Undergraduate Program - Forensic Investigation Major

The Bachelor of Science with a major in Forensic Investigation (FI) consists of two separate tracks that address career interests.  Students interested in pursuing a major in FI must initially declare their major as Forensic Investigation Undecided.  They will be advised to complete the lower division Forensic Investigation core that consists of five classes (15 semester hours).  Upon completion of these lower division courses their coursework will be assessed by their advisor to determine whether they have met the minimum of a 2.5 overall GPA and a 2.5 in FI coursework required to proceed to upper division coursework in one of the two Forensic Investigation tracks.  The minimum of a 2.5 overall GPA is also required to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in FI in either track. 

TRACK ONE: "CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS" is designed for students interested in working in an investigative capacity in the professional field of law enforcement.  It provides insights into basic investigative skills, as well as specialized skills in drugs, homicide, sex offenses, child abuse, and arson investigations.  The main theme for forensic investigation "Track One", however, is crime scene processing, identification and collection of physical evidence, and the presentation of evidence into a court of law. 

TRACK TWO: "FORENSIC LABORATORY/TECHNICIAN" is designed for students interested in working in a laboratory environment as either a forensic scientist or technician and is a solid foundation for graduate study.  "Track Two" requires a minor or second major in either Biology, Chemistry, or Physics to assist in making our graduates as educated in their chosen area as possible. 

Plan of Study

The Bachelor of Science with a major in Forensic Investigation requires the following, which meets the general academic regulations: a minimum of 120 hours consisting of 50 hours of General Studies courses; 15 hours of Forensic Investigation Lower Division Core courses; 27 hours in a Forensic Investigation track; and 28 hours of minor and elective courses.

NOTE: Forensic Investigation majors must obtain a minor outside the department.

Forensic Investigation Courses

FI 'UNDECIDED' Core Courses*   (15 hours)

CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
CJ 201 Criminal Law 3
CJ 202 Introduction to Law Enforcement 3
FI 204/CJ 304 Introduction to Forensic Investigations 3
FI 225 or CJ 325 Criminal Courts 3

*Students must declare their initial major as "Forensic Investigation Undecided" prior to entering the "FI Undecided - Core".  Upon completion of the FI Undecided - Core, students must meet with their advisor to be "ASSESSED" to determine if they have met the requirements to enter into the appropriate Forensic Investigation track.  Once a student has successfully completed the pre-requisites they MUST then choose a track to complete. 

TRACK I **  (27 hrs)                                 TRACK II *** (27 hrs)

FI 310/CJ 430 3            FI 310/430 3
FI 320/CJ 460 3 FI 330 3
FI 330 3 FI 360 3
FI 340/CJ 456 3 FI 370 3
FI 350/CJ 463 3 FI 480/CJ 467 3
FI 410 3 FI 3
FI 3 FI 3
FI 3 FI 3
Senior Capstone 3 Senior Capstone 3

Senior Capstone MUST be one of the following: CJ/FI 494-499 or CJ/FI 472.

**It is recommended that all FI Track I majors minor in either Spanish, Psychology, Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, Accounting, Biology or Chemistry. 

***It is required that all FI Track II majors minor or 2nd major in either Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

Forensic Investigation Courses (FI)

204. Introduction to Forensic Investigations (3). Prerequisite: CJ 101. Introduction to the development of Forensic Investigations and its contribution to the Criminal Justice System and the applications of the scientific discipline to the examination and analysis of physical evidence. (Formerly CJ 304).

310. Criminalistics (3). Prerequisite: FI 204 or CJ 304. Methods of scientific analysis, comparison and identification of physical evidence; blood and body fluids, casts and molds, detective dyes, fingerprints, and trace evidence.  (Formerly CJ 430).

320. Criminal Investigations (3). Prerequisites: CJ 202, FI 204 or CJ 304. Practical application of investigative techniques for specific crimes, such as sex offenses, murder, robbery, arson, assaults, and fraud cases. (Former CJ 460).

