forensic scientists are professionals who investigate crime scenes and collect evidence. over the years, the demand for forensic scientists has increased. their role in helping solve criminal cases is significant, and has been recognized by law enforcement and investigation agencies all across the nation. forensic scientists have a thorough knowledge of law as well as science, and are required to use different scientific methods to analyze evidence. the popularity of forensics has also received a boost due to television series such as "bones" that capture the fascination of viewers.
employment opportunities for forensic specialists exist in a several federal agencies such as the drug enforcement administration (dea), police divisions and crime labs, and even the department of homeland security. however, to qualify for a career in this field, one must have a degree in forensic science. there are many schools specializing in forensic science degree programs. individuals may pursue this field as a major at undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels.
doctoral in forensics
a doctorate in forensic science is the highest level of degree offered by universities. this program is geared towards preparing students for research-oriented and leadership roles in the forensics crime field. students must have a master's degree in the same or a similar academic principle to qualify for this post-graduate degree.
the program is divided up into various components that typically include classroom and lab-based learning, a research project, qualifying examination, and a dissertation. during classroom learning, students will undergo a thorough study of forensic science principles and techniques. it is important for students to have a theoretical understanding of the main aspects of forensic science. some of the topics covered in the program include:
forensic drug chemistry
advanced chemical research
alongside theoretical learning, students will also spend a great amount of time in labs performing experiments and running tests. lab sessions provide students exposure to the practical elements of the field. students will learn how to apply various forensic science techniques and methods.
after completion of the coursework, students are required to conduct an independent research on a chosen topic relevant to the field. this project will help students practically apply research methodologies and deliver findings effectively. once the research project is complete, students may take the qualifying examination. the structure of the exam may vary from school to school.
the dissertation is one of the most important components of the exam. students must complete the minimum requirements and present a well-written and organized dissertation to their committee. the duration of forensic science phd programs typically ranges between 4 and 7 years.
with a phd in forensic science, you could apply for advanced job positions in different law enforcement agencies, investigations agencies, and crime labs. some common job descriptions include crime lab director and senior scientist. on the other hand, you could also choose to teach in colleges and universities as a professor. the career options are vast and dynamic, and typically pay more than graduate degree holders. according to the us bureau of labor statistics, the demand for forensic science professionals is steady with an expected increase in competition.