Wisconsin’s only bachelor’s in forensic science program with a foundation in the natural sciences.

The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program teaches how to examine and analyze evidence from crime scenes to develop objective findings that can assist in crime investigation. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and analytical techniques needed to enter the field through coursework taught by faculty with professional field experience.

We train students in the best practices used by today’s leading laboratory scientists and set individuals up for success thorough preparation in a wide array of disciplines – forensic science, criminal justice, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics.

Why become a forensic scientist at Marian?

  • Learn how to manage a crime scene in our laboratory
  • Earn both a major in forensic science and a minor in chemistry
  • Acquire knowledge from professors who have job experience in forensic science
  • Choose either an internship or research project based on your career goals
  • Understand how the power of science can help solve crimes
  • Major or minor in forensic science

Become a forensic scientist and help solve crimes.














    By clicking submit, I give Marian University permission to contact me via email, phone or text regarding educational offerings.

    Crime Scene Laboratory
    - A Unique Learning Experience

    The BS Forensic Science program offers a unique learning experience adjacent to campus. Our crime scene laboratory is a dedicated house designated for the setup of mock crime scenes. Field-based laboratory courses are held at the facility and provide students hands-on experience that shows how to locate, document, recover, preserve, and analyze physical evidence in an objective manner.

    Learn More About the Forensic Science Degree Program

    Listen to Diana Johnson, Program Director for Forensic Science, as she tells you about how the degree will teach you how to solve crimes. If you like mysteries or enjoy watching crime scene TV shows, then a career in forensic science may be for you. The curriculum includes not only lectures but also hands on laboratory classes in our crime scene facility across from campus. Your field based learning includes analyzing a crime scene, documenting/collecting the evidence, and preserving the evidence. The program also includes courses to complete a minor in chemistry. Graduates hold jobs as death investigators and lab scientists and some progress to graduate school.

    LEARN NEW SKILLS

    Forensic Science students learn:

    • Analytical and investigative processing techniques
    • Crime scene investigation and reconstruction
    • Laboratory science
    • DNA analysis
    • Evidence handling and management
    • Expert witness testimony
    • Police science
    • Technical photography

    PREPARE FOR A CAREER

    Our program offers extensive hands-on training and an abundance of opportunities to apply what you’ve learned in meaningful settings. Some areas you might find yourself working include:

    • Criminalistics
    • Bloodstain pattern analysis
    • Crime scene investigation
    • Decomposition, detection, and recovery of remains
    • Forensic photography and electronic digital imaging
    • Crime laboratory
    • Law enforcement agency
    • Industrial product development

    Gain Work Experience

    Students may complete an internship with participating agencies. Below is a partial list of agencies that have hosted interns:

    • Fond du Lac Medical Examiner’s Office
    • Dodge County Medical Examiner’s Office
    • Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation Major Crimes Unit
    • Wisconsin Department of Corrections SAFE Team
    Request Information

    The Program
    The Forensic Science Program at Marian offers a distinctive interdisciplinary approach that brings together various aspects of biology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, criminal justice, physics and forensic science. As a result, you will build essential skills in investigative processing, crime scene reconstruction, criminal laboratory science, DNA analysis, evidence handling, police science, expert witness testimony and technical photography. The forensic science major requires completion of a concurrent minor in chemistry.

    General Education Courses

    As a bachelor’s level student, you are required to take about 30 credits of general education courses as part of the 120 credits required for a bachelor’s degree.  Gen eds are required regardless of your major.

    All students take 10.5 to 17 credits in these areas:

    • Mathematical Reasoning
    • Argumentative and Research Writing
    • Introduction to Christian Theology
    • Interpersonal Communication
    • Introduction to Ethical Reasoning
    • First Year Studies

    Core Courses

    Forensic science majors will take courses covering topics such as:

    • Genetics and lab
    • Forensic sciences
    • Forensic photography
    • Crime scene investigation
    • Organic chemistry

    For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

    Sample Course Plan:
    Download Sample Course Plan

    Other requirements

    The forensic science major requires completion of a concurrent minor in chemistry, including:

    Prerequisites:


    Corequisites:

    An in-depth study of the chemistry of organic compounds. This course includes nomenclature, structure, reactions, stereochemistry, an introduction to absorption spectroscopy and uses and reaction mechanisms of organic molecules.

    Prerequisites:

    An introduction to the techniques and methods of the organic chemistry laboratory. This course includes the synthesis of various classes of compounds, determination of properties and structures, product evaluation, introduction to various instruments and identification.

    Prerequisites:


    Corequisites:

    A continuation of CHE 201.

