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College of Health and Behavioral Studies

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Forensic science refers to a wide array of disciplines that apply the knowledge and techniques of science to the investigation of crime and the courts of law.  Forensic science, sometimes referred to as “criminalistics” includes specialized areas of forensic biology (DNA analysis, forensic biochemistry, botanical analysis), forensic chemistry (toxicology, microscopy, hair and fiber analysis, glass analysis, explosives), fingerprint and footprint analysis, forensic document analysis, and toolmark and firearms identification.  There are a number of forensic science careers outside the traditional forensic science crime laboratory.  These include forensic anthropology, forensic odontology, forensic psychology, forensic pathology, forensic computer science, forensic entomology, forensic nursing, and forensic engineering.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) recommends that students have a strong background in natural sciences with extensive laboratory coursework (Education and Training in Forensic Science report). 

If you are interested in the traditional areas of forensic science, you will probably want to complete a chemistrybiology, or anthropology major at JMU (students interested in forensic psychology are typically psychology majors).