Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2022-2023

Forensic Science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry, Physical Evidence
Program description

The Department of Forensic Science offers programs leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The Bachelor of Science is for students who plan a career or graduate study in the forensic sciences. The forensic science program provides students with fundamental learning in forensic laboratory analyses and crime scene investigation, with academic emphasis in biology, chemistry and criminal justice. The program offers three concentrations: forensic biology, forensic chemistry and physical evidence. Students will select one of the three concentrations prior to the second semester of their sophomore year.


Students will be prepared to pursue advanced degrees in the physical sciences, biological sciences, forensic science, law, allied health and medicine, to name a few. Students will gain REAL experience by participating in internships and research opportunities within the major.

Career opportunities
The Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science prepares students for graduate study or careers in latent print examination, the analysis of impression evidence; firearm and tool mark analyses; and private analytical laboratories; clinical diagnostic laboratories; drug analysis and toxicology; and trace evidence analysis.
Change of major requirements

If interested in changing majors to Forensic Science, students are required to meet with the academic advisor.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Chemical Technician
  • Criminal Investigators and Special Agent
  • Fire Investigator
  • Forensic Science Technician
  • Forensic Scientist/Criminalist
  • Police Identification and Records Officer
  • Police Patrol Officer
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Attorney
  • Chief of Police
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Federal Agent
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 200
  • STAT 210
Science required
  • 5+ additional science courses
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0+ cumulative GPA, 2.0+ major GPA
Department name:
Department of Forensic Science
Building/room location:
Grace E. Harris Hall - South 1015 Floyd Avenue, Room 2015
Phone:
(804) 828-8420
Email:
fos@vcu.edu
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe Park

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Forensic Biology concentration complete BIOL 310.
  • Forensic Chemistry concentration complete CHEM/Z 309 and MATH 201.
  • Physical Evidence concentration complete CHEM/Z 309.
  • Complete CHEM/Z 301, CHEM/Z 302, and FRSC 300.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Consider joining the African American Alumni Mentoring Program.
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Apply for the Baldacci Scholarships for Experiential Learning.
  • Review the accelerated BS to MS programs offered, and speak to your academic advisor if you are interested.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend a VCU Forensic Science Alumni Panel.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Take a virtual library tour to learn about library spaces, services, and research help.
  • Complete FRSC 309, FRSC 365, FRSC 375, STAT 210, and PHYS 201/202 or PHYS 207/208.
  • Forensic Biology concentration complete BIOZ 476, and CHEM 403, and FRSC 385.
  • Forensic Chemistry complete CHEM 314/CHEZ 313 and CHEM/Z 409.
  • Physical Evidence concentration complete CHEM 320 and FRSC 385.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Finalize study abroad plans.
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Consider taking FRSC 492 (Independent Study) or FRSC 493 (Internship) for credit.
  • Attend a Forensic Science Graduate Thesis Defense.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Find VCU Alumni in Forensic Science on LinkedIn and VCU Link to connect with.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Forensic Biology concentration complete FRSC/Z 438.
  • Forensic Chemistry concentration complete FRSC 400 and FRSC 445.
  • Physical Evidence concentration complete FRSC 410, FRSC 412, and FRSC 566.
  • All FRSC concentrations complete FRSC 490.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY
EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
  • Make appointment with Career Services to finalize plans after graduation.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2022-2023

Forensic Science

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry, Physical Evidence
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY DEVELOP CULTURAL AGILITY EXPLORE CAREERS AND DEVELOP ESSENTIAL SKILLS PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Forensic Biology concentration complete BIOL 310.
  • Forensic Chemistry concentration complete CHEM/Z 309 and MATH 201.
  • Physical Evidence concentration complete CHEM/Z 309.
  • Complete CHEM/Z 301, CHEM/Z 302, and FRSC 300.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Consider joining the African American Alumni Mentoring Program.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Apply for the Baldacci Scholarships for Experiential Learning.
  • Review the accelerated BS to MS programs offered, and speak to your academic advisor if you are interested.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend a VCU Forensic Science Alumni Panel.
Year 3
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Take a virtual library tour to learn about library spaces, services, and research help.
  • Complete FRSC 309, FRSC 365, FRSC 375, STAT 210, and PHYS 201/202 or PHYS 207/208.
  • Forensic Biology concentration complete BIOZ 476, and CHEM 403, and FRSC 385.
  • Forensic Chemistry complete CHEM 314/CHEZ 313 and CHEM/Z 409.
  • Physical Evidence concentration complete CHEM 320 and FRSC 385.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Finalize study abroad plans.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Consider taking FRSC 492 (Independent Study) or FRSC 493 (Internship) for credit.
  • Attend a Forensic Science Graduate Thesis Defense.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Find VCU Alumni in Forensic Science on LinkedIn and VCU Link to connect with.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Forensic Biology concentration complete FRSC/Z 438.
  • Forensic Chemistry concentration complete FRSC 400 and FRSC 445.
  • Physical Evidence concentration complete FRSC 410, FRSC 412, and FRSC 566.
  • All FRSC concentrations complete FRSC 490.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
  • Make appointment with Career Services to finalize plans after graduation.