Minor in Forensic Studies



The non-science forensic studies minor offers a credential in crime scene investigation without the chemistry and biology course load of the forensic science major. Its purpose is to provide formal instruction in the evaluation, documentation, and preservation of physical evidence; the requirements of the forensic laboratory; forensic analytical process and methods; limitations of physical evidence; scientific thinking; and probative value of evidence in court.

Students who are interested in working in a crime lab should MAJOR in Forensic Science. 

Benefits of the Forensic Studies Minor

The Minor in Forensic Studies has practical applications in areas such as law enforcement, law, engineering, computer science, accounting, chemistry, biology, nursing, medicine, psychology, anthropology, and photography. Providing a potentially useful credential for students pursuing careers or scholarship in these fields. For example, anthropology majors could use their forensic studies training when excavating clandestine gravesites and documenting human remains; Justice Studies majors could apply their forensic studies training when evaluating physical evidence in police work or court rooms; Nursing majors could use the credential in the fairly modern field of forensic nursing, in which nurses in hospitals play a major role documenting injuries and collecting forensic evidence. 


FS 011 Survey of Forensic Science                  3 units 

FS 161 Crime Scene Investigation                   3 units 

FS 162 Forensic Science Applications               3 units 

Plus 2 Electives (see list)                                6 units

                                                              Total 15 units  

When selecting substantive elective courses in the minor, students are encouraged to choose courses that also fulfill other university requirements. Students are responsible for meeting (or getting waived by instructor) any pre-requisite courses. Proper planning and advising will ensure that students graduate when intended. Students are highly encouraged to meet with an advisor in the Justice Studies Department to get advising during posted office hours.

Substantive Electives

ANTH 157 Forensic Anthropology                                      3 units

FS 160 Special Topics                                                      1-5 units

FS 163  Fingerprint Science                                              3 units 

FS 164 Crime Scene and Evidence Photography                  3 units

FS 165 Forensic Biometrics                                               3 units

JS 143 Criminal Evidence and Procedure                            3 units

*JS 185 Special Topics in Law and Justice                          3 units

Special Topic must be approved by major advisor

JS 161 Introduction to Cybercrime                                    3 units 

PHIL 133 Ethics in Science   (Area V)                                 3 units 

PHIL 160 Philosophy of Science (Area R)                            3 units 

PHOTO 110 Black and White Photography                          3 units

PSYC 110 Abnormal Psychology                                        3 units 

PSYC 153 Psychology in the Courtroom                              3 units  

As is the case for all minors at SJSU, students must make sure that at least 12 units of their minor coursework is unique from their substantive major coursework. Please see your major and minor advisor regularly to make sure that your program(s) are completed in the most efficient manner possible.


Contact Information

If you are interested in declaring a Minor in Forensic Studies, or if you have any questions, you may contact the minor coordinator, Mary Juno, at mary.juno@sjsu.edu  MacQuarrie Hall 511, Professor Bryce Westlake at bryce.westlake@sjsu.edu MacQuarrie Hall 529, Undergraduate Coordinator Chris Hebert at chris.hebert@sjsu.edu MacQuarrie Hall 527, or any Justice Studies advisor.  

To Declare the Minor

Students should declare the minor as soon as they know they are interested. Download and fill out the forensic studies minor form, and the appropriate change of major/minor form (<90 or > 90 units), along with other documentation requested on that form. Take them with you to see an advisor. 

To Apply for Graduation with the FS Minor

Fill out the FS Minor Grad form and take it with you to see an advisor. Generally, students should complete this process at the same time they apply for graduation with their major. The major advisor is the primary advisor for graduation purposes, but the minor form must be approved at the Justice Studies Department.