Forensic Science

Pam Bryant, Ph.D., Director

Blood spatters, spent shell casings, and forged signatures are the nuts and bolts of forensic science.  Studying the messy details of crime, forensic scientists help identify criminals and analyze evidence against them.

Police detectives use the evidence in their investigation, and prosecuting attorneys need it to present their case in court. But other experts analyze and explain each piece of evidence. These specialists are forensic scientists.  The word “forensic” means “pertaining to the law”; forensic science resolves legal issues by applying scientific principles to them.

Forensic scientists perform comprehensive chemical and physical analyses on evidence submitted by law enforcement agencies. Their work is often instrumental in apprehending and convicting criminals. Although most forensic scientists focus on criminal cases and are sometimes called criminalists, others work in the civil justice system—for example, performing handwriting comparisons to determine the validity of a signature on a will.  Forensic scientists perform two roles in their work. One is to analyze physical evidence found either on a victim, at the scene of a crime, or both and to compare it to evidence found on the suspect. The other is to provide expert testimony in a court of law.

Howard Payne University offers students the opportunity to study criminal justice, pre-law and forensic science.  How you see yourself in this type of job is how you will determine your undergraduate education.  Many forensic scientists attend graduate school to become prepared for their careers just as pre-law students then attend law school.