Forensic science is the application of scientific principles and methods to determine facts of legal significance. At Western Carolina University, the multidisciplinary forensic science program provides students with the training necessary to succeed as professionals in this exciting discipline. Designed by Program Director Mark R. Wilson, a longtime FBI special agent, the curriculum specifically prepares students for work in crime laboratories. Students receive instruction and hands-on training from a highly qualified forensic faculty. Using scientific equipment and instrumentation found in crime laboratories worldwide, they conduct their work in state-of-the-art facilities such as the DNA research laboratories.
The Bachelor of Science degree curriculum focuses heavily on science and mathematics, and includes courses in anthropology, applied criminology, biology, chemistry, clinical laboratory science, physics and psychology. Prior to acceptance into the program, students must satisfy a core set of required basic science courses, including General Biology, General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. The program offers a biology and chemistry concentration. The biology concentration prepares students for work in crime laboratories as DNA technicians, while the chemistry concentration prepares them for analytical chemistry work in crime laboratories. Students in both concentrations are encouraged to conduct research and present their findings at conferences.
WCU forensic science graduates are prepared for a wide variety of careers and graduate or professional training. Graduates obtain careers as forensic laboratory technicians, molecular biology technicians, analytical chemists and forensic research assistants. Places of employment can include police or sheriff’s offices, federal agencies, universities and private laboratories. Graduates interested in advanced or professional training may choose further study in biology, chemistry and forensic science or enroll in medical or pharmacy school.