The Forensic Biology program is part of the Department of Biological Sciences in the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences.   

BGSU forensic college degree students analyze samples in a lab near the crime lab on the Ohio campus.
  • B
  • Bachelor's

Forensic Biology

The BGSU forensic biology specialization of the biology major is a career path into a rapidly growing sub-discipline of biological sciences dealing with the analyses of biological and genetic properties of evidence in legal matters. 

BGSU has an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab on campus, one of the few colleges with a forensics lab on site. 

The specialization in forensic biology is for biology majors interested in gaining laboratory and analytical skills that can be applied to forensic science. 

The application of science to law

The specialization in forensic biology is a gateway program for undergraduates interested in pursuing careers requiring strong biological/problem-solving skills in the area of forensic science. 

A high level of involvement of personnel from a state-of-the-art, on-campus crime lab provides students opportunities for learning through internships and guest lectures. That interaction will help prepare you for careers in public safety and the growing field of forensic sciences.

While foundation-level courses are needed by all biologists, advanced training in molecular biology genetics, environmental/medical forensics and criminal justice procedures will focus a student’s skillset to give them the background and training needed to enter careers in forensic biology.

Stand Out in courses like

  • Microbiology
  • Medical Entomology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • Geospatial Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Diversity

The workforce demand for forensic science technicians is set to grow much faster than average at 14% between 2018-28, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2019 forensic science technician median pay was $59,150 per year, with above-average workforce growth predicted.

Curriculum

The required courses in criminal justice gives forensic biology students important knowledge about data handling, evidence chain of custody procedures and legal experiences in forensics. Independent research, service learning, or internships are also integrated into the program and are critical for career placement.

The forensic biology specialization of BGSU' biology major also requires the completion of core courses in general biology, genetics, evolution, microbiology, cell biology and biometry. 

Applied technical training through analytical laboratories, advanced statistics, remote sensing, scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy, forensics in botany and wildlife provide technical expertise essential to the discipline. 

Courses such as chemistry and geospatial science provide analytical skills that can be applied to forensics. Elective courses in diverse areas such as ecology, organismal biology and molecular biology provide knowledge to support the discipline. 

Go Far in your career

  • Forensic toxicologist
  • Forensic anthropologist
  • Medical examiner
  • Forensic technician
  • Armed Forces DNA identification laboratories

Careers

Forensic scientists typically work in laboratory environments, but may also find themselves in court rooms, at crime scenes, in classrooms or in morgues.  Employers may be federal, state and local governments; private forensic laboratories; medical examiner offices; international organizations; hospitals; universities; police departments; or they may work independently as forensic science consultants.

Students are encouraged to participate in internship opportunities with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab, located on the BGSU campus.

Although we often see forensic biology majors aiming to work in law enforcement, other career options are open. Careers identifying animal or plant species and researching new species within a college environment are all options for students who graduate the BGSU forensic biology degree specialization program with strong analytical and problem-solving skills. 

Courses are available for examining the identification, natural history, evolution, zoogeography and behavior of animals with emphasis on Ohio’s own animal populations.

Scientists estimate we are only aware of 15% of the world’s plant species. What discoveries remain in the unknown species? Students can study the principles of plant classification, evolutionary relationships and processes of plant evolution and the use of classical and molecular techniques in plant evolutionary studies.

Students also have the opportunity to take part in undergraduate research under faculty supervision. 

Biology Boot Camp

BGSU runs a Biology Boot Camp for first-time/full-time enrolled students. The four-day camp helps new students get settled and get a jump on their biology and math coursework. Team-building, study skills and getting to know faculty and fellow biology students across all the majors and specializations will make the start of your college experience that much better. 

There is no charge for this program. Find out more details and start your Biology Boot Camp registration.

The Ohio Department of Justice Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab is on the Bowling Green State University Campus.

Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lab on the Campus of Bowling Green State University

The nearly 30,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is home to over 40 staff from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation performing investigative and laboratory services. Laboratory services include: chemistry; evidence receiving; firearms and tool mark examination; forensic biology; latent print analysis; and trace evidence analysis.

Investigative services include: Crime Scene Unit; Crimes Against Children Unit; Criminal Intelligence Unit; Narcotics Unit; Special Investigations Unit; and criminal polygraph examination.

The staff of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lab often visit for guest lectures, demonstrations and offer a select number of internships and co-ops each year.

Biology Facilities on Campus

With over 120,000 square feet of research and teaching labs, the Life Sciences Building is a hive of activity, sharing and learning for biological sciences students.

The 40 laboratories housed in the building are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Included are scanning and transmission electron microscopes, X-ray analyzers, ultracentrifuges, scanning and dual-beam spectrophotometers, high-performance liquid chromatography equipment, and gamma and liquid scintillation counters.

All forensic biology labs are digital today, and BGSU’s forensic biology facilities are no different, with state-of-the-art mainframe and computing labs. The building also has environmental control chambers, darkrooms, cold rooms, biochemistry and tissue culture labs, saltwater and freshwater labs and a biohazard work area.

In addition to the Life Sciences Building, the labs at Moseley Hall allow students to participate in classroom and lab courses in flexible and collaborative new spaces that support innovative, research-driven approaches to science teaching and learning.

The AIMS Learning Community 

The Academic Investment in Mathematics and Science (AIMS) Learning Community is a place to live and learn alongside peers who share your interest and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This learning community assists students in navigating challenging first-year courses in science, technology and math disciplines while making lifelong friendships. 

It is a friendly, comfortable spot on campus where you will have easy access to your classmates and where you will have the opportunity to practice and master the fundamentals of calculus and other key courses right in your residence hall. Students in the AIMS Learning Community live in close proximity to their classrooms and laboratories.

Academic Investment in Mathematics and Science (AIMS) is a learning community with focused academic help for BGSU STEM majors.

BGSU Arts and Sciences white

The Forensic Biology program is part of the Department of Biological Sciences in the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences.   

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the BGSU Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a forensic biology specialization, undergraduates will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of biology and understand the concepts central to forensic biology, including genetics, cellular processes and microbiology.
  • Have the ability to critically examine forensic biology data and scientific literature, design effective experiments, collect appropriate data and interpret the results of forensic studies.
  • Understand how to apply the approaches, technology and quantitative analyses essential to chain of custody and appropriate legal handling of samples and data.
  • Be able to present forensic biology data to scientists and legal personnel through both oral and written formats.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012-2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The biology program does not lead to professional licensure.

More information on professional licensure

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The BGSU forensic biology program is not a recognized occupation that requires a gainful employment disclosure.

* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post-graduation. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than 15 responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact assessment@bgsu.edu.



* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post Commencement. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than fifteen responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact assessment@bgsu.edu.