Forensic Science, B.S.

Forensic Science

Learn to improve public safety and protect people from harm by the examination of evidence through scientific means.

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Forensic Science, B.S.

The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science is accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) and is offered through the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at MTSU.

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.

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.

MTSU Forensic Science Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Forensic Science Program is to:

  • Provide a strong academic foundation through its interdisciplinary curriculum—biology, chemistry, and criminal justice—that will prepare graduates for advanced study in forensic science or professional schools; or employment in public crime laboratories, specialized private laboratories, and law enforcement agencies.
  • Provide students with an appropriate curriculum that will ensure an understanding of basic scientific principles and methodologies, as well as the development of analytical skills.
  • Promote student understanding of the role of forensic scientist in the criminal justice system and introduce them to the process whereby oral and written findings are presented to the court. It also preps them for employment in crime laboratories or graduate school.
  • Promote student interaction with current forensic practitioners through seminars and internships and pairs them with highly qualified faculty who are active researchers.

If you live in one of these states: GA; you may be able to attend MTSU at in-state rates under the Academic Common Market program.

Careers
Requirements
Faculty
Information
Careers
Requirements
Faculty
Information

News Briefs

A center of attraction

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."

Meet One of our new Forensic Science Faculty

Meet One of our new Forensic Science Faculty

Dr. Mengliang Zhang earned a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Engineering and an M.S. in Microbiological and Biochemical Pharmacy at the Research Center for Drug Metabolism, Jilin University in China. He then received his doctoral degree in Analytical Chemistry from Ohio University in 2015 under the guidance of Dr. Glen P. Jackson (West Virginia University) and Dr. Peter de B. Harrington. Following his graduate research, he joined the Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory in the US Department of Agriculture as postdoctoral researcher.

At MTSU, Dr. Zhang's research focuses on the development of in situ, real-time, high throughput, and low sample-consumption methods with minimal sample preparation for the trace analysis of forensic samples, food materials, and natural products. Mass spectrometry based instrumental analysis (e.g., UPLC-MS, DART-MS, flow injection MS) coupled with chemometrics are primarily used in his research for targeted and untargeted analysis, and these techniques can be widely applied to different areas such as food fraud detection, document verification and fingerprint identification, chemical composition profiling for counterfeit pharmaceutical tablets, distinction of ignitable liquids, and so on. He also will develop novel analytical methods and data processing strategies for the analysis of bioactive compounds (e.g., flavonoids and glucosinolates) in plant materials and/or traditional Chinese medicines.

Personal MTSU page
[email protected]

News Briefs

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."

Meet One of our new Forensic Science Faculty

Dr. Mengliang Zhang earned a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Engineering and an M.S. in Microbiological and Biochemical Pharmacy at the Research Center for Drug Metabolism, Jilin University in China. He then received his doctoral degree in Analytical Chemistry from Ohio University in 2015 under the guidance of Dr. Glen P. Jackson (West Virginia University) and Dr. Peter de B. Harrington. Following his graduate research, he joined the Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory in the US Department of Agriculture as postdoctoral researcher.

At MTSU, Dr. Zhang's research focuses on the development of in situ, real-time, high throughput, and low sample-consumption methods with minimal sample preparation for the trace analysis of forensic samples, food materials, and natural products. Mass spectrometry based instrumental analysis (e.g., UPLC-MS, DART-MS, flow injection MS) coupled with chemometrics are primarily used in his research for targeted and untargeted analysis, and these techniques can be widely applied to different areas such as food fraud detection, document verification and fingerprint identification, chemical composition profiling for counterfeit pharmaceutical tablets, distinction of ignitable liquids, and so on. He also will develop novel analytical methods and data processing strategies for the analysis of bioactive compounds (e.g., flavonoids and glucosinolates) in plant materials and/or traditional Chinese medicines.

Personal MTSU page
[email protected]

Related Media

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CAREERS

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.

Student Achievement Information

Number of program graduates and number of students completing internships and researchprojects by academic year.

Academic Year

Internships

Research Projects

Graduates

2022-23 19 9 25
2021-22 22 14 15
2020-21 1* 9* 6*
2019-20 15 12 20
2018-19 12 9 14
2017-18 6 5 8
2016-17 9 5 7
2015-16 8 9 8
2014-15 5 2 6

*This AY was severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and cancellations.

Careers in Forensic Science Include

  • Crime lab technician
  • Crime scene manager
  • Criminalist
  • Evidence custodian
  • Firearms/Toolmark analyst
  • Forensic anthropologist
  • Forensic biologist
  • Forensic chemist
  • Forensic investigator (medical examiners' offices)
  • Forensic nurse/physician's assistant investigator
  • Forensic pathologist
  • Forensic photographer
  • Forensic scientist
  • Intelligence officer/analyst
  • Laboratory manager
  • Latent fingerprint examiner
  • Microanalysis
  • Police services support technician
  • Quality assurance director
  • Toxicologist

Employers of MTSU Forensic Science Alumni Include

  • Aegis Sciences Corporation
  • Covenant Pathology Services Laboratory (CPS)
  • District 4 Medical Examiner's Office (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp)
  • Metro Nashville Police Department Crime Laboratory
  • PathGroup
  • Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI)
  • TestAmerica
  • Vi-Jon

REQUIREMENTS

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FACULTY

INFORMATION

Laura Cole Memorial Best Mock Trial Performance Award

Laura Cole was a Special Agent Forensic Scientist with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, serving as a Drug Chemist in the Nashville laboratory until her death in summer 2023. Laura taught the Forensic Senior Seminar course in the MTSU Forensic Science Program curriculum as an adjunct professor. From its inception, Laura was a mainstay in the program and was indispensable to the success and ultimate accreditation of the program in 2022. Her connections to the Forensic community allowed her to provide our students with opportunities to meet and learn from practicing Forensic Science professionals from various disciplines within the field. One aspect of the program curriculum dear to Laura was the required mock trial for our seniors in which they testify in a mock setting as an expert witness in a discipline of Forensic Science. In her honor, we have posthumously created the Laura Cole Memorial Best Mock Trial Performance Award to be presented each year to one senior who performs in an outstanding manner at the mock trial. The winners of the award are listed below by year.

2023 – Heather Duffy

 

Forensic Science Handbook 2021


Forms

Links

Complaints and Concerns

If a student has a complaint or concern about the program, we suggest the following steps be followed:

  1. Address the issue with the other party involved, if appropriate.
  2. Reach out to a contact within the Forensic Science program.
    Forensic Science Program Director
    Dr. Frank Bailey
    [email protected]
    615-898-5483
  3. If a student does not feel their issue has been resolved after completing steps 1and 2 - or does not feel comfortable discussing their situation within the Program,he/she is encouraged to contact the Dean of Basic and Applied Sciences.
    Dr. Greg Van Patten
    [email protected]
    615-898-2613

     

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