    Prerequisites:

    A lecture and laboratory course directed toward the study of the organic and inorganic constituents of living matter with particular emphasis on the carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and enzymes and their mode of action in relation to digestion, absorption and biological oxidation. This course also includes metabolic pathways, blood constituents and analyses of biological fluids.

    58–63 credits as follows:

    50–52 credits:

    A lecture-laboratory course for science majors stressing the nature of science and scientific methodology. Basic ecological concepts and human impact on the environment are studied. The chemistry of life, the cellular basis of life, genetics, energy relationships and metabolism are presented. Both the classical aspects and the areas of recent research are included. (This course is required for Biology and Biology Education majors and Biology minors.)

    Prerequisites:

    A continuation of BIO 101. Major topics covered include plant and animal biology. Structural and functional relationships are stressed. Major structures, adaptations, and evolution of Monera, Protista and Animal kingdoms are surveyed. Current areas of research are included. Dissection of representative organisms including the fetal pig is required.

    Prerequisites:

    Study of transmission, molecular, evolutionary, population, and quantitative genetics.

    This course explores the three main subsystems of the Criminal Justice System: Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections. The history, philosophy, structure, current issues and future trends of these three main subsystems are presented, discussed, and studied using a cooperative learning approach. This course also identifies the functions and jurisdiction of Wisconsin law enforcement and criminal justice system agencies and the sources and legal principles that form the foundation of Wisconsin criminal law. Additionally, belief systems, social pressures, moral problems, ethical decision making and the consequences of decisions are discussed. This course identifies the resources available in communities to assist the criminal justice system. This course also covers Wisconsin requirements for written law enforcement agency policies and procedures.

    This course is designed to introduce students to specific laws and court decisions on topics of arrest requirements, frisks and searches, seizures, warrants and exceptions, confessions and statements, and trial procedures.

    This course focuses on the dynamics of the court by introducing the concept of the “courtroom workhouse” and the interrelated relationship of the three main actors-judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney-thus illustrating the law in action, not just boring theories and facts. It is important to understand the basic layout of the judicial process no matter what field of law or criminal justice one may be in. This class provides the basic concept needed.

    Lecture/seminar course that has the goal of providing students a general introduction to the application of scientific knowledge to the purposes of the law. It will familiarize students with some of areas of science which are involved in the court process, particularly in criminal trials, and the role of the forensic criminalist in criminal procedure. Accordingly, this class will survey forensic criminalistics and prepare students for additional, more in-depth classes in criminalistics and forensic science later.

    Lecture studies of the general principals and concepts behind both basic and technical photography. The theoretical underpinnings of, techniques for, and applications of forensic photography will be examined. Topics include: the science behind photography, composition, exposure, focus, depth of field, flash techniques; and the challenges associated with crime scene, underwater, and aerial photography. Students will also learn how to properly document the various types of: crime scenes, evidence, bodies, wounds, and fingerprints. Additionally, they will learn how to prepare photographic reports and displays for court.

    Laboratory studies of the general principals and concepts behind both basic and technical photography. The theoretical underpinnings of, techniques for, and applications of forensic photography will be examined. Topics include: the science behind photography, composition, exposure, focus, depth of field, flash techniques; and the challenges associated with crime scene, underwater, and aerial photography. Students will also learn how to properly document the various types of: crime scenes, evidence, bodies, wounds, and fingerprints. Additionally, they will learn how to prepare photographic reports and displays for court.

    This course is a study of the nature, types and degrees of evidence used in criminal prosecutions. The vital importance of “why” and “how” evidence handled by the forensic criminalists for proper presentation and administration into the trial in accordance with historical rule governing the admissibility of evidence in court is emphasized. This includes the citizen-to-criminalist, criminalist-to-criminalist, and criminalist-to-prosecution chain of evidence rules. A basic legalistic criminalistic component will be stressed which will examine the various analytical systems used in the evaluation of physical evidence which includes the correct identification, collection, and preservation of evidence.

    Lecture studies of how biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics concepts and methods are used to recognize, locate, document, and recover evidence at various types of crime scenes. Topics and techniques relating to scene security, documentation, search procedures, chain of custody, and the recognition, recovery, and preservation of different classes of evidence will be discussed. Class discussions will examine and demonstrate how each specialty may be utilized during the course of a crime scene investigation.

    Laboratory studies of how biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics concepts and methods are used to recognize, locate, document, and recover evidence at various types of crime scenes. Topics and techniques relating to scene security, documentation, search procedures, chain of custody, and the recognition, recovery, and preservation of different classes of evidence will be discussed. Class discussion and laboratory exercises will examine and demonstrate how each specialty may be utilized during the course of a crime scene investigation.