330. Forensic Documentation (3). Prerequisite: FI 310 or CJ 430.  The principles and techniques of digital photography as applied to crime scenes, forensic evidence, identification, and court presentation.  Emphasis is on single lens reflex digital camera operation with various types of lighting.  Legal aspects of forensic photography and courtroom presentation.

340.  Homicide Investigations (3). Prerequisite: FI 204 or CJ 304.  Special problems involved in homicide investigation, including the forensic autopsy. (Formerly CJ 456).

350. Crime Scene Processing (3).  Prerequisite: FI 204 or CJ 304.  In-depth and practical look at various types of physical evidence and methods by which evidence is collected and transported to forensic crime laboratories. (Formerly CJ 463). 

360. Forensic Pathology (3). Prerequisite: FI 310 or CJ 430.  This course will address medicolegal terminology, anatomy, and physiology of the human body with emphasis on the understanding of the underlying pathology of sudden, unexpected deaths encountered in forensics, and understanding of medicolegal systems.  Determination of manner and causes of death will be heavily emphasized.  Methods of personal identification and different types of injuries with their characteristic features and mechanisms of death. 

370. Forensic Osteology (3). Prerequisite: FI 310 or CJ 430.  This course presents the protocol for forensic osteology with regard to the examination of skeletal elements.  Identification and physical morphology-related medicolegal problems will be emphasized.  Assessment of human or non-human time since death and cause of death.  Proper recovery of skeletal remains as well as other evidentiary items.  (Formerly CJ 368).

410. Imprint/Impression Evidence (3).  This course presents types of evidence which are the result of objects and materials that have retained the characteristics of other objects or materials through direct physical contract.  Topics will include footwear, tire tracks, bite marks, firearms, tools, pattern injuries and documents.  The themes in this course will differentiate between two dimensional and three-dimensional evidence.

480. Trace Evidence (3). Prerequisites: BY 102/104 or CY 106/108 and FI 310 or CJ 430.  Review of techniques used in the analysis of hairs, fibers and minute items of evidence related to criminal matters. (Formerly CJ 467). 

Electives in Either Degree Track Must Be Chosen From the Following List:

302. Research Methods (3). Prerequisite: CJ 101.  An introduction to the theory, design, collection, and analysis of data in criminal justice research. 

352. Evidence (3).  Prerequisite: CJ/FI 225 or CJ 325.  Analysis of the rules of evidence, their origins, and types.  Constitutional limitations upon their use, methods of safeguarding their value.  The trial and techniques for testifying.

377. Independent Study (3). Prerequisite: Junior standing with 18 hours in CJ or FI.  An opportunity for the advanced student to explore an area of special interest.  Student must have a supervising criminal justice faculty member agree to a written proposal or outline for an appropriate topic for study and then must secure the approval of the department head.

411. Victimless Crimes (3). Prerequisite: Junior standing with 18 hours in CJ or FI.  Study of controversial area of law that deals with consensual crimes.  Topics to be included for discussion may be drugs; obscenity and pornography; prostitution; gambling.  The history of legislative enactments and judicial decisions will be dealt with, as well as the social and political implications of enforcement to both police agencies and their clients. 

417. Criminal and Deviant Behavior (3). Prerequisite: CJ 300, FI 204 or CJ 304 or SY 320.  An analysis of criminal and deviant behavior systems with an emphasis on classical and contemporary theories of crime causation. 

465. Interviews and Interrogations (3).  Prerequisite: CJ 200 or CJ 202 or CJ 304 or FI 204.  Discussions and practical exercises covering the various techniques used by criminal justice practitioners to elicit information from witnesses and criminal suspects .  (Formerly CJ 464.)

475. Drugs of Abuse (3). Prerequisites: BY 102/104 or CY 106/108 and FI 310 or CJ 430 or NU 306.  Drugs of abuse, their field identification and drug abuse education.  (Formerly CJ 466.)

