Careers in Forensic Science *Resources*


If our feature articles weren?t enough to whet your appetite for information on forensics careers, then try the extensive list of Web resources that the Next Wave Staff has compiled.

Background Reading

The Forensic Science Society Web site is a good place to start for a briefing on what forensic science actually is, how to become a forensic scientist, and what the career opportunities are. It also points out the most interesting articles in the society?s journal and keeps readers informed about its upcoming conferences.

The Forensic Science Service is the Web site to go to next, whether you are seriously considering a career in forensic science or just like to read crime stories with a real-life twist. The Forensic Science Service offers an overview of its role in supporting crime investigation as well as the related qualifications, courses, and vacancies. You?ll also find a great case file, book list, TV listing for forensic programs, and very useful links.

European research and the fight against crime outlines some of the EC-funded projects, such as explosives trace analysis and criminal identification through ear prints, designed to make us safer citizens.

ZENO’s Forensic Site is based in the Netherlands, but as Web sites go, it knows no border.

The University of New Brunswick?s Saint John Ward Chipman Library has a useful page on Internet Resources for Criminology and Forensics, which includes links to databases, handbooks, manuals, abstracts, and serials.

The Justice Technology Information Network has a bundle of good links to information on forensics education, research labs, associations, and news and information.

Professional Organizations

The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists has over 1400 members from all regions of the world who are actively engaged in analytical toxicology or allied areas. The aims of this association are to promote cooperation and coordination of efforts among members and to encourage research in forensic toxicology. Members come from police forces, medical examiners and coroners’ laboratories, horseracing and sports doping laboratories, hospitals, and departments of legal medicine, pharmacology, pharmacy, and toxicology.


The Canadian Society of Forensic Science (CSFS) is a nonprofit professional organization incorporated to maintain professional standards and to promote the study and enhance the stature of forensic science. Special committees of CSFS address educational, scientific, and legal issues within forensic science and act as advisory bodies to provincial and federal justice ministries.


The European Network of Forensic Science Institutes is an organization mainly for the top people of Europe?s big forensic science labs. Their membership list is a great place to search for the key players in the area.

United States

American Board of Forensic Entomology. Forensic entomology, or medicocriminal entomology, is the science of using insect evidence to uncover circumstances of interest to the law, often related to a crime. Insect scientists, or entomologists, are being called upon with increasing frequency to apply their knowledge and expertise to criminal and civil proceedings. They are also recognized members of forensic laboratories and medical/legal investigation teams.

The American Board of Forensic Toxicologists has established standards of qualification for those who practice forensic toxicology, as well as for the laboratories that practice postmortem forensic toxicology or human performance toxicology.

The American College of Forensic Examiners is a private, not-for-profit scientific and professional society to advance the profession of forensic examination and consultation across many professional fields, e.g., forensic medicine, forensic psychiatry, forensic psychology, forensic accounting, forensic document examination, law, law enforcement, and other fields relating to forensic science.

The Institute for Canine Forensics is a nonprofit organization in Northern California for the advancement of research, education, and certification of forensic evidence/human remains detection dog teams.

The Michigan Electronic Library has an extensive list of links to associations, institutions, and organizations in the forensic science field.

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences has more than 5000 members and consists of 10 sections representing a wide range of forensic specialties. The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors is devoted to the improvement of crime laboratory operations through sound management practices. Among other things, its purpose is to foster the common professional interests of its members and to promote and foster the development of laboratory management principles and techniques.

Academic Programs

This listing of academic programs is by no means exhaustive, but our editors have selected a few to help get you going. If you know of a program that you think should be listed here, then please send us an e-mail.

United Kingdom

Forensic Portal will help you find where to go in the UK for a course in forensic science. It also has an extensive list of Web sites and books if you want still more information on the subject.

If you want to break into forensic science and keep working in university labs, the Forensic Science Unit at the South Bank University in London may be just what you?re looking for. They offer an amazing range of forensic specialties, from digital to wildlife crime to perfume stain analysis, as well as both long- and short-term training.

United States

The University of Alabama, Birmingham, offers two graduate programs in forensic science. The department of justice sciences’ Graduate Program in Forensic Science offers an interdisciplinary program leading to the Master of Science in Forensic Sciences (M.S.F.S.) degree. In addition, the university-wide Graduate Training Program in Forensic Science provides doctoral training in the context of a traditional Ph.D. program for students who wish to obtain professional training in forensic science.

Two professors at Purdue University have created a new three-course sequence on forensic science. The first introduces students to forensic crime scene techniques, entomology, blood chemistry, toxicology, botany, and new trends in the field.

Neil Haskell, a professor of forensic science and biology at St. Joseph’s College in Indiana, has been on PBS and the Discovery Channel several times, as well as in Popular Science and Discovery magazines. He offers an undergraduate program in forensics and forensic entomology.

The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences offers two graduate degree programs in forensic sciences: the Master of Forensic Sciences Administration (M.F.S.A.) and the Master of Science in Forensic Sciences (M.S.).

The Department of Forensic Sciences at George Washington University began in 1969 as a program for FBI agents. The departmental Web site has a rich collection of links to everything forensics. Hopefully, J. Edgar Hoover would approve!

The Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine provides continuing education to scientists and law enforcement officers.

West Virginia University has an academic bachelor’s program in forensic identification and forensic science as well as an active forensic science research program. In addition to getting all the practical information you might need about the programs, you can also read the perspective of a recent graduate.

Forensics Companies

Forensic Alliance Ltd. in Abingdon, UK, offers forensic services and is also involved in research directed at applying scientific tools to forensics. This is definitely an agency to contact if you would rather develop techniques than handle crime scene samples.

Wildlife Forensics

The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime site offers a good overview of wildlife crime along with prosecution cases. As for forensic matters, discover in the partnership?s bulletins how the “DNA and other forensic techniques” working group is assisting and advising crime investigators.

The Laboratory of the Government Chemist is a company headquartered in London that offers wildlife forensic services in addition to the more traditional ones. Job seekers can check out vacancies and register his or her CV.

The U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory is the only crime lab in the world dedicated entirely to wildlife. The Web site is not afraid of speaking about the nitty-gritty of forensics, from identifying material of animal origin to suspects of the crime, in a way that is surprisingly pleasant. The lab is also recruiting volunteers and this surely is the best way to check out if wildlife forensics is for you and to make useful contacts.

The North American Wildlife Enforcement Group is a network of senior wildlife enforcement officials from Mexico, Canada, and the United States with a mandate to improve North American capacity to enforce laws regulating the sustainable use and conservation of wildlife, particularly with respect to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The site includes a list of current North American Wildlife Forensics laboratories.

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