Forensic science is one of the most recently approved areas of specialization at BGSU for both undergraduate and graduate study. The Criminal Justice Program now offers a specialization in Forensic Investigations. The new specialization focuses on investigation of various forms of crime, especially in terms of gathering and analysis of varying forms of evidence in ways that enhance the ability of the criminal justice system to arrest and convict those responsible for the crimes.
Undergraduate students who choose the Forensic Investigation Specialization must complete the basic courses for the Criminal Justice major, and then enroll in courses specific to their intended careers in investigations. The basic course is that of investigations, an introduction to both the types of crimes they will be investigating and the fundamental techniques they will employ. Students have the opportunity to work mock crime scene, documenting evidence and summarizing their work in report form. The university maintains a dedicated residence half a block off campus for use by the Department for experience-based learning of this nature.
The course on Investigations is coordinated with Introduction to Forensic Science, giving graduates who will work in the field an understanding of how the evidence they collect is analyzed in the Crime Lab by forensic scientists. because crime now involves digital techniques, a specific course in Digital Crime and Criminal Justice supports that new and rapidly-evolving area. The final required course in the specialization is Law, Evidence & Legal Issues in Forensic Science, pulling together issues raised in other classes, with a focus on the presentation of forensic evidence at trial.
Beyond the four Forensic Investigations core courses, students may take electives from the general Criminal Justice curriculum or relevant courses offered in other departments. The Criminal Justice Program encourages both skills development and a broad understanding of social conditions in which crime occurs; the students round out their major requirements by choosing courses that enhance their developing career goals. Courses in Accounting, Computer Science, and Management Information Systems (MIS) address skill-based areas, while a wide range of courses in psychology, management, government, child development, drug and alcohol use, and the like, broaden the students' understanding of the social and legal environment of their work.