378, 379. Advanced Seminar in Criminal Justice (3) (3). Prerequisite: Junior standing with 18 hours in CJ or FI.  An in-depth study of current issues in criminal justice.  The content will vary each semester.  Students seeking admission must have advanced standing and secure approval of department head.  May be duplicated for credit for a total of six (6) semesters hours. (Formerly CJ 485, 486.)

430. Arson and Fire Scene Investigation (3). Prerequisite: FI 350 or CJ 463.  The techniques of crime scene documentation and investigation as they relate to fire and explosion scenes.  Evidence recognition and collection, along with a basic understanding of accelerant and explosive residues.  Basic principles of reconstruction of the scene, including fire behavior, fire pattern analysis, ignition mechanisms, interpretation of human behavior and fire scene analysis. 

450. Advanced Crime Scene Processing Techniques (3). Prerequisite: FI 350 or CJ 463.  This course will build upon those techniques and procedures learned in Crime Scene Processing FI 350/CJ 463 as they relate to crime scene reconstruction.  An in-depth study of specialized techniques such as bloodstain pattern analysis, bullet trajectory analysis, and fire scene reconstruction.  Students will then apply this knowledge during practical exercises that will emphasize current techniques and procedures. 

471. Internship in Criminal Justice (3).  Prerequisites: Junior standing, consent of internship director, and only for students majoring in Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation.  Students must also possess an overall 2.5 GPA to participate with a municipal or county agency and a 3.0 overall GPA to participate with a state or federal agency.  Supervised work experience in an approved criminal justice agency.  The student is required to attend a pre-announced orientation meeting prior to beginning internship.  (Not open to in-service personnel or those with prior CJ work experience unless approved by internship director.)

Senior Capstone Course Options:

472. Senior Internship in Criminal Justice (3). Prerequisites: Senior standing, consent of internship director, and only for students majoring in Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation.  Students must also possess an overall 2.5 GPA to participate with a municipal or county agency and a 3.0 overall GPA to participate with a state or federal agency.  Supervised work experience in an approved criminal justice agency.  The student is required to attend a pre-announced orientation meeting prior to beginning internship and additional scheduled meetings with the internship director.  (Not open to in-service personnel or those with prior CJ work experience unless approved by internship director.)  This is a Senior Capstone course, and satisfactory work requires completing the EPP and other senior exit requirements. 

497. Senior Seminar I (3).  Prerequisites: Senior standing in the Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation major and completion of all other criminal justice or forensic investigation core requirements.  Capstone course which utilizes the student's knowledge and academic skills, including pursuing archival research, journal keeping, note taking and report writing to address a topic or issue of contemporary interest in criminal justice or one of its sub-fields.  While the topic or issue may change with each offering, the skills exercised will be those needed to prepare the senior for careers in criminal justice professions.  (Formerly CJ 494.)

498. Senior Seminar II (3).  Prerequisites: Senior standing in the Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation and completion of all other criminal justice or forensic investigation core requirements.  Capstone course which utilizes the student's knowledge and academic skills, including pursuing archival research, journal keeping, note taking and report writing to address a topic or issue of contemporary interest in criminal justice or one of its sub-fields.  While the topic or issues may change with each offering, the skills exercised will be those needed to prepare the senior for careers in criminal justice professions. (Formerly CJ 495.)

499. Senior Seminar III (3). Prerequisites: Senior standing in the Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation major and completion of all other criminal justice or forensic investigation core requirements.  Capstone course which utilizes the student's knowledge and academic skills, including pursuing archival research, journal keeping, note taking and report writing to address a topic or issue of contemporary interest in criminal justice or one of its sub-fields.  While the topic or issue may change with each offering, the skills exercised will be those needed to prepare the senior for careers in criminal justice professions. (Formerly CJ 496.)