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Forensic Science

Forensic Science

Dajena Tomco, Ph.D.
Liberal Arts Building, Room 323
Direct: (313) 927-1320
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bachelor of Science, Forensic Science Major (B.S.)

Jeanne Andreoli, Ph.D.
Karen Frederick, R.Ph., M.S.
Abigail Fusaro, Ph.D.
Maria Goodrich
Catherine Orban, Ph.D.
Christine Stephens, Ph.D.
Dajena Tomco, Ph.D.
Li-hsuan Yang, Ph.D.

Forensic Science Overview

Studying Forensic Science at Marygrove College will prepare you for a variety of career paths in the private and public sector, such as crime scene investigation, drug chemistry, forensic DNA analysis, toxicology and trace evidence examination. Recent graduates have found employment in both the public and private sector. Forensic science majors also often pursue advanced work in graduate schools, as well as medical schools, across the United States and abroad. The forensic science program at Marygrove College will expose you to a wide variety of crime scene investigation skills and analytical techniques in forensic biology and forensic chemistry, providing you with a strong foundation from which to launch a career in forensic science.

Criminologist • Doctor • Educator • Field Technician • Government Agent • Laboratory Technician • Lawyer • Odontologist • Pathologist • Forensic Anthropologist Writer

Other careers: Engineer, Toxicologist, Behavior Scientist, Questioned Document Expert, Crime Scene Technician, Forensic Entomologist, Forensic DNA Expert, Medical Examiner, Trace Evidence Expert, Forensic Computer Analyst, Forensic Accountant, Forensic Nurse

The Forensic Science program is an interdisciplinary group major consisting of coursework in forensic science, criminal justice, biology, chemistry. No minor is required.

A forensic science major may choose to concentrate in either Forensic Biology or Forensic Chemistry. Students who have an interest in Forensic Science but do not have enough time to complete the major may wish to consider a minor in Forensic Science. A minor provides you with the knowledge and skills to complement your major area while expanding career options.

Program Offering
The B.S. in Forensic Science program is primarily a day program, although some courses are offered in the evening on a rotating schedule.

Transfer Student Information:
The department accepts transfer credits according to the college guidelines. However, major coursework older than 10 years, from time of admittance, will be transferred in as elective credit and may not be applied to the major. Students may petition to the department chair for the older credits to be applied towards the major.

Credit by examination
Learning derived from life experiences and from individual study is of significant academic value and can often be equated with college-level studies. Students may earn credit by examination, tutorial study and cooperative work experience. Permission of the department chair is required to select these options. Not more than four credit hours in cooperative work experience may be counted within the 120 credit hours required for a degree.

Academic Performance
Only required courses with a grade of C or better can be applied to fulfill the forensic Science major or minor.

Computer Literacy Requirement
Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) must be achieved prior to graduation. Students’ computer literacy will be evaluated and assessed through the Junior and Senior seminar course sequence.

Writing Intensive Requirement
All forensic science majors must take ISC 312 as their writing intensive course. 

Senior Seminar Requirement
Students must successfully complete ISC 496A and ISC 496B in order to graduate with a B.S. in forensic Science.

Internship/Cooperative Education
It is strongly encouraged that students participate in a summer undergraduate research experience either with a Marygrove College faculty member, or by securing an off-campus internship or fellowship before they graduate. Students may receive elective credit for an internship through FSC 388, FSC 488, and/or FSC 491.

Sigma Zeta National Honor Society
Sigma Zeta is a national science and mathematics honor society. It was founded at Shurtleff College, in Alton, Illinois in 1926. Today, more than sixty local chapters are active in colleges and universities across the United States; Marygrove College hosts the Beta Upsilon chapter. The society encourages and fosters achievement of greater knowledge in the fields of science and mathematics. Outstanding scholastic achievement in the fields is recognized through membership in this society.

Students may be eligible to win the following departmental awards based on their scholarly work. The Natural Sciences Department Award is given to the outstanding graduating science major. Women in the sciences are also eligible for the Suzanne Fleming Scholarship. This scholarship is given to a woman who demonstrates financial need, potential in science and on their scholarly work.

Bachelor of Science, Forensic Major (B.S.)

Forensic science is an interdisciplinary major and does not require an additional minor to be completed. The requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree with forensic major are a minimum of 56 credit hours in forensic science and related courses and completion of the following components:

A. General Education Requirements
See GENERAL EDUCATION section of this catalog.

B. Required Core Courses (15 credits)
FSC 140 Introduction to Forensic Science
FSC 220 Crime Scene Investigation and Evidence Collection
ISC 312 Junior Seminar
ISC 496A Senior Seminar: Library Research
ISC 496B Senior Seminar: Laboratory Research

C. Related Discipline Requirements (13 credits)
CJ 110 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CJ 330 Criminal Behavior
CJ 380 Criminal Law
PSY/SOC 305 Introductory Statistics

D. Area of Concentration
Students completing a Forensic Science major must concentrate in a specific area below. Students are not awarded a minor in the same field as their forensic science concentration.

