What can I do with a minor in forensic science?

Search for opportunities

  • Forensic Technician
  • Crime Lab Analyst
  • Crime Scene Investigator

Search for employers hiring graduates in your minor

Employers in NY: 194
Employers in the U.S.: 4,040


Explore the numerous career fields related to your major

  • Crime scene reconstruction and mapping
  • Fingerprint examination
  • Firearm and toolmark identification
  • Fire and explosives investigation
  • Trace evidence collection
  • DNA collection and testing
  • Drug analysis
  • Photography
  • Blood spatter
  • Wildlife forensics
  • Computer evidence examination/Computer forensic science
  • Medical examiner
  • Coroner
  • Police department
  • Sheriff
  • Crime
  • District attorney
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Consulting firms
Sample occupations
  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in biology, molecular biology, chemistry, physics or a related science.
  • Supplement major with math, English, public speaking and forensic science classes.
  • Choose courses with laboratory components to build instrumentation skills.
  • Seek experience though volunteer positions and/or internships in criminal justice settings.
  • Consider completing a forensic research project in partnership with a professor.
  • Join student chapters of professional organizations.
  • Attain proficiency in writing and understanding scientific reports.
  • Pursue certification by the American Board of Criminalistics.
  • Earn a master’s degree for advanced opportunities.
  • Ante-mortem investigation (DUI)
  • Post-mortem investigation
  • Drug testing (e.g., sweat, hair, saliva, blood, urine)
  • Human performance monitoring
  • Animal performance monitoring
  • Environmental contamination testing
  • Law enforcement/crime, hospital, medical examiner, coroner, horse racing, sports testing, private, university, government laboratories
  • Consulting firms
Sample occupations
  • Complete an undergraduate degree in a science such as chemistry, clinical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology or related field.
  • Supplement degree with coursework in physics, computer science, statistics, math and forensic science.
  • Seek laboratory experience to develop knowledge of analytical chemistry techniques and instruments such as gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrophotometry, UV-Visible spectrophotometry, etc.
  • Develop excellent report writing and public speaking skills, as forensic toxicologists may be required to describe complex processes to people without scientific training.
  • Join student chapters of professional organizations.
  • Plan to pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D. in forensic toxicology for increased opportunities.
  • Investigate certification options offered by The American Board of Forensic Toxicology or The Forensic Toxicology Certification Board.
Questioned Documents
  • Examination/Analysis
  • Comparison
  • Authentication
  • Alteration detection
  • Restoration
  • Police departments
  • Sheriff offices
  • Crime labs
  • Law offices
  • Insurance companies
  • Hospitals
  • State and federal bureaus of investigation
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service Headquarters
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • U.S. Armed Forces
  • Private practice
Sample occupations
  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree in a science discipline such as biology or chemistry.
  • Take courses in forensic document examination, forensic science, criminal justice or criminalistics.
  • Cultivate attention to detail and laboratory techniques used for physical and chemical analyses.
  • Develop communication skills including public speaking to provide expert testimonials and written communication skills for compiling reports.
  • Become familiar with various types of paper, ink, toner, correction material, printing processes, etc.
  • Maintain current knowledge of new technologies in the field through journals.
  • Plan to complete a two-year apprenticeship under the supervision of a recognized professional affiliated with the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners.
  • Post-mortem identification (mass fatalities, homicide)
  • Age estimation
  • DNA collection and testing (salivary)
  • Dental malpractice
  • Medical examiners
  • Coroners
  • Government agencies
  • U.S. Armed Forces
  • Law firms
  • Clinics
  • Private practice
Sample occupations
  • Forensic odontologists typically serve as general dentists and perform “on call” forensic examinations on contractual bases.
  • There is no specific major required to apply to dental school, though many students major in biological sciences.
  • Research prerequisites for dental schools, and choose an undergraduate major that matches your interests and program requirements.
  • Earn superior undergraduate grades and secure strong faculty recommendations for admission to top-tier dental schools.
  • Prepare for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), as DAT scores are a major consideration for acceptance into dental school.
  • Plan to shadow dentists and conduct informational interviews, particularly with those who perform forensic examinations.
  • Join student chapters of related organizations.
  • Pursue certification offered by the American Board of Forensic Odontology, which requires documentation of work in the field and examinations
Pathology/Medical Examiner
  • Post-mortem investigation
  • Post-mortem identification
  • Post-mortem examination/autopsy
  • Cause/Time of death determination
  • Physical evidence collection/analysis
  • Disease study
  • Clinical forensic pathology (investigations of the living)
  • Injury interpretation (abuse)
  • City, county, state, and federal governments
  • U.S. Armed Forces
  • College and university medical schools
  • Hospitals
  • Private organizations
Sample occupations
  • Forensic pathologists are medical doctors who have completed M.D. or D.O. degrees.
  • Research prerequisites for medical schools, and choose an undergraduate focus that meets program requirements.
  • Supplement coursework with forensic science classes to increase knowledge of principles, practices and techniques relevant to investigations.
  • Earn high grades and seek strong faculty recommendations for admission to medical school.
  • Prepare appropriately to earn a high Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score.
  • Volunteer/shadow in healthcare environments such as hospitals, clinics or medical examiner offices.
  • Participate in student chapters of health or forensic-related professional organizations.
  • Develop strong oral and written communication skills for speaking with non-medical professionals, including victim families and jurors, and for completing detailed reports
Physical/Forensic Anthropology
  • Human skeletal recovery
  • Human skeletal identification
  • Animal skeletal identification
  • Soil/Vegetation analysis
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Facial reproduction
  • Body decomposition
  • Injury interpretation
  • Teaching
  • Medical examiners
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Private labs
  • Local, state and federal government
  • Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
  • Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC)
  • Museums
  • Non-government organizations
  • Colleges and universities
Sample occupations
  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree in anthropology or a related field such as biology or sociology with a minor in anthropology.
  • Complete additional coursework in forensic science, statistics, archaeological recovery, GIS, anatomy and skeletal biology.
  • Demonstrate curiosity, analytical thinking skills and the ability to persevere through potentially lengthy assignments.
  • Develop strong oral communication skills, and learn to write detailed scientific reports.
  • Seek student-membership in professional organizations.
  • Gain research experience by assisting professors or other professionals with forensic anthropology casework.
  • Seek internships or volunteer opportunities in museums, and prepare to relocate to access the most employment opportunities.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and establish strong recommendations for admission to top graduate programs in the field.
  • Plan to earn at least a Master’s degree in anthropology to access most jobs in the field.
  • Earn a Ph.D. in physical or forensic anthropology for university and college faculty positions and advanced research posts. Many forensic anthropologists teach and conduct research in addition to casework.
  • Research certification offered through the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, which requires demonstrated experience and examinations.
Forensic Psychiatry/Psychology
  • Criminal responsibility determination
  • Competency determination
  • Risk assessment
  • Evaluation
  • Involuntary hospitalization
  • Right to refuse treatment
  • Disability compensation
  • Family/Domestic consultation
  • Sexual harassment
  • Workplace violence
  • Hospitals including prison and state facilities
  • Departments of correction
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Colleges and universities
  • Private practice
Sample occupations
  • Develop social perceptiveness, active listening, oral and written communication, critical thinking and problem solving skills for employment in psychiatry/psychology.
  • Earn exceptional grades, secure faculty recommendations and plan for the MCAT or the GRE.
  • Seek volunteer, part-time, internship and/or research experience with professors or clinicians.
  • Join related student chapters of professional organizations and stay current on research in the field.
  • Forensic psychiatrists are medical doctors with a specialty in forensic training.
  • Research prerequisites for medical colleges, and choose an undergraduate major that meets your interests and program requirements.
  • Learn the requirements for competency in forensic psychiatry sponsored by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
  • Forensic psychologists obtain Ph.D. degrees in psychology. They generally earn undergraduate degrees in a behavioral science such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc. then complete four to seven years of graduate study.
  • Plan to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship in forensic psychology.
  • Secure licensure through your state psychology licensing board.
  • Inquire about forensic psychology certification through the American Board of Professional Practice in Psychology.
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Supervision
  • Colleges and universities
Sample occupations
  • Seek experience teaching or tutoring.
  • Develop strong written and oral communication skills and the ability to present material well.
  • Assist a professor with research and pursue related experience such as volunteer and internship opportunities.
  • Take coursework related to research and statistics.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong recommendations from faculty.
  • Network with others in your field through membership in professional associations and organizations.
  • Earn master’s degree for some post-secondary teaching positions.
  • Earn Ph.D. for professor positions which can include research, teaching, supervision and lab administration.

