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OU Home  >  Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies  >  Interdisciplinary Core  >  Minor-Minor combinations  >  Forensics/Crime Scene Analysis
Forensics/Crime Scene Analysis

Minor-Minor Combination: Chemistry + Anthropology


Description: Forensics, or crime scene analysis, involves science applied to legal issues by assisting juries, attorneys and judges in understanding the physical evidence of a criminal case and is critical to identify and convict a criminal. Forensic scientists perform physical and chemical analyses on criminal evidence and report their findings to a court of law, where physical evidence can be found at the scene of the crime, on a victim or both. Forensic scientists employ mathematical principles, problem-solving methods, complex instruments, and microscopic examining techniques to analyze the evidence. Forensic scientists make connections based on the physical evidence to determine certain information and explain the results in court while describing the methods used to arrive at said conclusion. Some forensic scientists work in laboratories and some work at the crime scene (http://www.forensicscience.net).


Forensics includes issues ranging from validating the signature on a will, to assessing product liability, to investigating a corporation’s compliance with environmental laws. The evidence and data found by forensic scientists is based on scientific investigation rather than circumstantial evidence or testimonies of witnesses. The reliability of their findings often convince attorneys, judges or juries that certain cases do not require a court hearing, and this forensic science helps eliminate the overall amount of cases entering the court system. These findings also assist in proving the occurrence of a crime or makes connections to a crime. The forensic scientist must be able to describe complex chemical reactions and functioning of scientific instruments or medical conditions for everyone to understand rather than in scientific jargon as an expert witness. (http://aafs.org/choosing-career).


Forensic anthropology, a particular subset within forensics, specializes in human skeletal biology and often involves training in archaeological methods, skill in identifying skeletal materials, and identifying the dead. Forensic anthropology can include recovering human remains from various locations, such as deserts or locations, or in situations such as mass disasters including earthquakes or tsunamis. These specialists can also assist in recovering evidence at a crime scene due to their expertise in mapping techniques and excavation. Due to the wide range of duties given to a forensic anthropologist, a background in archaeology, physical and cultural anthropology, genetics, chemistry and anatomy would be most beneficial (http://www.forensicscience.net).


Techniques to determine sex, age, race, health status, marks of trauma and occupational stress, and stature in life help forensic anthropology. Forensic anthropologists can also work alongside forensic pathologists to determine cause of death. Some forensic anthropologists are skilled in facial reproduction and can model how a face may have looked using only skeletal remains, while others can determine time elapsed since death by examining insect remains and states of body decompositions (http://aafs.org/choosing-career).


Employment: Forensic anthropologists working in the academic world work through universities or institutions teaching classes and performing individual research projects. In the applied field, forensic anthropologists can work with law enforcement, coroners, or medical examiners (http://www.forensicscience.net). In these locations, forensic anthropologists often work with forensic pathologists, odontologists, and homicide invesitgators in order to identify a deceased, trauma to the skeleton or the postmortem interval (http://www.theabfa.org).


Forensic scientists often work in laboratories, at crime scenes, in offices and in morgues. In particular, they may work for federal, state, or local governments, forensic laboratories, medical examiners offices, hospitals, universities, toxicology laboratories, police departments, medical examiner/ coroner offices, or as independent forensic science consultants. Forensic anthropologists work in similar areas, particularly in places where skeletons are examined (http://aafs.org/choosing-career).

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies
430P Kresge Library
Rochester, MI 48309-4401
Phone: (248) 370-2949
Fax: (248) 370-3628

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