Forensic Science and Scientists
Forensic science is a critical element of the criminal justice system. Forensic scientists examine and analyze evidence from crime scenes and elsewhere to develop objective findings that can assist in the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of crime or absolve an innocent person from suspicion.
Common forensic science laboratory disciplines include forensic molecular biology (DNA), forensic chemistry, trace evidence examination (hairs and fibers, paints and polymers, glass, soil, etc.), latent fingerprint examination, firearms and toolmarks examination, handwriting analysis, fire and explosives examinations, forensic toxicology, and digital evidence. Some forensic disciplines practiced outside forensic laboratories include forensic pathology, forensic nursing, forensic psychiatry, forensic entomology, and forensic engineering. Practitioners of these disciplines are most often found in medical examiner or coroner offices, in universities, or in private practices.
The Department of Justice maintains forensic laboratories at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Department, through the National Institute of Justice, is a sponsor of cutting-edge research. Its labs serve as a model for government forensic agencies at the federal, state and local levels. The Department strives to set the global standard for excellence in forensic science and to advance the practice and use of forensic science by the broader community.
This website contains information of value to the forensic science community, as well as stakeholders engaged in the criminal justice system with interests in forensic science.
- Facilitating coordination and collaboration on forensic science within the Department, across the federal government, and with state, local, and tribal entities.
- Increasing the capacity of forensic service providers so that evidence can be processed quickly and investigations can be concluded without delay.
- Improving the reliability of forensic analysis to enable examiners to report results with increased specificity and certainty.
How to Become a Forensic Scientist in India
Undergraduate Course (3 years):- B.Sc. in Forensic Science
Bachelor’s degree program is a 3- 4 years degree program with an average of 120 semester credit hours of work. The course curriculum includes the subjects like Criminal Procedure and Evidence, Crime Victim Studies, Constitutional Issues in Criminal Procedures, Fingerprint Analysis, Crime Scene Investigation, and Theories of Crime Causation etc. Students with a bachelor’s degree in Forensic science hold entry-level positions like forensic science technician, crime scene investigator, or forensic pathologist with an average salary of Rs 3 – 4 lakhs per annum. To join an undergraduate course in Forensic science the applicant must complete his/her high school or diploma course at least with 50% of the overall percentile.
Post Graduate Courses (2 years):- M.Sc. in Forensic Science or PG Diploma in Forensic Science
Master’s degree in forensic science prepares the individuals for advanced positions within the forensic science industry. It typically has 32 – 40 credit hours which consists of core subjects like drug analysis, criminalistics, biological evidence, DNA analysis, trace evidence, Blood splatter patterns, and toxicology etc. Graduates should have at least 3.0 GPA to join MSc in India. Such candidates can hold senior-level jobs in various departments like crime labs, police departments, and governmental agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration, hospital labs, medical examiner’s offices, and pharmaceutical companies.
Doctoral Course (3 years):- Ph.D. in Forensic Science or M.Phill. in Forensic Science
A doctorate degree is mandatory if an individual wants to seek a lecturing job or go for research or opt for any kind of advanced leadership positions in Forensic sciences. Core subjects include Forensic Instrumental Analysis, Advanced Forensics, Physical Evidence Concepts, Controlled Substance Analysis, Forensic Laboratory Management, and Research Design in Forensic Science, Pattern, and Law and Forensic Sciences. To join the doctoral courses aspirant have to complete his/her master’s degree and have to get at least 3.0 GPA. An aspirant can pursue his/her specialization course in the fields like Forensic Biology, Forensic Serology, Forensic Chemistry, Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Ballistics, Forensic Entomology, Forensic Botany etc. in the Forensic science field.
It’s also possible to become a Forensic Scientist with an MBBS background. After finishing MBBS, students can pursue MD in Forensic Science.