    Lecture continuation of FOS 305: Crime Scene Investigation-Lecture. Advanced topics and examination/interpretation techniques from the various forensic sub-disciplines will be discussed. Class discussion and laboratory exercises will examine and demonstrate how each specialty may be utilized during the course of a criminal investigation.

    Laboratory continuation of FOS 355: Crime Scene Investigation-Lab. Advanced topics and examination/interpretation techniques from the various forensic sub-disciplines will be discussed. Class discussion and laboratory exercises will examine and demonstrate how each specialty may be utilized during the course of a criminal investigation.

    Lecture studies of basic and advanced fingerprint recognition, recovery, and analysis techniques. Topics include: physical/chemical recovery methods, terminology, documentation, report writing, peer review, and court exhibitions/testimony.

    Practical work experience relevant to a career in forensic science is performed in a crime, private, and/or research laboratory, crime and/or death investigation unit, or other law enforcement agency
    approved by the student’s major advisor.

    Prerequisites:

    MAT 201 Calculus I, or Corequisite

    This is a lecture and laboratory course which stresses the fundamental principles of mechanics, momentum, work and energy, rotational motion and fluid statics and mechanics. The course will use calculus in derivation of the laws of physics as well as in problem-solving.

    Prerequisites:

    This course is a continuation of PhS 203. It will include wave motion, electricity and magnetism, optics and special relativity.

    3-4 credits:

    A study of topics which includes descriptive statistics and data analysis, elementary probability, binomial, hypergeometric and normal probability models, the Central Limit Theorem, confidence intervals, elementary hypothesis testing, linear regression and correlation. A major goal of this course is the application of these topics to problems arising from the natural sciences, the social sciences, the health industry, and the business environment. (This course does not fulfill the statistics requirement of Mathematics majors and minors.)

    Prerequisites:

    MAT 201 Calculus I, Appropriate math placement test score or MAT 201 with a grade of C or higher

    A study of elementary probability theory, discrete and continuous random variables, the Central Limit Theorem, sampling theory, estimation, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing.

    5–7 credits from the following:

    Prerequisites:

    An introduction to chemical instrumentation presenting theoretical and experimental aspects of solving analytical problems. The course introduces the applications of modern instruments to the detection and identification of chemical elements and compounds, covering ultraviolet, visible, infrared spectrophotometry, ESR, NMR, atomic absorption, ion exchange, gas chromatography and electrochemistry. This course also includes the interfacing of instruments to computers.

    Prerequisites:


    Corequisites:

    A survey course covering topics such as chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, equilibria, phase rule, solutions, spectroscopy, quantum chemistry, electrical and magnetic properties, and the states and structures of matter.

    Prerequisites:


    Corequisites:

    Experimental work correlating with the theory of CHE 401 Physical Chemistry I.

    Prerequisites:

    DExperimental work correlating with the theory of CHE 402.

    Prerequisites:

    More extensive coverage of selected topics from CHE 201 and CHE 202 Organic Chemistry. Topics covered are determined by the instructor and the students, and may include industrial organic chemistry, chemistry of drugs, alkaloids, spectral problems, reactive intermediates and other similar topics.

    Intensive survey of the detection, documentation, and recovery techniques associated with remains in an outdoor environment. Topics include: anthropology, archaeology, entomology, pathology, taphonomy, and technical photography.

    Lecture studies of bloodstain pattern recognition, identification, documentation, and analysis. Topics include: photographic/schematic documentation, analysis/interpretation techniques, terminology, report writing, court displays, and testimony.

    Laboratory studies of bloodstain pattern recognition, identification, documentation, and analysis. Topics include: photographic/schematic documentation, analysis/interpretation techniques, terminology, report writing, court displays, and testimony.

    Lecture studies of basic and advanced fingerprint recognition, recovery, and analysis techniques. Topics include: physical/chemical recovery methods, terminology, documentation, report writing, peer review, and court exhibitions/testimony.

    Laboratory studies of basic and advanced fingerprint recognition, recovery, and analysis techniques. Topics include: physical/chemical recovery methods, terminology, documentation, report writing, peer review, and court exhibitions/testimony.

    Lecture continuation of FOS 300 Forensic Photography. The theoretical underpinnings of, techniques for, and applications of more advanced forensic photography will be examined. Topics include: crime scene, examination quality, low-light, flash, painting-with-light, bloodstain, shooting incident, and ultraviolet and infrared photography. Students will also learn how to further document the various types of: crime scenes, evidence, bodies, wounds, and fingerprints. Additionally, they will learn how to better prepare photographic reports and displays for court.

