Bachelors in Forensic Science


The Forensic Science program at SJSU offers Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Forensic Chemistry and Forensic Biology for students with a career interest in crime lab work. Students in the forensic science major take basic and advanced biology, chemistry, and physics courses to build a strong foundation in the sciences, and complement these with coursework in forensic science applications. The curricula of each major concentration meet the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Forensic Education Program Accreditation standards. 
Interdisciplinary research in the forensic science program is active and externally funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Keck Foundation, and the California Association of Criminalists (CAC) student scholarships, with additional support from partnerships with California crime laboratories, academic institutions, and biotechnology companies. Students in our program have presented at local, regional, national and international science meetings and conferences, and published their work in scientific journals.
Our forensic science student group (FSS) is extremely active on and off campus. Members of FSS run a forensic science seminar series, volunteer at local events and conferences, and support the department, college, and university through their service.  

What is Forensic Science?

Forensic science (also called “criminalistics”) is defined as the application of physical sciences to legal matters or legal questions.  Forensic science includes many sub-disciplines such as anthropology, biology, botany, chemistry, entomology, engineering, genetics, latent fingerprints, information technology, medicine/pathology, psychology, odontology, serology, toxicology, and others. All of these are considered specializations within in forensic science.

The job of a forensic scientist is to analyze physical evidence, using various laboratory instruments and techniques, for use in criminal cases. A forensic scientist also interprets test results, writes reports, and testifies in court, typically as an expert witness.

What is Criminalistics and What do Criminalists do?


Program Learning Outcomes:

Students of the SJSU Forensic Science program:

  1. Understand the scientific basis of investigative and analytical method
  2. Acquire knowledge and practice in forensic laboratory and crime scene methodologies through hands-on activities, laboratories, seminars, workshops, and internships
  3. Acquire knowledge of the legal aspects of investigation and physical evidence
  4. Acquire awareness of the interface of forensic science, law, ethics, human rights, society, culture, and humanity
  5. Understand the probabilities and the limits of physical evidence
  6. Are empowered to recognize, document, and report errors and injustices in the practice of forensic science and crime scene investigation


B.S. Forensic Science, Concentration in Biology

See the  SJSU catalog for current degree requirements
Major Form to apply for graduation with 4-year road-map for incoming majors

B.S. Forensic Science, Concentration in Chemistry

See the SJSU catalog for current degree requirements
Major Form to apply for graduation with 4-year road-map for incoming majors