Forensic Biology (28 credits)
BIO 150 Biology I: From Molecules to Cells
BIO 257 Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
BIO 360 Biochemistry
CHM 140 General Chemistry I
CHM 241 General Chemistry II
CHM 325 Organic Chemistry I
FSC 385 Forensic Biology

Forensic Chemistry (28 credits)
BIO 150 Biology I: From Molecules to Cells
CHM 140 General Chemistry I
CHM 241 General Chemistry II
CHM 325 Organic Chemistry I
CHM 326 Organic Chemistry II
CHM 390 Laboratory Analysis
FSC 440 Forensic Chemistry

E. Recommended elective courses:
BIO 321 Microbiology
BIO 490 Cell and Molecular Biology
PHY 285 Physics I: Mechanics & Sound
PHY 286 Physics II: Electricity & Light

Minor in Forensic Science

A minor in forensic science consists of the following components:    

A. Core Requirements
FSC 140 Introduction to Forensic Science
FSC 220 Crime Scene Investigation and Evidence Collection
FSC 385 Forensic Biology
FSC 440 Forensic Chemistry

B. Related Discipline Requirements
CJ 110 Introduction to Criminal Justice
BIO 150 Biology I: From Molecules to Cells
CHM 140 General Chemistry I
CHM 241 General Chemistry II


Forensic Science Course Descriptions

FSC 140  Introduction to Forensic Science 4 hours
Prerequisites: completion of developmental and foundational courses. Term: Fall Fee: yes
Forensic science is the application of science to the law and encompasses various scientific disciplines. This course will introduce various methodologies and applications used in the forensic context. Topics discussed include organic and inorganic chemical analyses of physical evidence, principles of serology and DNA analysis, ballistics, arson, fingerprint analysis, drug analysis, and document examination. Laboratory included.

FSC 220 Crime Scene Investigation and Evidence Analysis 4 hours
Prerequisite: FSC 140; Term: Winter Fee: yes
This course is designed to provide students with the basic theoretical and philosophical understanding of the investigatory process as well as fundamental investigation techniques such as crime scene analysis, collection, preservation, and testing of evidence, modus operandi, use of technology, types of evidence, and the science of criminalistics. Analysis of problems encountered in interviewing, interrogating, evidence collection, and admissibility will be examined. Application of investigation theories to the administration of justice will also be developed. Laboratory included.

FSC 385 Forensic Biology 4 hours
Prerequisites: BIO 150, FSC 140; FSC 220. Term: Fall (odd); Fee: yes.
This course is designed to introduce students to the principles governing the application of biology and biological statistics to solve crimes. Topics include: evidence collection, documentation, examination and preservation; serology; microscopy; analysis of hair, tissue and skeletal remains; entomological evidence; extraction and quantification of human and non-human DNA; generation of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA profiles; statistical analysis of DNA evidence. Laboratory included.

FSC 388 Cooperative Field Experience  1-4 hours
Prerequisites: Junior standing, forensic science major, departmental approval; Term: Fall, Winter, Summer
Supervised work experience in activity related to area of specialization. This is planned in consultation with advisor, co-op supervisor and employer. Recording, reporting and evaluation of experience will be required.

FSC 410 Special Topics 3 hours
Prerequisite: Junior status in the major; Term: TBA
Selected topics and issues in biology as chosen by the instructor.

FSC 440  Forensic  Chemistry 4 hours
Prerequisite: CHM 241; FSC 140, FSC 220 Term: Fall (even); Fee: yes.
The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the chemical aspects of forensic science as it applies to criminal investigation and laboratory preparation. This course looks at the instrumentation and chemistry associated with crimes. We will look at how the instrumentation is used, what type of evidence it can process, how to read the results and the properties of the chemical evidence. This course will also study the general principles and fundamentals of forensic toxicology, poisons, action, toxicity, postmortem characteristics, samples required for toxicological analysis and methods of collection, methods of preservation and analysis. Chemical, toxicological and pathological characteristics of commonly abused drugs, including the following: ethanol, barbiturates, narcotics, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Details of the methods employed for analysis, such as color test, Chromatography (GC, GLC, HPLC), mass spectrometry (MS), GC-MS. Laboratory course.

FSC 488 Cooperative Field Experience 1-4 hours
Prerequisites: Senior standing; forensic science major, departmental approval; Term: Fall, Winter, Summer
Supervised work experience in activity related to an area of specialization. This is planned in consultation with advisor, co-op supervisor and employer. Recording, reporting and evaluation of experience will be required.

FSC 491 Independent Study 1-4 hours
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor; biology major or minor; Junior status; Term: Fall, Winter, Summer
Opportunity to earn credit for the independent study of a course not listed in the catalog as a specific offering. By arrangement.

ISC 312 Junior Seminar 3 hours
Prerequisites: Junior standing in the major, ENG 312; Term Fall, Winter
Junior Seminar has been designed to help science majors improve their writing AS SCIENTISTS. Competence in writing in science requires critical evaluation of one’s work. In order to encourage the development of critical thinking, students critique published work as well as write essays, reviews, and research reports. The heart of the course lies in the weekly interaction between the instructor and students through discussion both in class sections and one-on-one. A weekly lecture provides structure and continuity and allows consideration of other topics such as interviewing and resume writing, poster presentations, ethics in science, and the nature of science and creativity. This is the program’s writing intensive course.

ISC 496A Science Senior Seminar: Library Research 2 hours
Prerequisites: ISC 312; Senior standing in major. Term: Fall, Winter
This course is designed for senior science majors to have the opportunity to write and orally present a research proposal. This will include conducting a literature review and designing an original research project. Students carry out their research project in ISC 496B. Use of computer for informational searches, data analysis, and word processing; oral presentations and final research paper required.

ISC 496B Science Senior Seminar: 2 hours Laboratory Research
Prerequisites: ISC 496A; Senior standing in major; Term: Fall, Winter; Fee: yes.
This course is designed for senior science majors to conduct research with the direction of a faculty member. The student will carry out a research project of their own design. Specifically students will conduct experiments, write up the results of those experiments, write up the conclusions based on those results and present the results and conclusions of the project both in written and oral formats.