The B.S. in Forensic Chemistry combines elements of criminal justice and biology with a strong chemistry program. The forensic chemist analyzes and interprets materials collected at crime scenes, accidents, and at sites of terrorist activities.
The degree is offered in response to strong student, state and local government demand for an undergraduate academic program to prepare students for careers in forensic chemistry. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010 Occupational Outlook Handbook, forensic science technicians will grow much faster than average.
Graduates with a bachelor of science in forensic chemistry work in forensic laboratories for federal, state, or local government agencies or in some cases, work for private investigative laboratories. Some graduates may also go on to pursue a graduate degree.
The LSSU chemistry program has been approved by the American Chemical Society, and may provide a certified degree in Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Forensic Chemistry, and Pre-Professional Chemistry degrees if a student chooses this track. Graduates completing the prescribed requirements are awarded an ACS certificate signifying their completion of the approved degree and can qualify for membership in the Society upon graduation.
Why Students Choose Chemistry at LSSU
- Access to Faculty: The LSSU Forensic chemistry Program boasts a low student to faculty ratio. Class size in the capstone course, forensic chemistry, is limited to 25 students. In addition, the course is team taught by faculty with varying areas of specialization.
- Access to Instrumentation: The field of forensic chemistry exists at the interface of chemistry, biochemistry and instrumental analysis. Thus, it is imperative that graduates have a strong foundation in the operation of instrumentation. At Lake Superior State University, students are not merely introduced to, but regularly operate instruments such as Q-PCR thermocyclers, ICP-MS, SEM-EDS, HPLC, NMR, HPLC, GC-MS and FTIR spectrometers.
- Research: Students in the Forensic Chemistry Program have the opportunity to perform a senior research project under the guidance of a faculty member. Projects are related to the student’s area of focus and culminate in a poster presentation and talk at our Research Symposium. Students have also presented their work at national conferences and been published in peer reviewed journals.
- Internships: Internships are a great opportunity for students to gain experience with methodology, operate instrumentation and acquire job specific skills in your field of study. On campus internships are available during both the academic year and summer in faculty research projects, the Chemical Preparation Laboratory and the Environmental Analysis Laboratory.
- Placement: The Forensic Chemistry Program at LSSU has been successful in maintaining a high placement in summer internships, jobs upon graduation, and seats in graduate and professional schools. For more information see student success stories under the student profile section.
- Accreditation: The Chemistry Department at LSSU is approved by the American Chemical Society. As an ACS-approved program, LSSU is charged with holding and maintaining modern instrumentation, offering a rigorous and coherent program, and employing accomplished faculty which will attract top talent entering college.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the starting salary for forensic chemists is $52, 840 annually
Forensic chemists are often employed by either federal, state or local law enforcement laboratories. Graduates often receive additional onsite training and fill positions such as:
- Forensic science technician
- Crime scene investigator
- Latent print examiner
- DNA analyst
- Drug analysis technician
With an advanced degree, forensic chemists earn positions such as:
- Forensic pathologist
- Medical examiner
- Forensic laboratory manager