    Laboratory continuation of FOS 350 Forensic Photography Lab. The theoretical underpinnings of, techniques for, and applications of more advanced forensic photography will be examined. Topics include: crime scene, examination quality, low-light, flash, painting-with-light, bloodstain, shooting incident, and ultraviolet and infrared photography. Students will also learn how to further document the various types of: crime scenes, evidence, bodies, wounds, and fingerprints. Additionally, they will learn how to better prepare photographic reports and displays for court.

    Chemistry minor, 25 credits:

    An introduction to the fundamental principles of Chemistry including modern concepts of atomic and molecular theory, physical states of matter, stoichiometry, chemical bonding, gas laws, equilibria and reactions of inorganic compounds.

    Prerequisites:

    A second-semester general Chemistry course which introduces the topics of equilibrium, kinetics, ionic equilibria of weak electrolytes, solubility product, coordination compounds, thermodynamics, electrochemistry and descriptive chemistry. Qualitative analysis is included in the laboratory portion of this course.

    Prerequisites:


    Corequisites:

    An in-depth study of the chemistry of organic compounds. This course includes nomenclature, structure, reactions, stereochemistry, an introduction to absorption spectroscopy and uses and reaction mechanisms of organic molecules.

    Prerequisites:

    An introduction to the techniques and methods of the organic chemistry laboratory. This course includes the synthesis of various classes of compounds, determination of properties and structures, product evaluation, introduction to various instruments and identification.

    Prerequisites:


    Corequisites:

    A continuation of CHE 201.

    Prerequisites:

    An introduction to the principles of analytical chemistry with emphasis on analytical methods involving volumetric, optical, separations and electrochemical analyses, especially for chemistry majors, pre-medical and medical students, medical technology and other students in biological sciences.

    Prerequisites:

    A lecture and laboratory course directed toward the study of the organic and inorganic constituents of living matter with particular emphasis on the carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and enzymes and their mode of action in relation to digestion, absorption and biological oxidation. This course also includes metabolic pathways, blood constituents and analyses of biological fluids.

    Student Learning Outcomes:

    • Understand the major scientific principles behind forensic science analysis.
    • Understand how to recognize, collect, secure, and preserve physical evidence.
    • Understand how to perform physical, chemical, and/or biological analyses to locate and identify items having evidential value.
    • Understand how to interpret and compare analytical data generated from the analyses of physical/chemical evidence and known exemplars.
    • Understand how to recognize the potential for forensic examinations in areas outside an area of specialization, prioritize the sequence of examinations, and handle evidence accordingly.
    • Evaluate the appropriateness and/or the appropriate method of securing samples.
    • Understand the use of laboratory instrumentation.
    • Observe safe practices to ensure the safety of analysts.
    • Understand legal processes including courtroom testimony, relevant legal decisions and concepts.
    • Recognize and employ quality assurance measures to ensure the integrity of the analyses.
    • Understand the importance of impartial and ethical work practices.

    Mission:

    We prepare students for careers in forensic science, crime scene investigation or death investigation. The interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum also provides students the coursework necessary for careers in scientific laboratories or for graduate study in forensic science or professional health programs.

    As technology continues to evolve and agencies across the country are relying more on forensic science experts, the field will continue to see dramatic growth. Careers in forensic science are among the fastest growing in the U.S., with employment in the field projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow 14 percent by 2028.

    Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    The Marian University Forensic Science program offers you versatility. When you graduate from the program, you’ll also have earned enough credits to be awarded a minor in chemistry. The broad nature of the program’s curriculum offers ideal preparation if you are looking to pursue an advanced degree in forensic science, chemistry, biology, medicine, dentistry, optometry, or veterinary medicine, or other related fields.

    Students in the Marian University Forensic Science program must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 starting with entrance to the program and throughout the first semester of senior year. Students may not earn a grade lower than C in any of the required major or chemistry minor courses.

    Jace-Klimeck-PIC-150x225

    Jace Klimeck, a forensic scientist for the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, is a 2015 program graduate.

     

    Katelyn-Lindsley-PIC-150x225

    Katelyn Lindsley, with the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner’s Office, is a 2014 program graduate.

    Andrea Kessler, a medicolegal investigator with the Rock County Medical Examiner’s Office, is a 2014 program graduate.

    Diana Johnson, M.S.
    Assistant Professor
    920.923.8782
    dgjohnson99@marianuniversity.edu

     

     

    Apply Now

    For more information, please contact:

    Office of Admission
    920.923.7650
    admission@marianuniversity.edu

    Diana Johnson, M.S.
    Assistant Professor
    920.923.8782
    dgjohnson99@marianuniversity.edu