Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigations
Train for an exciting, in-demand career with a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigations, from the University of Central Oklahoma. This natural science-based profession plays a critical role in modern-day criminal investigations. Forensic science technicians are called upon to examine or reconstruct crime scenes, analyze and interpret evidence, conduct testing in laboratory environments and provide informed testimony in the courtroom.
Further, transform your curiosity with hands-on opportunities. In the process, you’ll gain the skills necessary for landing an entry-level position in a growing field or starting a graduate program in a related area.
UCO considers the B.S. in Forensic Investigations a concurrent degree program. You’re expected to select a second, related major to specialize your knowledge in line with your career aspirations. Students on this pathway earn two bachelor’s degrees over a minimum of 139 credit hours and graduate ready to stand out in a competitive job market.
About the B.S. in Forensic Investigations
Today, criminal investigations are a multifaceted process. Going beyond testimony, forensic evidence helps establish what happened at the crime scene, from injuries to who was present and can pinpoint responsibility.
Forensic technicians carry out this analysis, examining and interpreting evidence and reconstructing crime scenes. You’ll work in the field and laboratory environments, where you’ll additionally be expected to process, handle and preserve evidence.
UCO’s bachelor’s degree in Forensic Investigations prepares you for a law enforcement or investigative career outside of forensic chemistry, forensic molecular biology, and digital forensics. This is where your second degree comes in: Combining forensic science with criminal justice or a related area refines and expands your knowledge, equipping you for a role in crime scene processing and reconstruction, fingerprint analysis, forensic psychology, forensic investigation, or law enforcement.
UCO’s Forensic Science Institute oversees all B.S. in Forensic Science programs. Beyond connecting theories and techniques with real-world applications, the Forensic Science Institute strives to thoroughly train all students in evidence collection, preservation, analysis, reporting and testimony through an approach promoting research, leadership, character and public service. The result is a series of highly focused, multidisciplinary programs geared toward incoming undergraduates and practicing professionals.
Based on experiential learning opportunities, research, our partnerships, career placement, faculty and affordability, Study.com named UCO’s forensic program No. 1 in the nation in 2021. For the Forensic Investigations major, you’ll:
- Understand how to apply forensic science in the field and laboratory to a courtroom environment;
- Learn to implement the scientific method in your investigations, from reviewing scientific research to developing a hypothesis, testing it, analyzing data and communicating your findings in written and oral forms to law enforcement, scientific professionals and the public;
- Explore the role forensic scientists play in the community and how your skills can address societal concerns;
- Strengthen your global and cultural competencies; and,
- Prepare to assist investigations and analysis by understanding all forensic science practices and quality standards for health and safety.
B.S. in Forensic Investigations Curriculum
Because the B.S. in Forensic Investigations is a concurrent degree program, you:
- Will declare any other program excluding general and interdisciplinary studies as your second degree;
- Are recommended to select a second major based on your career goals and interest area in forensic science;
- Can return to UCO after earning a first bachelor’s degree to enter the forensic science program; and,
- Will earn at least 139 credit hours over both degree programs and the university core curriculum.
We encourage you to explore all degree programs linked below. Learn more about how this concurrent degree program works.
The Forensic Investigations major encompasses 36 credit hours of general requirements and electives. All forensic science students regardless of second degree:
- Become well-versed in the investigative techniques for collecting, preserving and analyzing evidence;
- Understand how to manage a crime scene, including recognizing, packaging and preparing evidence;
- Gain a detailed perspective of the U.S. criminal justice system and its processes and how they apply to forensic science;
- Explore a range of natural science–based techniques, such as modern impression evidence examination, document, fingerprint, firearm and glass examinations, using evidence databases and quality control standards in a laboratory environment; and,
- Learn to apply statistical methods in scientific analysis.
You’ll then explore more advanced topics through a broad range of elective courses covering Crime Scene Reconstruction, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Forensic Interviewing, Crime Scene Photography, Medicolegal Forensics and DNA for the Crime Scene Investigator, among others.
Along with coursework, you’ll practice what you’ve learned in a 120-hour internship at a practicum site. Placements are limited and competitive. Learn more about applying and potential placement locations.
Careers in Forensic Science
Over the next decade, forensic science technicians are predicted to see more open positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies 16% more roles between 2020 and 2030. Opportunities exist in forensic laboratories, government organizations, law enforcement, the military and homeland security, as well as private organizations.
Depending upon how you choose to specialize your bachelor’s degree in forensic science, potential job titles include:
- Crime scene technician;
- Crime scene or death scene investigator;
- Crime scene photographer;
- Police detective;
- State/federal/BIA/tribal investigator;
- Federal agent;
- Military investigator;
- Crime or intelligence analyst;
- Fingerprint analyst;
- Firearms and toolmark analyst;
- Bloodstain pattern analyst;
- Victim/witness advocate;
- Forensic accountant;
- Forensic psychologist/behavioral criminologist;
- Forensic artist;
- Forensic nurse;
- Wildlife forensic technician/scientist;
- USFWS investigator or state game warden/park ranger; and,
- FAA/NTSB investigator.
Along with a practicum assignment or internship, you’re encouraged to establish your place in the forensic science community to start cultivating career-advancing connections. To explore volunteer, research and career opportunities, consider participating in on-campus and community organizations, including:
Scholarships and Tuition Waivers
The Forensic Science Institute strives to aid our students on their journey by providing a select number of scholarships and assistantships. Interested candidates may apply during the spring semester of their first year to be considered for the following academic year.
Specialize Your Career with a B.S. in Forensic Investigations from UCO
Orchestrate your role in criminal investigations with a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Investigations major from UCO. To learn more about this unique and exciting program, reach out to the Forensic Science Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.