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Forensic Science

FS student Emily Deem and Dr. Frankie West with LSV2


Forensic Science is the application of scientific principles and methods to determine facts of legal significance. The B.S. in Forensic Science at Western Carolina University is a laboratory-based degree with a curriculum that focuses heavily on science and mathematics courses. The outstanding curriculum was designed to prepare students for work in crime laboratories following graduation. All students in the program will receive hands-on training on equipment and instrumentation that is found in crime laboratories worldwide. Additionally, our program boasts a highly qualified forensic faculty to provide you with excellent training in this exciting discipline.

Note: We are not affiliated with the WCU FOREST decomposition facility (the "body farm"). For more information about the FOREST, please contact Collections and Facility Curator, Dr. Rebecca George at 828.227.2816 or email

The Program

During the freshman and sophomore years, Forensic Science students are required to complete a rigorous core set of basic science courses including:

  • one semester of General Biology (BIOL 140)
  • one year of General Chemistry (CHEM 139/140)
  • one year of General Physics (PHYS 130/131 or 230/231)
  • one semester of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 241)
  • one semester of Calculus I (MATH 153)
  • one semester of Statistics (MATH 270)

Note: Some students may be required to take prerequisite coursework for MATH 153. 

We currently offer two concentrations for Forensic Science students to choose from. The Biology and Chemistry concentrations have similar curricula with the exception of specialized science courses taken during the junior and senior years. The Biology concentration prepares students for work as forensic molecular biologists performing DNA analysis on casework involving human biological fluids. The Chemistry concentration prepares students for work as applied analytical chemists handling casework including toxicological investigations, arson analysis, clandestine drug laboratories, etc. Neither concentration will prepare students for investigative work at crime scenes.

The Forensic Science Program at Western Carolina University has cutting-edge research and teaching facilities that have been designed to mimic crime laboratories nationwide. These facilities enable all students in the program to gain hands-on experience using advanced analytical instrumentation to process evidentiary-type samples. 

See the Facilities

The Forensic Science Program at Western Carolina University is interdisciplinary and enables you to complete coursework in many different departments. Follow the links below for additional information about related programs.

For more information about the Forensic Science Program at WCU, contact:

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