General information and strategies

  • Students pursuing this path should plan to complete numerous classes in chemistry and biology.
  • Beware of inaccuracies of the forensic science field as portrayed on television.
  • Research the field and requirements carefully in advance.
  • Most professional forensic science positions require a graduate degree.
  • Demonstrate curiosity, analytical thinking and attention to detail for precise documentation of procedures and findings.
  • Join professional associations and community organizations to stay up to date with current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts.
  • Read scientific journals related to your area of interest.
  • Learn to communicate and collaborate effectively with people in and outside of the criminal justice system including attorneys, judges and
  • members of juries.
  • Plan to participate in ongoing training to maintain up-to-date knowledge of technologies/advances in your specialty area.
  • Research and maintain current certification for your specialty through accredited organizations.
  • Some law enforcement officers work in the forensic science field after receiving specialized training offered by agencies.
  • There is no specific path for becoming a profiler. One must have a proven track record as an investigator before being considered for specific training in this area.
  • Engineering science is a growing field within forensic science. Professionals earn engineering degrees and specialize in areas such as accident reconstruction, failure analysis, quality review, design review, etc. (Findings are often applied to litigation and regulation.)
  • Choose courses with laboratory components to build instrumentation skills.
  • Seek experience though volunteer positions and/or internships in criminal justice settings.