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory.  

FSCH 4231 - Instrumental Analysis in Forensic Science Lab
0 credit hours
Corequisite: FSCH 4230 .  

Forensic Science - Criminal Justice

FSCJ 2400 - Judicial Process
3 credit hours
(Same as CJA 2400.) The structure and function of the judicial system; the major problems and needs of the judicial segment of the criminal justice system; major emphasis on the basic concepts of criminal law and administration. Three hours lecture.

FSCJ 4330 - Criminal Investigations
3 credit hours
(Same as CJA 4330.) Prerequisites: Forensic Science major. General investigative responsibilities and techniques including administration, preparation, investigative jurisdiction and responsibility, and the importance of substantive report writing. Three hours lecture

FSCJ 4340 - Crime Scene Investigation
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: FSCJ 4330. Advanced approach to the various elements of criminal investigations. Provides simulated investigative experiences through the use of mock crime scenes. Three hours lecture.  

FSCJ 4530 - Criminal Evidence and Procedures
3 credit hours
(Same as CJA 4530.) Designed to develop an understanding of the types of individuals and problems of admissibility in court proceedings; the proper treatment and disposition of evidence; the legal procedure to be followed; and the actual trial procedure. Three hours lecture.