Investigative Forensics Minor

Investigative Forensics Minor

The Investigative Forensics minor exposes students to important concepts in criminal investigation and crime scene investigation and processing. Proficiency in crime scene investigation and mastery of the techniques used to collect evidence are essential to success in the field. To foster this expertise, students pursue coursework including criminal investigation, investigative photography, basic and advanced crime scene investigation as well as foundations in the study of criminal justice.

The Investigative Forensics minor combines a focus on classical theories of criminal investigation with developing ideas and approaches, as well as with contemporary strategies for investigating and processing crime scenes. Emphasis is placed on helping students to become critical thinkers about criminal and crime scene investigations. A primary goal of the minor is to help students focus becoming proficient in basic criminal investigative techniques and basic and advanced crime scene techniques.

The specific objectives of the proposed program:

  • Apply the scientific methods to analyze and compare physical evidence to determine its properties and possible origin.
  • Provide detailed analyses of the criminal justice system and process.
  • Create effective written documents and make effective oral presentations.
  • Identify, analyze, and compare various types of evidence utilized in investigative forensics.
  • Identify and utilize correct investigative techniques during forensic investigations.
  • Demonstrate the procedure for processing a crime scene and strategically planning a criminal investigation.

A minor in Investigative Forensics consists of twenty-one (21) semester hours. Course requirements are as follows:

  • CJ-101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CJ-201 Criminal Law
  • CJ-202 Criminal Procedure
  • CJ-302 Criminal Investigation
  • CJ-308 Investigative Photography
  • CJ-323 Basics of Crime Scene Investigation
  • CJ-423 Advanced Crime Scene Investigation

Industry Demand for Investigative Forensic Specialist:

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of investigators will grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for investigators will stem from security concerns and from the need to protect the public and confidential information. Strong competition can be expected for jobs. Employment of forensic investigators and technicians is projected to grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs will be strong because of substantial interest in forensic sciences.

Forensic science technicians aid criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence. Many technicians specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis.

Typical job requirements of those working in the investigative forensics field include:

  • Identifies, collects, preserves, packages, and presents biological evidence, latent fingerprints, tire impressions, shoe impressions, tool marks, and other physical evidence, provides support to crime scene investigations through blood spatter analysis, crime scene reconstruction analysis, ballistic and trajectory analysis and other specialized techniques that require detailed technical knowledge and training
  • Familiarity with the general operation of a variety of shotguns, rifles, handguns, knives, and other miscellaneous weapons
  • Photographs/videotapes evidence at crime scenes
  • Performs measurements of evidence at crime scenes using a variety of manual, electronic, and computerized measuring devices
  • Conducts processing of evidence in the laboratory using special powders, chemical solutions, forensic light sources, and various camera lenses and filters in order to develop and preserve evidence
  • Proficient use of general and specialized hand and power tools
  • Attends autopsies to photograph/videotape injuries and collect additional evidence
  • Writes departmental reports and supplements
  • Documents evidence for submission to an evidence unit for storage
  • Maintains proper chain of custody on evidence and proper packaging to preserve and prevent contamination
  • Testifies in court as a witness in connection to the scenes processed and evidence recovered and preserved

Within the investigative forensics’ field, individuals may pursue positions such as:

  • Arson and fire investigator
  • Bloodstain / Blood spatter pattern analyst
  • Correctional investigator
  • Crime scene technician
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Crime scene photographer
  • Criminal investigator
  • Evidence technician
  • Fingerprint analyst
  • Forensic autopsy assistant
  • Forensic ballistics analyst
  • Police officer specialist